Saturday, May 5, 2012

6th May Randall Jarrell (1914 - 1965)

Today would have been Randall Jarrell's birthday! I wrote about him here in 2010 when I first started this blog and I don't often write about an author again unless I am writing about a new book, but on Thursday I finished reading The Animal Family with my Year 2 Book Club and it doesn't matter that it is about the tenth time that I have read it with a group of children, it still is such a wonderful experience. It is subtle, beautiful, different, implausible, thought-provoking and gentle all at once despite the fact that it has a hunter, a fully-grown wild bear and a playful lynx in it, all living in a cottage with a mermaid and a baby boy. Sounds unlikely, but it works! The children are rivetted and hang on every word. At no stage did anyone ask how can a mermaid live on land or how can a bear live in a house. The reader just accepts the premise and gets on with enjoying the wonder of this 'unnatural' family behaving in such 'natural' family ways. If you haven't read it dig it out soon. Why did Randall Jarrell wait till he was over fifty to write this book? We needed him to write more children's classics.

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