Saturday, April 1, 2017

Graham Greene's Children's Books

First of all, I wish I had the real books, illustrated by Greene's mistress, Dorothy Craigie. Ardizzone's pictures are just a little too vague. I like something crisper. (The originals are obviously more expensive than these reprints.)

Second, these aren't the best books for children in the world, at least for 2 and a half year olds. Chester can get a little distracted.

But they do have the advantage of being centered on transportation forms that are very attractive to kids.

And they do have the advantage of very clever humor for adults. There's the new evil grocery store--the Hygenic Emporium--and it's terrible owner, who is too ugly to draw. There are secret codes made of pictures that smugglers use. There is a big train with a Scottish accent.

Several are very nostalgic--new technologies and soulless interventions threaten the old and caring citizens. The Little Steamroller solves a mystery (not a very well-formed mystery). The Little Train learns to value the small town over the allure of Smokeoverall, the big city.

So again, not the best. But full of a lot of charm in the meantime.

No comments: