IT is curious to note how many more books are written for boys than for girls. Considering the growing number of women writers, it might be expected that girls' books would predominate. It may be that women writers are canny enough to write with their eye on the boy reader knowing that while a totally feminine story will not attract boys, girls often read their brothers' books. Most of the children's classics appeal to both sexesPeter Pan, Pinocchio, A Christmas Carol, Hans Brinker, The Wind in the Willows, and The Bastable Children, for example. Even the classics of adventure such as Treasure Island, and Robinson Crusoe, have their female devotees and therefore stand a greater chance of survival than books like Little Women, the Katy series, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. With the development of the family story popularised by E. Nesbit, there seems to have been a decline in the school storyat least among boys. Either they prefer natural tales of boys and girls together at home, or on holiday, or realistic adventures. A. S. Tring keeps a foot in all three camps, so to speak, with his tale of outofschool activities, adventures and feuds between two day schools. His story entitled The Old Gang O.U.P., 76 is told by the hero himself, in a racy style, and is amusingly illustrated by John Camp. Of the realistic adventure type is The Missing Legatee, by Wilfrid Robertson O.U.P., 76, and it has its setting in the wilds of the Zambesi where the author himself has made expeditions, exploring and big game hunting. It satisfies the boy's demand for plenty of action and at the same time conforms to a good stylistic standard. Another tale of a search undertaken at great risk is David Gammon's Against the Golden Gods Lutterworth, 5 in which a seventeen year old boy goes out among the head hunters of Papua to rescue his captive father. Fog in the Channel, by Percy Woodcock Nelson, 76 relates stirring adventures by sea, beginning with a collision in the fog when two schoolboys board a mysterious vessel supposed to be on secret service.
Library Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 1948
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