Wednesday, 9 December 2009

All Shapes and Sizes

Books come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some have only pictures others only words and others still a combination. Yet it is not only the formats which differ but also the style in which they are written, sometimes depending on the audience at other times dependent on the type of story they want to tell.

So it is that I have been reading two very different books, Eoin Colfer's 'And Another Thing' and Toon Tellegen's 'Letters to Anyone and Everyone' with illustration by Jessica Ahlberg.

Eoin Colfer's book is necessarily madcap, action packed and quite honestly full of such a variety of eclecticism that it is quite difficult to describe! Following on in the footsteps of Douglas Adams was never going to be easy but Colfer has done it with a passion and reverence. His style is to narrate the story with interjections from the Hitchhikers Guide, hence the relevance to different styles of writing. Anyone unfamiliar with this series would do well to start with book 1 if only to meet all the characters, from then on, in many ways it does not matter which book you read. Colfer has helped me finally gain a clearer understanding of the whole story, our favourite characters are all here - Ford, Trillian, Arthur, Zaphod and others, there is, of course a very large slab of cheese and also a pantheon of unemployed gods. I loved this book for its madness, sense of fun and adventure and variety of story as well as styles of writing.

Tellegen's book of letters is another rather extraordinary book. This one is aimed quite firmly at young readers and features a series of interlinked letters between animal friends and from creatures of the earth to the sun! A series of short stories in a letter format this is a charming little book to be dipped into at leisure and it is in fact all the more charming for this reason, it can be picked up and read at the fancy of its reader. The stories are quite whimsical and utterly charming, I love the idea of writing a letter to a letter, of birds communica

ting by letter and of the squirrel and the bear exchanging birthday cake ideas. With exquisite and delicate illustration from the highly skilled Jessica Ahlberg this is a book to be treasured by chidlren and adored by adults. Yes, it may have been written with children in mind but I very much doubt any adult could resist its charm!

Two books with very different styles of writing yet both engaging and exciting in their own way, without this variet

y we would perhaps be much less inclined to read so I for one am very glad of it and urge you all to try something new and surprise yourselves!

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