11 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 24

Seasonable Humour

Rya'. By Maurice Cenevoix. (Putnam. 7s. 6c1.) Nymphs and Satires. By Rachel Ferguson. (Henn. 7s. 6d.) 1.1. is hardly fair to begin talking about Christmas already, yet it is time to begin listing one kind of Christmas present—the

books which we want to buy early, and read, and then give away. high on this last are the comic outlines of knowledge, and first of these comes the sequel to 1066 And All That. (We need not, incidentally, mind giving this away : someone else is sure to have bought it for us.) The burning question about And Now All This is " Have they done it again ? " and the

answer is " Yes, and. no." The Hole Pocket Treasury of Absolutely General Knowledge is as sublimely silly as 1066, and has the same satirical undercurrent, but it lacks the artistic unity of its predecessor, and its authors have taken to the interpolation " (Bad Luck)." The best thing is the pseudo- scientific section on Psycho-Babycraft, designed for use by Normal Pre-Adults Between the Ages of 0 and Three. . . . If your dreams reveal nothing of the sort, then you arc just dreaming them wrong. Go to sleep again at once ; and have the dreams again- until you get them right." The Practice and Fury of Knitting, Geography, and Myth- Information are all certain disturbers of the after-dinner peace. So This is Science is a beautiful burlesque, made more

,beautiful by the drawings of Mr. Arthur Watts. It deals with the Universe (with a strong distaste for the moon), the Earth, and the Animal Kingdom, including Bodger's Ant ; and Part IV is entrusted entirely to Mr. Watts, who contributes a very thought-provoking picture of Man--Natures Brightest Jewel. The Hilarious Universe covers much the same ground, but I uneasily suspect it of intent to educate the unpicturesque 'girl-guide to whom it is addressed. There is a kind of hearty simplicity about it which is no doubt intended to appeal to the young.

Idle Thoughts, a collection of Captain Hartman's broadcast talks, arc not the usual skittish-meditative stuff which appears as collected essays. They have the inevitable " personal " touches, but they show an original approach even to subjects like Habits, Ascot, Economy, and Cheek. This is a pleasant book, and should be earmarked for a pleasant person.

Gentlemen -Prefer Dogs is not quite what it might seem. It is the autobiography of one of those mongrels who know words like " supercharged " and " Hosiery Dept.," but call a lip- stick a " red jibe," and, of course, refer to their master as " the God." Inveterate dog-lovers will probably be delighted with it.

Of very different quality are the two books about cats. Tinkle the cat is a sensible cat, and a grave cat, and it is a privilege to be introduced to Wm by Miss James, and to spend

a day at his London home. Ilion is of different calibre : a vagabond and an adventurer, with a French sensitiveness to atmosphere. His Odyssey makes a •Ielightful and delicate book. Miss Ferguson's parodies are high-spirited, varied, and eon. sistently successful. Tchekof, Sir Nigel Playfair, Mr. Eden P,hillpotts, Sir J. M. Barrie, and the Co-Optimists are among her theatrical butts ; the literary ones range from Mr. G. B. Shaw to Mrs. Elinor Glyn, and the general from Messrs. Fortnum and Mason to an Albert Hall programme. She is malicious and witty, and a mistress of the horrid art of punning. Her book is excellent entertainment, and should be kept.