How to Do It
A Book of Farmcraft. By Michael Greenhill and Evelyn Dunbar With a Foreword by A. G. Street. (Longmans. 5s.) I Made It Myself. By Arthur B. North. (Botsford. 6s.)
BOTH these books on " how to do " are filled with drawings diagrams, with a moderate amount of explanatory text, and it as picture-books that one first looks through and enjoys di The handbook of farm routine is exactly what was wanted. remember at the age of sixteen being sent for the first time alone to harness a carthorse and take him- into the hayfield, being greatly perplexed as to which way round and which sw up the collar should go on. The animal's patience alone made feat possible. The sergeant does not expect his recruits to bayonets by the method of trial and error ; then why should the farm recruit be as reasonably instructed? After studying Miss Dunbar's drawings, I feel the self congratulation of one who has done his or her drill to perfecti solely because the N.C.O. (in this instance a trim and gracio instructress) has made it harder to blunder than to do the rou correctly. Her drawings of 'farm machines, the cultivator, potat spinner and the like, illustrate their functions from the clear point of view, and in doing so become excitingly fresh, d designs.
Mr. Greenhill has done his share wisely, writing not too mu But his advice will bear reading a good many times and will memorised by many. He gives directions for driving a tract which, though of course insufficient without supervised practi do at least make the working intelLigiblz. and should dispel beginner's notion of the tractor as a dangerous and erratic myst Among the young women of the Land Army are more logy intelligent minds than have ever before been exercised in Thin farming. This book is of them and for them. It would be pleasant to find the treatise on toy-making as vincingly practical. Children's toys were early victims of disease of civilisation which destroyed nearly all home-1n pleasures. Mr. North's toys are made of light, easily-work materials such as plywood or millboard, joined with glue, pins or brads. In these he finds scope for an ingenious rnechani fancy, working through his exercises in detail, so that anyone takes the trouble may follow and adapt them with little effort imagination. But how long will these toys survive the viol
of the, normal child? The parent or boy, moreover, who carries out to the letter the instructions given on page 14 for making the wing of a model aeroplane may be in difficulties. To form an angle by steaming the wood on either side of a joint made with thread " coated with glue " seems to invite ruin.
There is a good photograph of a puppet theatre, and the section dealing with this subject is the best in the book. There are photographs, too, of wonderful toys from ancient Egypt and from eightenth- and nineteenth-century Europe ; but they have little connexion with the text. " I made it myself " does not extend to these. Yet they do demonstrate the structural and functional principles which, being first perceived in Nature as essential, are inherent to every good work of craft or art. On the other hand, the parrots on page 3, the duck on page 95 (" but it isn't meant to be like a duck . . .")—in fact, all the figures, human and animal, in the working diagrams lack the basic geometry of that Egyptian " tiger with moveable jaws " (Plate V) or of Miss Dunbar's " Points of the Horse."
But there are toys and toys. To return to horses, I tried three years ago to buy a wooden one in Southern Ireland. It was to be one with a cylindrical body, flat neck and head, a flowing mane and tail ; the whole mounted on rollers: such a toy as Mr. Horth (given stout enough materials) would make admirably. The shop-lady, however, replied:
" I think, sor, we have the toy you would require. Them stuffed toys, sor, is very soft ; them soft toys is very suitable for children. Them toys, now, would resimble rabbits rayther than horrses."