3 SEPTEMBER 1921, Page 25

The Teaching of English. By W. S. Tomkinson. (The Clarendon

Press. 6s. 6d. net.)—Mr. Tomkinson has written an excellent little handbook which will give the reader in small compass an account of some modern methods of teaching children, primarily English language and literature, and inci- dentally a great deal of general savoir-faire. The child who takes part in the oral compositions, readings aloud, debates,

and acting, by means of which the use of language is largely taught, can hardly escape a groat deal of general cultivation. The new method seems also to have solved the problem of bringing children into contact with the classics of literature without spoiling for the adult those particular books or poems from which the child was taught. We wish that Mr. Tomkinson gave more examples from the work of living writers. Mr. Robert Graves and Mr. de is Mare, to take only two instances, have done poetic work which delights children, while to older boys and girls there is great fascination in Mr. Conrad's style, which, apart from his matter, is over-subtle for the young. To a child with even a passing ambition to write there lies incomparable romance in the work of a contemporary. The thought of a poem or phrase being still alterable at its writer's reconsideration will be found to give a strong impetus to the critical impulse. The book is very good reading, and might be found worth study by those who have a party of bigger children to amuse during the holidays.