25 NOVEMBER 1955, Page 38

For Older Boys

WHITE MAGIC. By J. M. Scott. (Methuen, 9s. 6d.) ToP SECRET. By Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. (Chambers, 6s.) THE Logi. GLACIER. By Showell Styles. (Hart-Davis, l ls. 6d.) THE STOLEN CIPHER. By 'Sea-Lion.' (Hutchinson, 7s. 6d.) CAPTAIN METTLE, V.C. By James Macnell. (Constable, 8s. 6d.) THESE ten books include some first-class reading of various kinds for boys of ten to fourteen, varying from John Moore's B0),,, . Country Book through real-life adventure and biography to fiet0t For the country-minded boy John Moore's symposium is °n standing, with articles by James Fisher, Spencer Chapin°o Maxwell Knight, Jack Longland and many other authorities, bird-watching, camping, natural history, climbing and a gener°nd variety of other occupations. The book is both highly sensible of,, practical, and combines down-to-earthness with the ability II arouse enthusiasm. It is pleasantly illustrated. Lennti Wibberley's account of Everest from 1852 to 1953 is annt''',,t admirable piece of work, written in such a way that it can ,1 hardly fail to grip even those who at the outset have no speciait's interest. In The Young Winston Churchill Mr. Marsh takes tit with the schoolboy, cavalry subaltern, and war correspond; leaping from horse to train and from prison camp to veldt. ; tells a splendid adventure story vividly and effectively. In right hands this might quite literally be an inspiring book. "`, Great Missionaries deals with Francis Xavier, John Wesle',1 Alexander Mackay, Wilfred Grenfell, Ida Scudder and Albe' f Schweitzer : the stories are informatively told but are robbedb their proper excitement by a slightly old-fashioned approson In fiction a writer well known in the adult field outclasses ell the best of the regular children's writers. White Magic concer,1s an English archmologist who sets out with a party, including two children of fifteen and thirteen, for two months in Greenly is to try and discover the reason for the complete disappearance ''ci the fifteenth century of a Viking settlement several thoussab strong. It stands out as a story by a real novelist and one wincf not only has an ingenious plot but fine characterisation and, ° course, first-class description of arctic scenery and conditions. ,s Clippers to China is a passionately technical account of a b%1 first voyage in one of the crack tea clippers of the Sixties vi,14 a mad first mate and other unusual features. But the author 'r, most of the time at any rate keeps firmly on the deck olds thoroughly good traditional yarn. Top Secret—ships and islands again but this time at the present day—is a smooth and readable tale in which a young engineer is entrusted with secret blue-prints to be carried to Australia. With his ship blown up he and co-hero are washed up on an island and encounter some

if fairly routine, skulduggery.

In The Lost Glacier, by Showell Styles, two boys, or rat..her very young men, are invited by a famous British climber to in)f his party which aims to locate a valley in Nepal which is °„ great strategic importance, but which, owing to faulty suryeyiq'tr is not on the maps. Two members of the party are C01110015, spies and the plot follows the usual lines of the spy thrilt,°::5 Characterisation and plot compare badly with Mr. Scots standard, but description and atmosphere and the author's Pry ; fessional knowledge enable the book to win through to the 'recommended' list despite its high price.


Both The Stolen Cipher and Captain Mettle, V.C. are wn061h by authors with a knowledge of the Navy who are liberal naval jargon. The Stolen Cipher follows the pattern of an ad thriller with pace and lively dialogue and absolutely nothing Cl But what more does an honest unashamed thriller need? Captain Mettle, V.C. is for rather younger boys, not older than twelve. There is a rescue from drowning and a shark in the first chapter and the book as a whole is notable for its gusto. It deals with the Navy triumphing over unpleasant characters in the China Seas and should go down well with the large schoolboy public which