25 NOVEMBER 1955, Page 40

Presents : Last Thoughts

CHILDREN today probably no longer aspire to professions as mundane as the engine driver's, but Science and Crime by Richard Harrison and Fire Fighting by Egon Larsen (Frederick Muller's True Book series, 6s. 6d. each) may still find a public, particularly the first, which suggests experiments (harmless) for the budding police detective. For car fiends The Wonder Book of Motors, now in its seventh edition (Ward Lock, 15s.), is an expensive addition to a long line; the photographs are still poor, and serious addicts will find it sketchy and too obviously pre-'55 Motor Show. Motor Racing by Bruce Carter and Michael Frostick (Bodley Head, 10s.) is good value for the specialist with copious detail of cars, drivers and courses, on less good paper but with better plates.

An Illustrated History of Science (Heinemann, 25s.) suffers through being what it is, a collection of Dr. Sherwood Taylor's admirable 1953 Christmas' lectures at the Royal Institution divorced from the extravagant equipment which there helps the uninitiated to enjoyment. But it is a book to keep, which can justify the cost, and for older children who take to instruction interestingly and intelligently administered and who will appreciate A. R. Thomson's charming and sophisticated illustrations, it is worth a try. A general awareness of names and ideas is even more essential for appreciation than particular scientific bent.

On the distaff side, Your Book of Weaving by Roger Lewis (Faber, 5s. 6d.) may please children who are not only 'good with their hands,' but have sufficient concentration to equate Figs. 1,

2 and 3 with the bits of cardboard and ends of wool in their hands. Those who are and have neither will resent their thank- you letter.

I should guess that The Children's Picture Book of Ballet by Felicity Gray (11cenix, 6s. 6d.), which tells, competently enough, what dancing is (for boys as well as girls), would have small appeal, but that Pigeon Crowle's Enter the Ballerina (Faber, 15s.), with, pleasantly stage-scented, not over-romanticised lives of seven' famous dancers and their photographs on and off stage, should do better. Balletomanes are not won through the written word nor photographs alone, but once made are avid for information on their heroines' careers and private lives.

In More Music Makers (Dobson, 10s. 6d.), Dr. Percy Young offers his second eleven of composers drawn from all countries and times—Palestrina down to Gershwin and Britten—and intro- duces them not only in readable and relevant biographical sketches but with explanations of their music which should be a real aid to understanding and enjoyment.

Anyone looking for an animal story for children should not find it difficult to choose one of the following books, dealing as they do with a wide variety of wild life in many different countries.

Indeed Flyball the Space Cat in Tai Lu Flies Abroad, by Shelagh Fraser and Billy Thatcher (Chatto and Windus at 6s.), even rockets

to the moon where he has adventures which will appeal to grown-

ups almost as much as to children. Nearer home, C. Fraser- Simpson, in Canal Cats (Blackie at 7s. 6d.), tells us the exciting

story of a cat who becomes a stowaway. For younger children

Mazo de la Roche, the celebrated author of the Whiteoak Novels, has written in The Song of Lambert (Macmillan at 7s. 6d.) a charming and delightfully illustrated story of a singing lamb who travels to the South Pole. Inevitably there are two books about horses, Phantom Horses by Christine Pullein-Thbmpson (Collins at 8s. 6d.) and The Sagebrush Sorrel by Frank C. Robertson (Collins at 5s.), and neither of them will disappoint those who love to share the struggles and excitements of spirited horses and owners.