I have a new book on my reference shelf:

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ship and Boats by Graham Blackburn. It is published by The Overlook Press in large format paperback. Full of line drawings of thousands of boats of all kinds. Very useful. The author dedicated the book to Arthur Ransome, who is, coincidentally, one of my favourite authors as well! He wrote the “Swallows and Amazons” series of novels for young people. I have read them all several times.

That got me thinking about other children’s books I have enjoyed reading over the years.

I have read all fifty-six of the Grossett and Dunlap yellow cover Nancy Drew novels, and have them in my own book collection. My teen-aged daughters are fighting over who is going to inherit them someday.

Right now I am reading my son the first of the “Redwall” books. I think it is amazing how much Brian Jacques gets away with in the area of violence. I mean, those books are full of killing, slavery, piracy, scourging, torture–you name it. But because its all cute little mice, or mean nasty rats, no one cares. My son, who is ten, loves them. They are pretty well written, even though the story doesn’t vary all that much between books, the characters are well-drawn.

I would highly recommend the six books by J. P. Martin in the “Uncle” series. They aren’t that well known in the USA, and some a very rare (and therefore expensive) but the first two “Uncle” and “Uncle Cleans Up,” have just been reissued in paperback. I won’t describe the characters except to say they are brilliantly imaginative and funny. If you like British humor that is.

Last but not least, there is a series of books by the Finnish author, Tove Janssen. They are amazingly strange, whimsical, and not like anything else I have ever read. Check them out if you can find them. The first one is called “Moomintroll.”
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