LONG LIST REVIEW: Books! Books! Books!


Any book about books is sure to be a huge hit with members of our group and this one combines books, history and libraries! What's not to love?

'Books! Books! Books!' introduces the reader to The British Library and to some of the greatest treasures in their incredible collection. It's a fabulous celebration of libraries and their importance.

Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom are well known for their skill at presenting information and illustration in a way which captures the interest whilst feeding the intellect and 'Books! Books! Books!' is no exception. They have selected a range of literary gems from the wealth housed in the British Library, starting with St Cuthbert's Gospel which was found in a coffin and was secured for the British Library by a huge fund raising campaign. 

Famous works of literature- the writings of the Brontes, Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll and Dickens -are explored alongside the Magna Carta, Lady Jane Grey's prayer book, music by Handel and the first ever copy of the Times newspaper. Some of these can be further explored on the British Library's website. The Library's copy of the Magna Carta, for example, can be studied through a viewer, translated into English and you can listen as one of their curators tells you more about it. Similarly, you can enjoy Caxton's Chaucer, comparing the first and second edition of 'The Canterbury Tales'.

Photographs, drawings and collage using 'pages' from some of the works combine to create the perfect backdrop to the concise text. There is something to interest everyone here- each page could be the starting point for further research or the inspiration for a trip to see the real thing!

The section about 'Beowulf' would be fascinating for children studying this amazing text, with its succinct history, highlights from the story and vivid illustration of Grendel losing his arm. The use of manuscript pages to collage Grendel could lead to children creating their own pictures. There are several excellent re-tellings of this amazing story which children could compare, contrast and enjoy!

A recipe for 'Toffee, Russian' is included in the entry about Mrs Beeton (must try that one!) and the front page of the first copy of The Times newspaper (costing 'Three-pence') tells us what was on at The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. 

A fascinating and beautiful book in its own right, Books! Books! Books! is also a brilliant introduction to the wonders of The British Library.

Books! Books! Books!  Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom

Otter-Barry Books    ISBN: 978-1910959985