Travels with My Granny

Travels with My Granny
Juliet Rix and Christopher Corr
Otter-Barry Books

Granny is a traveller; she’s visited such distant places as China, Russia, Egypt and Peru. She’s traversed rivers, scaled mountains, and explored jungles and cities.

Now though her legs can do little more than get her to the door, though in her mind she still visits places far afield, sometimes with her grandchild narrator.

Together they travel to see the sights of Rome, London, New York and Jerusalem.

Granny, so the grown-ups say, really doesn’t know where she is; she’s confused.
Not so, thinks our narrator recalling other exciting places they’ve visited and things they’ve done together.

On occasion gran gets ahead of herself, leaving her companion waiting for her to return.
Her memory is only for things long past; she can’t recall what she did yesterday but it doesn’t matter, for the narrator can; without her Gran though, she cannot have wonderful world-travelling adventures. Bring on the next one.

The story doesn’t mention that the child’s Granny has dementia. However the child allows her beloved grandparent to be happy in her mind travels and enjoys joining her therein whenever possible.

Told with warmth and understanding by Juliet Rix and beautifully illustrated in glowing colours by Christopher Corr, whose gouache art of distant lands will be familiar to many adult readers; this is an important and welcome book.
It’s for families whether or not they have a relation affected by dementia as well as to share and discuss in primary schools.

Amazing Myths

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A-Maze-Ing Minotaur
Juliet Rix and Juliet Snape
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
The Greek myth wherein Theseus, the young Prince of Athens, enters the labyrinthine maze where waits the terrible Minotaur for his next young human feast, is retold for young readers and listeners in this beautifully illustrated picture book.
We follow Theseus as he journeys to Crete, meets the task-master King Minos and encounters his beautiful daughter, Ariadne who falls immediately in love with him,

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promising to help him in his quest to kill the monstrous Minotaur. She gives him a ball of golden thread and a small sword, and her word that she’ll wait for him on his return.
Next morning young Theseus, having anchored one end of the thread to the door of the Labyrinth, sets forth into the dark maze, unravelling the thread as he walks.

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On he goes then suddenly encounters the beast towering over him. Out comes the sword and Theseus lashes at his foe, killing the Minotaur but losing his ball of thread. The latter he eventually finds, and retraces his steps. Finally, thanks to Ariadne, he and the thirteen others who were to have accompanied him into the maze, board a ship and sail away to safety in the knowledge that young Athenians need no longer fear the terrible Minotaur.
The ever-popular tale is told in a straightforward direct manner but it is Juliet Snape’s detailed scenes  with their subterranean passageways that, with their resemblance to ancient Minoan art, convey much of the feeling of the story and create the atmosphere. Young audiences will particularly enjoy spotting the monster’s whereabouts as they turn the pages taking Theseus closer and closer to the deadly creature.
This book has been selected for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge.It may well act as starting point to further exploration of Greek mythology.
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Offering a next step is:

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Greek Myths
Sally Pomme Clayton and Jane Ray
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Subtitled Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea this beautifully produced book contains ten tales, crafted essentially for reading aloud, including a creation myth, Pegasus (The Flying Horse), Orpheus and Eurydice (Journey to the Underworld)

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and Pandora – The Girl of All Gifts. Drama, suspense, sorrow, mortal danger and humour are all present and each tale is powerfully illustrated by Jane Ray. There are full page and smaller paintings each with its own beauty or in the case of Medusa, scarey nightmarish quality.

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In addition to the stories themselves, there is a map of ancient Greece and at the end of each story is a short cultural or archaeological snippet.At the end of the book are an index of Gods and heroes and information on the story sources.

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