Saturday, August 03, 2002
The journal over at contains the accurate version of the Sky-Maddy canoe chant. Just so you know.

And for those of you who are actually using this blog as a source of Interesting Childrens Books, I'm delighted to be able to tell you that Faber and Faber have reprinted Noel Langley's THE LAND OF GREEN GINGER. And they've reprinted it in the best edition. (Langley wrote it three times; once in the 1930s (which reads like a sketch for the book, and ends very suddenly and oddly), once in about 1965, and then in abridged version without Impressive Capitalisation and with half a chapter missing -- so it had 12 chapters, not twelve and a half -- in the early 70s. The Faber one is a reprint of the excellent 1965ish edition.) Langley's best known for the film script of The Wizard of Oz. The Land of Green Ginger is genuinely funny -- the saga of Prince Abu Ali, the son of Aladdin, and his quest to win the hand of the lovely Silver Bud and defeat the machinations of the wicked princes Tintac Ping Foo and Rubdub Ben Thud, aided only by a mouse, Omar Khayyam, and a young genie who can't do magic named BoomalackaWee.

When I was a boy it was read on a British Children's TV show called JACKANORY by Kenneth Williams, he of the nostrils and the voices, and sometimes I wonder if there isn't a tape (audio or video) somewhere in the bowels of the BBC. But I don't expect there is. They were never very big on keeping things. But Kenneth Williams was the perfect voice for it. (Did I ever talk about my lunch with Kenneth Williams here?)

There's a review of the Land of Green Ginger here. If you're in the UK, go and order one. If you're not in the UK, or any of the online UK book services will ship overseas. And if you need something to bulk out the purchase, here's a review by Dave Langford of the Uncle books, by J.P. Martin. "Neil Gaiman was so boggled to find his enthusiasm shared that he momentarily forgot to look cool," says Langford. Indeed.


And from Children's literature to Not Children's Literature...

I'm not really sure any more who reads this thing, other than, it's an awful lot of people. It was easier when I started and I knew most of the couple of hundred people reading it. Now it's in the multiples of tens of thousands... Anyway, Kelly Sue DeConnick is a very nice lady from New York (now en route to marriage somewhere in the midwest, I believe) who writes great reviews of comics and things, and who also writes very rude stuff to make a living. And because she's good at it. This is one of hers, and it's funny and don't click on it if you're under sixteen or are related to Kelly Sue DeConnick.