When I was younger, maybe 8 or 9, I loved anything on TV that involved Tony Robinson – obviously Blackadder, Maid Marion and her Merry Men and Time Team but he also did a fantastic show based on Bible stories called ‘Blood and Honey’. I would go every week to the library and borrow the cassette of ‘Odysseus the greatest hero of them all’ that was written by Robinson and Richard Curtis, read by Robinson. I’m not sure if anyone else got to borrow it much because I always had it. I’m not sure how it survived so many listens. I loved the way Robinson read it, doing all the voices and putting in all the drama, just like he did on the telly.
Mum and Dad must have been sick of listening to it over and over, because for Christmas that year they got me two new story tapes – The Light Fantastic and Equal Rites. Of course, they were read by Tony Robinson, and so in a round about way I was introduced to the brilliant world of Terry Pratchett. I’m not sure that my parents knew what they’d introduced me to.
Aren’t words brilliant? You can use them for everything. You can take them and combine them and shape them into whatever you want, however you want. They can give you power, they can give you humility, they can give you insight, explanation, beauty.
I was reading over a book that I want to read to my class – The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett – and early on, Tiffany, our 9 year old heroine is thinking about the word sussuration and how much she likes it. It’s the sound of wind through leaves or grass and it alerts Tiffany to something odd that’s about to happen. I love that sussuration is included in a children’s book. Would you get a word like that in the rainbow fairy series of books? Would you get a word like that in one of Katie Price’s children’s books? In Beast Quest? Or even in Harry Potter?
Another book review, this time a great set of books for children (or adults) which give a gateway into finding out more of the traditions, songs and legends of Britain. Given the Terry Pratchett twist that is!