Posts Tagged ‘Shaun McCarthy’

Unpracticed Knowledge

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

47. Keeping Pets: Freshwater Fish by Tristan Boyer Binns

This is a very informative book, aimed at children considering and/or planning keeping freshwater fish in their homes. It gives the positives and negatives clearly, and stresses the care fish need to be healthy and content. It doesn’t downplay the costs involved and repeatedly reminds a new fish owner to make good use of the expertise of their dealer and local enthusiasts. (I amn’t knowledgeable in the area myself, so I can’t verify the information, but none of it seemed bizarre at all.)

The book would need a confident reader to tackle it alone, but it could be used as a family resource and would not be a bad starting place for an interested adult. In fact, remove the few references to getting an adult to help (with lifting large amount of water and using electrical equipment) and it would be a perfectly acceptable book for grown-up beginners too.

48. Get Writing!: Write that Report by Shaun McCarthy

I mentioned the poetry volume in this series last week, and I actually think this one is better, perhaps because it is tackling a form of writing that is easier to instruct and assess, as it has a common form (at least introduction, argument/explanation, conclusion, with variations), and a specific purpose, neither of which poetry needs to have. Anyway, the book is well structured with interesting exercises.

49. Positively Postcards by Bonnie Sabel and Louis-Philippe O’Donnell

This book is pretty much aimed at quilters (another craft I’ve thought about but haven’t yet tried) who want the opportunity to show off their skills more quickly and flexibly, with a smaller commitment of time and supplies, than making full quilts allows.

The book begins with a description of this craft variation, then lists suggested tools and supplies, then has a very detailed set of instructions, including a step by step walkthrough of a specific project. Nearly half of the book is a gallery of Sabel’s postcards, each with a short commentary on its inspiration and/or suggestions for the theme. Her ‘postcards’ (some of which she even gives framing tips for) really are beautiful.


Bookending my day

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

I’m off to crochet very shortly, but I have some more books for you. The first I finished on the way to work, the other two I read at work, and I’m quite sure I’ll be perusing some pages later tonight.

41. Skullcaps and Switchblades by David B. Lazerson

It appears this book has been reprinted relatively recently (although my copy says 1999) but it was originally published in 1987 and recounts the author’s experiences as a teacher in what would now (in the UK, anyway) be called the special educational needs (SEN) department of a Buffalo, New York, USA public school during the second half of the 1970s. He seems to have been very effective, although I can’t imagine some of his methods being allowed in schools here and now. Many of his methods and results are still inspirational however.

The period and expected audience does come through in the constant reminders of race issues and how people are just people with different (but generally not badly different) cultural overlays. Again this probably wouldn’t be discussed in the same language now, twenty years later.

42. Leading Lives: Emmeline Pankhurst by David Downing

I hadn’t known so much about the Pankhursts as people, rather than as Suffragette icons before this book, which is short and concise (as aimed at school pupils) but including plenty of interesting detail. I hadn’t even realised Emmeline and her husband Richard had five children, not just Christabel and Sylvia. Her two sons died relatively young, and the third daughter, Adela, doesn’t seem to have been as politically active.

It is mostly about the politics, of course, but I can appreciate the focus on history through personal stories. Most of the time, anyhow!

43. Get Writing!: Write that Poem by Shaun McCarthy

And this one is an introduction for children to the forms of poetry and various approaches to writing one’s own.