Monday, 26 December 2011

A Street Through Time by Anne Millard

Every Christmas A and C have a bag of books as well as a stocking. My lovely friend Julie made them for the children - they have a felt Father Christmas appliqued on and their names sewn in running stitch in huge capitals above. The kind of thing you pay £30 for from The White Company or similar. C absolutely adores his, as there is never anything in the shops with his unusual name on. A's name used to be the same, but is now on pretty much everything. I thought I was being so original too, when she was named. Ah well.

Anyway, they always have a good few books so that if they get up before the crack of dawn (which, mercifully we have avoided thus far), they have something to do before we can entice Daddy out of his comfy bed.

This year A had A Street Through Time as one of her Christmas morning books. This book was published in 1998. I remember seeing it in Borders in Oxford, before the sad demise of said shop, and spending about half an hour looking at it. This was probably partly an attempt to avoid reading the interminable reading list or writing an essay, but it was also because the book is just one of my favourite books ever, and I was captivated by it from the outset.

I am very much a visual person. I don't learn particularly well through lectures or listening to someone else talk through their experiences, and I am not very good with my hands. However, give me a few pictures and some informative, but sparing words, and I am there. This book is an absolute visual treat. It tells the story of one street through time, and shows the change in use of the buildings, as well as the changes in architecture, and the shape of the landscape. For example I adore the way the fort changes to a castle, and then becomes castle ruins in various states of decay. This book teachers the reader about domestic history without resorting to elaborate description and boring verbal detail. It rewards visual attention to detail. If your child likes Where's Wally then this is well worth a try.

A spent rather a long time looking at it, which, given it was 6am on Christmas morning, is a good indicator of how absorbing it is. I am so glad I now have children, for many reasons, including that I had an excuse to buy it, and I probably got it for cheaper this year than I would have done in Borders in 1998 (perhaps part of the explanation for the sad demise?)

A is so not having this book when she leaves home.

No comments:

Post a Comment