By Clare Simon
FIIRST of all this week Slyboots and I want to tell you news of our puppy family. (You remember they were born last week and their mother is the Editor's poodle, Michele,) Well ,they're doing very well indeed.
Poor Slyboots was very upset when he was first allowed to go in and see them; he came out barking like anything and told me they were all blind ! Of course the silly dog didn't remember that when he was born his eyes were shut for five whole days. But the puppies' eyes are open now and there a lovely dark blue. Though they'll turn dark later, of course, or ought to!
They will be having their very first proper meal next week and it ought to be fun trying to show them how to lap Instead of suck. Do you want to know what names we've given them ? Well, of course, we can't give them proper names because that is for their owners to decide, but for the time being Simon, I and Slyboots have decided to call the three boys Somerset, Platagenet and Fry (if you watch «Double Your Moneys on ITV you will know why) and the little girl is called Sabrina after Arthur Askey's dumb blonde girl friend in his TV show. These may not be very grand names but they suit them very well.
I am sorry to say the fourth little boy has already said goodbye to us and we are all imagining him trotting about in heaven at the heels of St. Hubert and St. Roch, who are both patron saints of dogs. This is very sad but it is a thing that often happens in a big puppy family and you have to get used to it. The other four are very well indeed, with loud voices and enormous appetites, and they are already wondering what sort of families they are going to live with. 1 talked about two books for I younger readers recently but this week I've got three for the twelve to sixteens; at least the first two are but the last would be enjoyed by someone a little younger.
Jungle Child s is the first one; Its a very well written story of a little girl, daughter of a forestry officer in North India. Norah travels everywhere by elephant and never has to do all the dull things ordinary children do. In fact, she only wishes she were a monkey so that she didn't have long hair! But in the end she has to go to an English school. The author's name is Norah Burke (I'm sure it's a true story), the publisher is Cassell and it costs 15s., which, although it is a good book, I think is much too much.
The next book is a nice Catholic adventure story set in the 1500s and it's about something one often hears about the Spanish Inquisition. It is an exciting period and well worth a book of this kind, but I thought when I was reading it that it was a pity the author had let bits slip in which puts it, really, in the grown-up class. The chief characters are two cousins, very different in character but equally well-meaning.
The title is stDefenders of the Faith) and the author is Ellalice Tate. It is published by Holder and Stoughton at 12s.6d.
The last book is very different, being about our old friends John and Mary who have such exciting adventures and go to such interesting places. This time it is all the way to Japan and back via Paris, Malta and Sicily. Its name is (John and Mary by Land and Sea), the author's name is Grace James, and it's published by Frederick Muller at 10s.