A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.
I wish there had been someone with as much enthusiasm as Nik Perring around when I was at school. If there had been I might have developed an interest in history about two decades earlier.
I Met a Roman Last Night, What Did You Do?– written for the 6 to 10 age group – is a very simple story, simply told. Young Jack Revons (who gets an enviable amount of sleep) meets characters from British history in his dreams, ranging from a Roman centurion to a little girl living in London during the Blitz. All are just ordinary people getting on with their lives, and each meeting opens a brief window on their world. The messages of “different but the same”, “history is fun” and “do unto others” are conveyed effectively without being rammed home with a sledgehammer.
It is, therefore, unfortunate that in this very short book both a major spelling error and some non-standard English made it into print.
The former (reigns instead of reins) is a proof-reading oversight. The latter, I think, can safely be attributed to Nik Perring’s natural speech patterns … the construction “he was stood” is heard every day in conversations in the North of England. It isn’t “wrong”, it’s a regional variation – but in all honesty it doesn’t belong in a book for young readers, and the publishers should have known that.
It’s rather a shame, because in all other respects this thoughtful little book has a lot to recommend it – including some charming illustrations by Derry Dillon. I was particularly taken by the marauding Celts …
Educational Printing Services Ltd. 2006. ISBN-1-905637-03-9. 86pp.