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Archive for December 1st, 2014

Unnatural Creatures, stories selected by Neil Gaiman, with Maria Dahvana Headley (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). My photo.

Unnatural Creatures, stories selected by Neil Gaiman, with Maria Dahvana Headley (London: Bloomsbury, 2013). My photo.

Neil Gaiman chose a variety of stories all of which have in common their focus on creatures said not to exist – the most wonderful and the scariest beings living in our imagination, and so living on the pages of our books, in our cinema, computer, and television screens. And he has chosen a fine menagerie indeed, with the help of fellow writer Maria Dahvana Headley, and the beautiful illustrations of Briony Morrow-Cribbs. The title page, posted here on the left, is similar in style to early printed books (see further down this post for an example of same), and as such was a great start, as I have a particular fondness for these pages, with their mixes of fonts and illustrations. If further encouragement to read the stories were required, Gaiman provides it in his introduction, opening with his reminiscences of the magical Natural History Museum, before acquainting us with the existence of the Unnatural History Museum (Viktor Wynd, do you know about this?!). For yes, this is real, which for all of us who have, like Gaiman, spent our lives yearning for such a place, is delightful news. 826 DC is, as they say on their official website,

a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

So if you’re going to read this book, I would ask that you buy it, to support children’s literacy and creativity. If you don’t tend to keep your books, or don’t find it to your taste, why not then donate it to your local library, to improve literacy and creativity at a local (to you) level? (more…)

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