Thursday, 29 December 2016

The Bucket - Allan Ahlberg

Now, sliding along to the turn of the year, I want to wish you Good Health and Happiness in 2017.

And to finish 2016 I bring you a little book which is full of joy, memories, laughter and tears.  The title is a nothing -The Bucket - but that bucket is full of all sorts!  This is less than a memoir, in fact it's sub-title is "memories of an inattentive childhood".   Exactly right.  At junior school he was a dreamer, inattentive as far as teachers were concerned, but obviously whilst not attending to them, he was already starting his writing career!   Ahlberg is a children's book author, most of them illustrated by his wife Janet Ahlberg, and much loved by many parents and children.  I didn't have them read to me (and in any case, as he is a similar age to me he wasn't writing when I was a small child) and in any case I am glad I found this book now.

Full of little memories of his childhood, short and long verses, embellished a little here and there, I defy anyone not to smile from time to time whilst reading this.  Some of the verse is taken from his books already published, some stories he tells you will have come from his children's books (and he marks them so that you know the source) but don;t let that bother you.  We obviously lived parallel lives because so many of his memories are carbon copies of mine - fear of the bacon slicer ..visiting cemeteries ......making slides after snow has fallen.  And about three quarters of the way through is a description in rhyme of playing football

" nets, no posts, no lines alas
                   the only thing it had was grass"

Get the timbre right, read it out loud.  You may want to take up football afterwards.


I read the hardback.  It is an ideal gift size.  I see from Amazon reviews that this is not a good book to read on a kindle or similar - I think odd line illustrations and the verses don't do well on a machine.