The new four-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature edited by Jack Zipes, a substantial survey of children's literature worldwide up to Lemony Snicket (although Jan Mark, who died in January, is still alive on page 25, volume 3), has created its own life-endangering "received for review" pile under my desk. I couldn't resist an early scan through the pages, and I was diverted by an account of Chinua Achebe's writing for children and the entry for Carousel magazine, 10 years old this year, before looking up Victor Watson's entry on William Mayne. Watson acknowledges the novelist's conviction for sexual abuse in May 2004 before concluding: "it is possible to argue that good writing achieves an honesty and truth that transcends the troubled individual who creates it". A lucky TES reviewer will soon be taking this on holiday. Order before September 1 and you get a reduction of pound;55 on the pound;220 price.
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