RICH PICKINGS ASSEMBLY STORIES FOR PRIMARY SCHOOLS. By Ian Addis. Anglia Young Books #163;7.50 each (three books)
As a complement to spiral-bound hymn books, here is a batch of spiral-bound assembly books newly wired by two retired headteachers willing to share their experience of going over the top every morning on the compulsory act of worship front.
Special Times is more or less a diary of Mike Dew's assembly-taking years.As you read through each suggestion, you know that they will work, not only because Dew has clearly tested them, but because they are presented in such a way that you can adopt them as your own. This is such a relief. Surely, like me, you have struggled with twee words and gauche activities in assembly books that probably needed the author's presence to breathe life into them? Dew's initial chapters of suggestions are consequently preferred to the worked examples.
His approach is open, questioning and inclusive, which has enabled him to persuade even Jehovah Witness parents that his assemblies were for them.Dew is so transparently honest that you have to believe him, although Witnesses are usually stubbornly resistant to ploys of this kind. My only carp is that this rather rough-and-ready publishing screams out for some decent editing. Some of the sentences have more slashes in them than a joint of porka Laura Ashley sale pricean Arthur Rackham fairy skirt.
Ian Addis's modern parables are about Kelly and Gary and Dilip and Wesley and name calling and wearing the wrong trousers and caring for a pet and New Year's resolutions, and so on. The extensive use of short sentences endows them with a breathless quality. You can, however, walk into an assembly, open the book at the chosen page, read the story, ask the questions, iterate the thought for the day, sing the selected song (optional) and exit - mission accomplished.
On the other hand, if you are not happy with the words or the style of writing, you will feel as uncomfortable as if you had walked into assembly in a tutu.