As we mentioned in the last issue, we’re marking our tenth anniversary this year in various ways, but perhaps most importantly with the publication of a very unusual little book. It’s called Slightly Famous People’s Foxes and proceeds from the sale will go to buy books for the Hospital School at Great Ormond Street, which enables children to continue their education while they are there. These won’t be textbooks but books to read for pleasure – most of us probably know how just the right book can ease a stay in hospital, especially for children who may be in isolation or having long and painful treatments. It’s a cause close to our hearts, and we’d be delighted if you felt able to give it your support. The book costs a very affordable £5, and you’ll find a leaflet and an order form enclosed with this issue.
Of course that’s not the only book we’re publishing this spring. We love all our Slightly Foxed Editions, but the latest, John Hackett’s I Was a Stranger, we feel is truly exceptional. In it John describes how, after being seriously wounded at the Battle of Arnhem, he was hidden and nursed back to health by three courageous Dutch sisters in the small German-occupied town of Ede, then smuggled back down the waterways to the British lines by the Dutch Resistance. It’s a heart-stopping story and a heartfelt tribute by an extraordinary man to the people who risked their lives for him, written with such modesty, elegance and human insight one feels privileged to have met him – if only on the page.
There’s also the latest instalment in Ronald Welch’s Carey saga, the fourth in our new Slightly Foxed Cubs series, which provides a wonderful panorama of English history for younger (and nostalgic older) readers. In Captain of Foot we’re in Portugal and Spain, marching with Lieutenant Christopher Carey, an infantryman in Wellington’s army during his long campaign against the French. With him we experience the extreme heat, the dirt and the fleas, the uncomfortable bivouacs and the poor food, as well as the exhilaration of battle. Not to be missed – the details and atmosphere in these fast-moving books are fantastic.
For those of you who missed out on our hardback edition of Edward Ardizzone’s memoir of his childhood, The Young Ardizzone, we’re delighted to say that it’s now available as one of our elegant little Slightly Foxed paperbacks. It’s a charming memoir which brings alive in words and Ardizzone’s own inimitable drawings, his often eccentric family and friends, and the comfortable Edwardian world in which he grew up.
And finally, our thanks and best wishes to you all for 2014, and our congratulations to Mary Stewart in Fife, the winner of our 5th crossword competition, who receives a year’s free subscription. The answers appear at the bottom of p.94.