The full sub-title for both of these books is -˜Ideas for writing inspired by great writers' and both have an accompanying CD-ROM inside the back cover giving more illustrations and listening passages. Whilst modern writers are not the main focus or feature these two books of guidance and advice are far, very far, from being in any way old-fashioned. Each book has fifteen units under two section headings -˜Opening doors to poetry'. For each the aim of enhancing writing is integrated totally with increasing familiarity with the works of a range of authors. Each also has an original story by Bob Cox related to the themes. The teacher or librarian seeking practical and realistic suggestions for exploring approaches into texts with an objective of enhancing creativity in the writing of youngsters will find real riches here.
Whilst a sequential and developmental programme is set out in each book the range of examples together with the variety of implications can certainly be, as the title says, inspiring. So for each section an initial passage of prose or poetry is expanded and expounded with related passages or verses from other writers. All through the presentation is suffused with approaches and techniques applied to teaching and developing writing. The structure can certainly be used as set out and this seems sure to lead to satisfying outcomes but I'm delighted to observe that to my way of thinking things are in no way prescriptive or restrictive. There are pieces and ideas a-plenty for the imaginative teacher to build upon in individual ways and implications in the classroom. I feel confidant also that a teacher trying these approaches and techniques has an opportunity to gain in professional development leading to increased self-assurance and reliance in ideas for new projects arising out of these experiences. As always with such books the proof of the pudding is in the eating: feasting, gluttony even, is wholly encouraged.