History in perspective
There's been a lively and typically Guardian reader series of letters praising Ladybird books. Everything from computers to maths is best learned through these little volumes, according to this Guardian correspondence from experts in various fields.
I know what they mean. Often real specialists miss the points that ignorant punters are really looking for. I think another series of books should take their place alongside the Ladybirds - the Horrible Histories by Terry Deary.
They're hugely popular with kids: he's the most borrowed author in school libraries, beating even St Jacqueline Wilson. "I want to give people a proper perspective," he says. "The Horrible Histories are about the hard-up and unfortunate and show what evil people the powerful and privileged often are. The stories of poor people are always neglected and victims of suffering are often the real heroes."
Birmingham Stage Company have scored huge success with four Horrible Histories to date and are now starting a huge national tour with two new show, The Woeful Second World War and Frightful First World War.
The shows call in at Coventry's Belgrade main stage during half term week, February 17-21. Full details here. Other Midland dates are at the Alex (June 9-13) and Hereford's Courtyard (June 16-20).
Another show with an interesting take on history is running at the Belgrade's B2 Space. Cat and Mouse is a new piece devised by director Julia Smith that features 56 young performers aged from six to 18 as well as professional actors.
It's running from January 24 to February 14 as part of The Holocaust Memorial Day Coventry 2009 programme of events.
Julia Smith has been working for six months with groups of children from eight local schools to devise a piece telling the histories of children caught up in The Holocaust. The idea of using a story based on cats and mice came from the children themselves during workshop session.
Pictures: Second World War evacuees from Horrible Histories and, below, a cat and a mouse help tell the horrors of The Holocaust