Saturday, January 9, 2021

Book cover: "How to Amuse Yourself on a Journey"

  • Title: How to Amuse Yourself on a Journey
  • Author: Judy Allen
  • Cover photographer: Peter Kibbles (probably)
  • Interior illustrations: Timothy Jemison
  • Back cover blurb: "Every long journey gets tedious sooner or later — unless you have plenty of things to do and games to play. This book should keep you busy for hours, whether in a car or plane or on a boat or train. There are plenty of ideas for all the family."
  • Publisher: Studio Vista
  • Back cover price: £1.25 
  • Year: 1974
  • Pages: 68
  • Format: Hardcover 
  • From the introduction: If you are in a car, be kind to the driver. Never distract him, thump him, shout at him or force him to join in games. If riding in a car makes you feel sick, play games that concentrate your attention out of the window. Do not write or read.
  • Some chapter titles: Coke can telephone, Big game hunt, Arms and legs, A pack of pubs, Signs of the zodiac, Search for prehistoric sites, Aeroplane markings, Fortune telling.
  • Excerpt #1: There are plenty of Red Lions and King's Heads, but it may be some time before you find The Doghouse, The Tumble Inn or Ye Olde Leathern Bottle.
  • Excerpt #2: Virgo the virgin is not an obvious inn name.
  • Excerpt #3: Ham means homestead; Wald or Wold means forest or woodland and names containing Bell or Bel (after the Babylonian sun god Baal) often indicate the site of an ancient beacon.
  • Wait, what? I'm not sure. It was 1974. In the UK. Folks were watching stuff like Robin Redbreast, Penda's Fen and The Wicker Man. As far as Baal and beacons and such, this link from the deep corners of the internet might shed some light on what Judy Allen was alluding to. 
  • Excerpt #4: If you are travelling through a town or a city or an industrial area, the chances are that the view will not be very pretty. Suppose you had millions of pounds and thousands of skilled workmen at your disposal! How would you improve the scene?
  • Excerpt #5: All players must close their eyes. Each must then choose a particular vehicle. It could be: an articulated lorry
  • Online reviews, blog posts, remembrances, etc.: None to be found. That makes this the new preeminent source of online scholarship about this tome.
  • Other books in this series: How to Be a Scientist at Home, How to Build with Old Boxes, How to Disguise Yourself, How to Make Masks, How to Make Presents from Odds and Ends, How to Make Rubbings, How to Start Carving, and How to Make Magic, about which Cavalorn wrote this in a lengthy 2014 post: "The front cover tells us right away that something is deeply amiss here. ... It is the only children's book I have ever seen that has a goat skull on the cover." ... So,  maybe all that stuff about Baal and beacons was no mistake.

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