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Cherchez l’enfant

It looks like a golden age for children's writing. A British tradition has been reinvigorated by two good, though overrated, authors. JK Rowling and Philip Pullman differ from previous classic authors in aiming at a slightly older age range, and their metaphysics are silly. Still, they reflect our times

By Richard Jenkyns   October 2005

When I was at prep school at the end of the 1950s, Wednesday was a red-letter day, because it was then that Eagle arrived. This was the only comic that we were allowed to read, and it is a tribute to Eagle’s quality that we revelled in it even though it was lawful. The first two pages depicted the adventures of Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, who did battle with the totalitarian green men of Venus, the Treens, led by their evil genius, the Mekon. That was the best of the adventure strips; the others were of variable quality,…

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