Monday 20 September 2010

Time and Change

Time and Change was written by Oliver Aston in 1973 as part of Evans Brothers series of 'integrated theme' books for junior schools. The 'integrated' part makes them discursive and they have beautifully designed chapter title pages.

The idea of not merely dealing with time as a mathematical or scientific subject is interesting, and the book's gentle explanation of the nature of passing time and how it affects the child is both intelligent and sensitive.

Although older does not necessarily mean better (especially when dealing with education), 'Time and Change' has a gentle, ruminative quality that is almost entirely absent from culture and media aimed at modern children. The muted browns, ambers and sepias remind me of childhood autumns and murky instamatic photographs. It isn't all backward-looking though; the range of 'integrated' references in here make Time and Change look like a lost work by Dr. John Dee or Robert Burton in comparison to the things I had to work with when I was a teacher. We have Aristotle on dreams, circadian rhythms, derelict land, family trees, homes of the future and a photo of John P'twee in full velvets and ruff stepping out of the Tardis. Pretty esoteric for junior school children.

Some of the imagery is quite melancholy. The one below could be a still from the shop in Bagpuss:

The last page contains this quote which I'm pretty damn sure wouldn't crop up in a modern text book:

'Benjamin Franklin once said: Remember, that time is money.
Could this be the reason it has become so important?'

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