Do you remember Matilda who told such dreadful lies, Rebecca who slammed doors for fun and perished miserably, or Henry King who chewed bits of string? Hilaire Belloc’s famous Cautionary Verses was first published in 1940 and has remained a constant favorite among adults and children ever since. Witty, memorable, and always instructive, many generations have laughed and learned with Matilda the liar, and Jim who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion. This exclusive audio CD production of Cautionary Verses, with selected unabridged verses, brings Belloc’s unique blend of rhyme and humor to a new audience. Husband and wife team Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres perform together with impeccable timing, obvious enjoyment and real character a most memorable and sparkling listen.
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It's hard to imagine a contemporary audience for Hilaire Belloc's poems from the turn of the last century--unless it's parents who want to terrorize their children with moralistic doggerel like "Matilda Who Told Lies, and was Burned to Death." Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayers give an animated reading of these poems, trading lines and verses in a spirited dialogue. But if Belloc's verses are satirical, that's not coming through in this recording, which seems genuinely aimed at children rather than adults with a healthy sense of irony. The production is further hampered by the excessive repetition of a single musical phrase between verses. D.B. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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