A Book of Bells
Remembering Jane Yolen's book of kites (World on a String, KR, 1969), one expects her to work some of her own ringing changes here. Certainly she has collected an intriguing amount of lore on special-purpose bells -- Tocsin bell, Sermon bell, Pudding, and Doom; anecdotal explanations of their use in religion, medieval town government, war and death rites; the most famous bell legends; a history of carillons and inscriptions; even a selection of bell poems. The material is inherently intriguing, and here and there Yolen allows herself to have some fun with the reverberating names of famous bells or the permutations of change ringing. Nevertheless, the organization -- by use, with a little vignette prefacing each chapter -- makes the whole business more sober and slow-moving than it need be. The illustrations may put some of the sparkle back in, and in any case, enterprising kids will be able to dig out the aspects of campanology that strike their fancies.