Book Reviews: Be Safe, Animals, Or Denied Justice By Too Many Tickles

December 27, 2015



Justice Denied by David Klatzow                                                     9

Be Safe I Love You by Cara Hoffman                                               8

Animal Music by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt                     6

Too Many Tickles by Thomas Taylor and Penny Dann                   6.5


The blindfolded Lady Justice, holding the scales of justice in one hand and a sword in the other, suggests complete impartiality in the judiciary – conviction and acquittal based on sound evidential proof only.  The sword suggests punishment for straying from this principle. Justice Denied shows that the Lady fails miserably. Inside the legal system of prosecution, defence and court are the forensic investigators acting as support for all three pillars.  This book explains what forensic science is and what it is not and exposes how it can lead to miscarriage of justice. David Klatzow, a South African forensic scientist of some repute, reveals malpractice in the judiciary world-wide and in South Africa in particular. Finger-, foot- and tyreprint  identification can be seriously flawed, and blood tests and alcohol breathaliser analysis likewise. Arson, handwriting and ballistic tests are prone to subjective interpretation without science-based evaluation. In addition to junk science entering forensic practice, prejudice, bias and plain dishonesty in prosecution is shown to be frequent. Backed up with many reference sources, this book is stacked with forensic detail and case studies that give it the character of an in-depth forensic science guide that, at the same time, is entertaining and interesting. It also makes periods watching or reading about court cases leisure time better spent. – DB


The tragedy of war sometimes seems to get written up as an afterthought when ex-servicemen and women try to settle down to normal life. In Be Safe I Love You,  Lauren Clay, having served her term in Iraq, is physically and mentally in fine shape, or so it seems. Stationed in a Forward Operational Base, she is sickened to have served God and country by killing people. Lauren, a talented singer and a bright young woman, with a special loving relationship with her younger brother, seems to easily adapt to civilian life.  But something has changed.  This is not an easy book to read.  Iraq flashbacks, childhood memories, hometown realities, friends and family all intermingle and readers are with the protagonist as she experiences life back home as clusters of impressions and feelings.  I enjoyed this book as I can relate with with a situation in which you realise that the impact of war endures long after the troops have come home. Highly recommended. – DB


Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt are serial collaborators, having created a number of books – including Toddle Waddle, Chocolate Mousse For Greedy Goose, Hippo Has A Hat and One Mole Digging A Hole – for young readers. Animal Music is of the same ilk as these titles, comprising very little text and a glut of great illustrations as it aims to give small children a bit of reading practice while retaining their interest with bold colours and comically unlikely visual scenarios. The book is little more than an illustrated list of animal orchestra members, from a cello-bowing bison (have you tried to play a fretless instrument with hooves? Impossible!) to a humming hedgehog and, bizarrely, a gerbil hopping from one hump to the next on the back of a Bactrian camel – a particularly innovative form of percussion. As a reader, this is probably too simple for most competent kids, but as an introduction to the delights books can hold, it fulfills a worthwhile role. – BD


Too Many Tickles is simply published cheerfulness, with a narrative that follows two smiling youngsters through their day and the tickling sessions they’ve become accustomed to involving different members of their close-knit family. It’s a celebration of love expressed in affectionate actions, brought to life by Penny Dann’s joyful artwork. Parents and grandparents have their particular tickling style, and there’s a real sense of the unnamed children, even though they run away from each tickler, needing to check in at each station if they’re not going to feel cheated out of one of the central routines of their lives. There’s no powerful fairytale moral, but there’s certainly a lesson to take from what goes on in the story: wake up and go to bed laughing and you’ll likely live a happy life. – BD