The Truth About Love by Philip Ardagh

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The Truth About Love by Philip Ardagh

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Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Possibly finding too many tangents for its own use at times, this book will serve to educate the young about what their adults get up to with rituals, customs and symbols of the amorous kind.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: January 2013
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9781447207849

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We are never too far from springtime, when, of course, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Beardy Ardagh is hoping that young people's fancies turn to trivia about love customs, predictions of who they'll marry and what the whole symbolism around love, Valentines and marriage mean. The emphasis is on young – this book is definitely suited for the primary school library, although he slips up once when asking if we think our partners smell nice.

The contents are diverse enough to branch away from love per se a couple of times, although both apple peels and Arthur's court are here and are both very relevant. Ardagh bends the topic most when going towards other realms of information, such as dream interpretation or astrology, and only knocking on their doors before running away. Elsewhere there is much more satisfying, and concise, looks at the wedding anniversary gift materials, the Victorian ideas about coded gem- and flower-giving, ancient goddesses of love (even the one who was a cow) and so on.

After the initial common-sense, had-to-be-included-at-all-costs subjects such as wedding rings and other public displays of affection, the book veers into the much more trivial, such as some startling and bizarre rural customs for having one's spouse foretold. While they might come with a 'do not try this at home' warning, there is a good chance such quirky content will enlighten and enliven discussions about just what our ancestors got up to before they invented cities and The contents will not raise any other querying eyebrows, for as I say Ardagh knows to keep to the target audience and what they're old enough for, and as he knows how to write non-fiction of interest for the young, this edition (apparently a straight retread of the original from 2001) serves as a success.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

It's a Girl Thing (Lola Love) by Lisa Clark is a look at the more scientific aspects of love and fluids etc for the young women among you. Hector and the Secrets of Love by Francois Lelord is a fictional way of showing adults just don't know as much about love as they should.

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Buy The Truth About Love by Philip Ardagh at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Truth About Love by Philip Ardagh at


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