I was greatly saddened to lear that Liverpool children's author, Brian Jacques, died last week, on February 5th. I grew up reading the Redwall books - having received "Mossflower" one year as a gift. Whether it was a Christmas gift, or a birthday gift, I cannot now recall, for it was a very long time ago, but I remember the medieval cover vividly, and that I devoured it. I eagerly leapt upon each new book as it came out, and it was not uncommon for me to stay up way too late reading 'just one more chapter' until I had finished the book completely. I loved the rollicking style of his writing, his cheerful poetry, and unassuming bravery of his peace-loving characters. I enjoyed his use of dialect, especially the Somerset accent of the moles, and suspect that my delight in language may have been influenced as much by the Redwall books, as by Tolkien and the Irish songs the Clancy Brothers used to sing. I suppose that they are very simple stories, good vs. evil adventures, and rather formulamatic, but they are also jolly good fun, and I have never managed to outgrow my pleasure in them.
The LA Times has published an obituary for Brian Jacques, for those who are intersted, but what I would really recommend for those who would like to know more about the man, is to read the interview with him in The Wand in the Word. It was a delightful interview, and Mr. Jacques himself comes off as quite the character.