I have been tending to my family, homeschool, and TBG Community and have not had time to do much writing. But that's okay because of friends like Jeannette! So today, I am sharing a post that she wrote in which she continues her review of that fabulous book list by Jerram Barrs. You can read part 1 of her review here. (FYI - Amazon has cut ties with bloggers from Minnesota, so I don't have any links to the books for you. You can read about that here.)
Little Known Book Treasures Part 2 by Jeannette Tulis
When I wrote part 1 of this series, I ended up ordering at least two of the books before I finished writing the review. Am curious how many books I will order in the process of writing part 2!
This little series is just an exploration of a booklist compiled by Jerram Barrs, a writer, thinker, speaker who is a longtime L’Abri fellow. His book which he co-wrote with Ranald Maccaulay, Being Human: The Nature of Christian Experience, was instrumental in my early understanding of what it meant to think Christianly. I have the highest regard for Jerram Barrs and would accept without question his book recommendations. It always affords particular delight to read a book list with so many favorites and yet spy quite a few with which I am unfamiliar. So this piece is my attempt to offer a review using internet sources, of those titles of which I am not familiar. The full booklist can be found at sageparnassus.com which is the blog of my dear friend Nancy Kelly. It was posted on March 11 of this year.
I must note that Jerram is an Englishman and so many of his titles are English ones as opposed to American ones. Since some of my all time favorite authors are English, I welcome learning more about ones I do not know. So here is a continuation of the review of the books I did not know on Jerram’s list.
•The Just William series by Richmal Crompton, is a series of thirty nine books based on the mischievous schoolboy William Brown. Published over a period of almost fifty years, between 1921 and 1970, the series is notable for the fact that the protagonist remains at the same eleven years of age, despite each book being set in the era it was written in. A William story often starts when William or the Outlaws (his friends) set out to do something—put on a play or collect scrap metal for the war effort. William always manages to get into trouble with his parents, although he can never see why. Often his well-meaning efforts result in broken windows and hysterics among Mrs. Brown's friends.
I found several of these free as e-books. The style is reminiscent of Tarkington’s Penrod, although not as wordy and definitely British. I think I may be looking these up for my 10 year old in the near future.
•Moonfleet by J. Meade Faulkner
Moonfleet is a tale of smuggling by the English novelist J. Meade Falkner, first published in 1898. The book was extremely popular among children worldwide up until the 1970s, mostly for its themes of adventure and gripping storyline. It remains a popular story widely read and is still sometimes studied in schools. The protagonist is a 15 year old boy named John Trenchard. Available as a free e-book on project Gutenberg.
•Elidor by Alan Garner
Elidor is a children's fantasy novel by the British author Alan Garner, published by Collins in 1965. Set primarily in modern Manchester, it features four English children who enter a fantasy world, fulfill a quest there, and return to find that the enemy has followed them into our world. Translations have been published in nine languages and it has been adapted for television. In reading about this one, it was a bit disconcerting to see the comments about Celtic mythology.
- Duncton Wood by William Horwood Duncton Wood and the subsequent novels in the series (two trilogies) revolve around the moles that inhabit the United Kingdom. The mole communities (referred to as "Moledom") are anthropomorphically portrayed as intelligent societies with their own social organization, history and written form of communication. The moles are limited to the physical behaviours of their real-world burrow-dwelling counterparts, and neither wear clothing nor exhibit any special technological aptitude. It is a story about a society, the venerable system of Duncton Wood, which is slowly falling into decay, becomes a dictatorship under Mandrake, a truly awesome character (in the biblical sense of the word "awesome"), is reborn as a struggling young community under Bracken, and grows to become the great system which is the focus of five more brilliant books.Most importantly in the long run, it is the story of a quest, physically and spiritually, for a stone, the Stone of Silence. This is a book with well realized characters, a gripping plot, beautiful lyrical passages, humour, tragedy, and a lot more.
- Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
Good Night, Mr. Tom is an excellent historical novel, by Michelle Magorian, set in World War II. This is a wonderful and touching story, about a small boy, named Willie Beech, who is evacuated from London to live in Little Weirwold with a complete stranger, Mr. Thomas Oakley. Tom is an old man, not used to children (he had a baby boy that died, but that was his only child), but he is kind to Willie. Willie is a deprived and abused child, and he is afraid of everything, because he wasn't let outside much in his earlier life. Slowly, Willie starts to think on his own, and he forgets the hate and despair of his past. Tom comes to love Willie like a son. Then a telegram comes, and Willie must return to his abusive mother in London, but weeks pass and Willie doesn't come back, so Mr. Tom goes to London to try to find the boy he has come to love so much.
Apparently this is also a movie on Netflix. I hope you can be trusted to read the book first!
•The Midnight Folk and
•The Box of Delights by John Masefield
John Masefield was a well known English poet (remember “Sea Fever”?) The Midnight Folk is a children's fantasy novel by John Masefield first published in 1927. It is about a boy, Kay Harker, who sets out to discover what became of a fortune stolen from his seafaring great grandfather Aston Tirrold Harker (in reality, Aston Tirrold is a village in Oxfordshire). The treasure is also sought by a coven of witches who are also seeking it for their own ends. Kay's governess Sylvia Daisy Pouncer is a member of the coven. The witches are led or guided by the wizard Abner Brown.
Kay Harker is aided in his quest by various talking animals, most notably Nibbins the cat, who used to be a witch's cat but has reformed. There are two other household cats: the main antagonist is Blackmalkin, and he is aided by the mysterious Greymalkin . The Box of Delights is the sequel with a Christmas Theme. Reviews I read of this were quite impressive with many classifying it as much better than Harry Potter. Both are widely available.
Well so far I have resisted ordering any of the books reviewed for this issue although I am tempted! Please let me know if you end up reading any of these. I would love to hear your reviews.