Author: Enid Blyton
The last time this delightful novella by Enid Blyton, was published, was in 1966, so this is just a quick reminder that if you are inspired to buy the book: there are some reasonable copies on eBay, etc – instead of looking for it in modern bookshops. My copy is a Collins 2 in 1 hardback, also containing the sequel to this entertaining family tale: called The Happy House Children Again.
Part 2 of this review will be an in depth analysis on the sequel, so please look out for that, in a few weeks. Anyway, there is no major plot which runs through this 62-page family story, but there is plenty of entertaining sibling rivalry which runs through the complete course of the book: between Jack, Jane and Benjy, occupants of ‘Happy-House’. Their new house (especially on the front cover of my edition) reminds me very much of Enid’s own home: Old Thatch, with it’s thatched roof, cosy kitchen, etc…
The children are thrilled with their new home, and the following chapters sees them settling in, in this new area, and becoming familiar with these surroundings, which differ, dramatically, from their previous home, in a town. Although this book is clearly aimed at young readers (6+ in my opinion, or perhaps even younger, if the story is being read aloud) there is a delightful charm throughout the text. I read the story within a couple of hours, or so, and found it a compelling and pleasurable read. New characters are introduced as the story progresses: including Patter the dog, who is a lively pup, the children were given from a girl at a farm. Presumably the children don’t go to school (I don’t recall their ages being revealed, except Jane’s – who is seven. She is the middle child, so I would presume Benjy was five, and Jack was nine) because later in the book, when they go out to tea, they don’t like to leave Patter on his own. The event of Patter being left of his own, is made to seem like an unusual occurrence, because Patter is very miserable during the children’s absence.
We don’t hear much about the children’s parents throughout this book – ‘Mother’ gets a mention, occasionally, but I don’t think that the children’s father gets much of a mention at all!!
Mrs Plum is another character who takes a leading role. At first ths children are wary of her because she is strict and doesn’t like children, but they soon get to know her, thanks to her wonderful grandfather clock, which the children are curious of. They think it is wonderful when the cuckoo appears every hour, and resort to ‘innocently’ returning Mrs Plum’s playful kitten to her, just before every hour, so that they get to see the cuckoo appear out of the clock! Mrs Plum is pleased that the children seem to polite and invites them to tea, much to their disappointment. They fear that they must be on their best behaviour: but soon they realize Mrs Plum is a kindly lady, with a good sense of humour.
The book ends on a happy note -‘Mother’s’ birthday! Ths chapter is called ‘Jane and Mummy’s Birthday’, which I thought indicated that there was to be two birthday celebrations, but really, the chapter focussed on Jane’s attempts to earn some money to buy a gift for her mother.
Anyway, a delightful little read. I scored it a four-star, because it doesn’t have much of a plot, but the characters and description more than make up for this. Remember to come back and read Part 2 of this review, some time. Hopefully it will be within a fortnight or so. In the meantime, I have got some great books lined up to review. I currently reading the final Hunger Games book by Suzanne Collins. I can’t wait to discover the outcome to this excellent series. Then I will be reading and reviewing Susan Hill’s ‘The Woman In Black’, some Historical ‘My Story’ diary books, and hopefully an Anthony Horowitz book. Oh yes, and maybe a couple more ‘A series of unfortunate events’ books. Keep updated!