Monday 12 March 2018


Our regular look at children's classics returns, as keen reader Cheryl tells us about THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE...

Cheryl says:
This beautiful book first came to my attention thanks to a wonderful BBC adaptation when I was ten years old. It was aired just before Christmas in 1986, and forever inspired in me a festive feeling of big draughty mansions, huge snowy gardens, and mysterious ghost children.

There are a series of six Green Knowe books by Lucy M. Boston. THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE, published in 1954, is the first of these, and really sets the tone for the entire story to follow.

The book begins as lonely young boy Toseland leaves boarding school to go and stay with his great-grandmother for the Christmas holidays. Mrs Oldknow lives in a huge, magical old house called Green Knowe, and visiting her gives Tolly his first real sense of family and of being part of a long lineage of Oldknows.

Throughout his visit, the bad weather leaves them largely cut off, and gives Tolly time to explore the house and gardens, and to get to know the wonderful world of Green Knowe. Here he appears to encounter Toby, Alexander, and Linnet, who are ghosts of children who lived there in the 17th century, a belief that is encouraged by his great-grandmother, who claims she can see them too. Mrs Oldknow spends her evenings telling Tolly stories about the house and its rich history, and instills in him a real feeling of belonging and acceptance for the first time in his life.

The book is beautifully written, with colourful descriptions of nature and lovely imagery throughout, and an attention to detail that draws you right into the room with the characters.

The Green Knowe series may now be largely forgotten by younger readers, but deserves to be a Christmas staple for children everywhere. It is a world that is now passed down from generation to generation, just as these stories were once passed from Mrs Oldknow to Tolly.

CATHY SAYS: Agree, Cheryl - a fantastic read! Have YOU read THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE? What did YOU make of it? COMMENT BELOW...

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like such a good book! I always watch the BBC production of Box of Delights, which I think was made around the same time, with my family at Christmas, and I've loved it for years. Maybe I'll have to read this book so we can add it to our Christmas tradition! Sounds like a brilliant book, anyway.



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