As mentioned a few days ago, the synopsis on Children of Green Knowe, #98 on the Top 100 Children’s Books list, will be by Susan from Readspace. During my time reading this book, Susan expressed an enjoyment of this book series, and here is what she had to say about the first book:
Thinking back, I must have first read The Children of Green Knowe when I was about Tolly’s age. I think it was a summer reading book, as back then we would journey to the public library in Columbia, SC and come home with stacks of books to devour before returning the next week. Then I didn’t know that Green Knowe was a real place. I’m not even sure I knew it was set in England although I loved the historical details. What I did know is it was magic. Not Harry Potter, wizards and witches and spells magic, but quieter more organic real magic. Just as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had me hoping that I might find a closet to another place, Tolly and Green Knowe had me believing that one afternoon I might stumble across brothers and a sister from another time surrounded by animals playing under a tree.
I think it might take a special child, or even adult to read and appreciate this book today. It is actually quite sophisticated with layers of history and generations who have come before, old stories, imaginings and dreams. I also realize now that while Green Noah was a little frightening, the ghosts of the children, and by extension, death was not. I’m not sure that many children’s books even addressed topics such as that, much less in such a matter of fact manner. Part of the magic exists I think in the minds of Tolly and Mrs. Oldknow, the sort of thinking and longing so strongly for something that it seems you have brought it into being. Boston seems to ask, what is real? And I think the answer the story provides is it doesn’t really matter. Truth and reality are not necessarily the same and love is over and under and above it all. In my mind, this title cannot be separated from its sequel, The Treasure at Green Knowe which again features Tolly and his grandmother, and I look forward to again hearing Mrs. Oldknow recite the history behind each piece of fabric in her crazy quilt.
Children of Green Knowe
by L.M. Boston
Originally published in 1954
Thanks again to Susan for contributing her thoughts and appreciation of this book. Now, on to The Witches by Roald Dahl!