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Borrobil (Puffin Story Books) [Paperback]

William Croft Dickinson , John Morton-Sale
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; New edition edition (April 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140302115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140302110
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 545,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for lovers of magical tales 11 Jan 2005
Donald and Jean visit a mysterious wood one night. There they discover a ring of standing stones and fires burning. They enter the ring, unaware that tonight is Beltane Eve, a night of great magic - and find themselves transported to another place and time. There they encounter Borrobil, a strange little man, who leads them on a magical adventure of heroes and villains, fairies, dragons and a beautiful princess. And in all this, the wheel turns and the power of summer must enter the land...
Considering this was first published in 1944 it stands up very well; the children seem quite modern compared to many from pre-1960s books (CS Lewis's Narnia series, for instance, where the children are clearly of their time).
"Borrobil" is in the same vein as books that will be more familiar to most - Narnia, Alan Garner's Weirdstone & Gomrath, Clive King's Stig of the Dump, and so on. If you enjoy any of these, I'm sure you'll enjoy Borrobil. It's not as good as Alan Garner: his handling of darkness is superb, whereas in Borrobil evil is never truly threatening and the story is leavened by a fair amount of humour. So this is a book for perhaps slightly younger children, and as its structure is nicely episodic, it's very good for reading to them aloud.
I still have the copy I was given as a child: paperback, Puffin 1964. This has good B&W illustrations by John Morton-Sale, and a lovely cover by Pauline Baynes (whose artwork I have always appreciated).
Recommended for lovers of magical tales and fairy stories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming fantasy 25 April 2010
By Sarah A. Brown VINE VOICE
One of the joys of the internet is that you can get hold of pretty much any book you feel like reading - or rereading - within a couple of days. Recently I felt an urge to reread `Borrobil' which I'd liked as a child. I always enjoyed any story about more or less ordinary children having magical adventures - Nesbit, Edward Eager and Susan Cooper were firm favourites - so this tale of Donald and Jean finding themselves back in a mythical past with the wise and magical Borrobil as companion and guide strongly appealed to me.

It was interesting to note which bits had stuck with me for 35 years and which I'd completely blanked out. The rather static and heraldic set piece fights proved forgettable, whereas I had remembered perfectly the clever verbal trick played on the dwarf and also the fairy knoll. The initial meeting with Borrobil, the moment when the children suddenly find themselves in another world, was also memorable. Like another reviewer I was struck by brave, whimsical Jean, a more interesting child than the rather stolid Donald.

The writing is rather old fashioned and stately but Borrobil may still appeal to bookish children with a taste for myth and magic. One aspect of the novel which completely passed me by as a child was its Scottishness - Borrobil can be seen as a kind of Scottish answer to `Puck of Pook's Hill'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Part of my childhood..... 13 Dec 2009
By Mr. K. Cross VINE VOICE
.....Yes, Sooty & Sweep, Captain Pugwash, Mr. Pastry, 'Corona' Dandelion & Burdock 'pop', The Famous Five, Jamboree Bags......& Borrobil! All part of my childhood. I chose to buy Borrobil in 1964 when I was ten, & the last time I read it? I finished it last night!! Every five or so years, out comes Borrobil so I can relive the exciting adventures that Donald & Jean have. They are on 'an extra holiday', & the one place they've not explored in this un-named place, is the wood. It can be seen from their bedroom window, ringing the high hill. They impulsively decide to set off to see the wood after dark one night. They come to a nine stone ring, & it's Beltane night....though they know not what that means. They pass through the stones, & the adventure begins........ Borrobil (a small, rotund, kindly, smiley pixie-man with a hat that has a large, long feather atop it that sweeps the ground when he bows), escorts them through a series of 'episodes', that are, basically, the age-old fight between good & evil. The evil is often tempered with humour, & I don't remember it being particularly frightening as a child, but the whole story kept me gripped never-the-less. And still does. Now, I can see how radical Jean actually was for the time it was written: a fiesty, spunky girl who shows little fear. The wonderful illustrations by John-Morton Sale add to the atmosphere of the story. Along the way, the children meet an enchanting array of people: a beautiful princess; a brave knight; a fairy queen & her people; Viking marauders.....& even a dragon. A book written for children between 7-10 years of age, but at 55, I continue to enjoy this imaginative, innocent, story of Good versus Bad, & I'll probably be taking it off the bookshelf again in a few years to read it all over again.
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