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A Kid for Two Farthings (The Bloomsbury Group) [Paperback]

Wolf Mankowitz
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

2 Nov 2009 The Bloomsbury Group
Six year-old Joe knows a unicorn when he sees one. His downstairs neighbour Mr Kandinsky has told him all about these mythical creatures, and there isn't anything in the world that this wise tailor doesn't know. So when Joe sees a little white goat amidst the singing birds, salted herrings and hokey-pokey ices of a Whitechapel market he has to have him. He knows it's just a matter of time before the tiny bump on the unicorn's head becomes the magic horn to grant his every wish. For in the embattled working-class community of 1950s East End London, there are plenty of people in need of good fortune. The only thing Mr Kandinsky wants is a steam press for his shop; his assistant Shmule, a wrestler, just needs to buy a ring for his girl; and all Joe and his mother wish for, more than anything, is to join his father in Africa. But maybe, just maybe, Joe's unicorn can sprinkle enough luck on all his friends for their humble dreams to come true. A Kid for Two Farthings is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408802945
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408802946
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Wolf Mankowitz possesed the now largely vanished gift of being able to write about romance and sentiment without being ever sentimental' Dennis Norden 'A small miracle. He writes of the teeming streets round the Whitechapel Road with such glowing warmth and love that they come triumphantly alive. Wolf Mankowitz, you are not a star. You are a planet' Daily Express 'A most touching little story' Punch 'Combines affecting tenderness with sharply funny observation' The Times

About the Author

Wolf Mankowitz was born in 1924 in the East End of London, the heart of London's Jewish community. This background provided him with the material for three famous novels A Kid for Two Farthings, Make me an Offer, and My Old Man's a Dustman. A Kid for Two Farthings was adapted as a film by the director Carol Reed in 1955. Make me an Offer was filmed the year before. In 1958 he wrote the book for the hit West End musical Expresso Bongo. Mankowitz's remarkable output has included novels, plays, historical studies and the screenplays for many successful films which have received awards including the Oscar, Bafta and the Cannes Grand Prix. Mankowitz was hired as one of the screenwriters for the first Bond film, Doctor No. He later also collaborated on the screenplay for Casino Royale.Mankowitz died of cancer in 1998, in County Cork, Ireland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars beautiful, but seemingly incomplete 25 Nov 2011
By tsarina
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a quite beautiful story which paints a wonderful scene. There is a mildness to the prose which we seem to have lost, both in books and in life. I do wonder if the book has been completed, as the ending seems somehow vague, but a beautiful book nevertheless.
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By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Whimsical little story set among the Jewish community of London's East End of the 30s. Vivid descriptions transport you to a very different world- the markets, the struggling clothing manufacturers, the wrestling matches...
The hero of the book, 6 year old Joe, lives with his mother (his father is away in Africa on unspecified business) over Mr Kandinsky's tailor shop. While his mother works at a milliner's, Joe spends most of his time with the tailor, and a bond grows between them.
Mr Kandinsky tells Joe about unicorns, a wonderful description combining magic and pragmatism:
'Every animal when it was made by the Almighty was given one extra-special present...But the unicorn got the most special present of all. He was given a magic horn...It could grant anybody's wish- straight off. And this horn consequently was worth 10,000 cash on sight'.
So when Joe sees a unicorn (a small deformed goat) going for five bob, he has to have it. Whether it manages to grant the wishes of Joe's friends (a victory in the wrestling ring for Shmule, a trouser press for Mr Kandinsky and the return of his father from Africa), you will have to see.
Although targeted at an adult audience by Bloomsbury Press, I have another edition which is certainly a children's book with illustrations; I would say it could be enjoyed by either group.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable story about childhood and imagination 17 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
A story that borders on the fantastical, depending on how far you wish to suspend disbelief. There is juxtaposition here, between the imagination of the central character and the hard life of those around him. It's a lovely story to read, the kind that whiles away a few hours and leaves you feelng a little thoughtful,perhaps a little hopeful.

It is told from the point of view of a child, but is still a book for adults. There are some lovely touches and the author saves it from over sentimentality without making it a depressing narrative.
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