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Mistress Masham's Repose (New York Review Children's Collection) [Hardcover]

T H White
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Jun 2004 New York Review Children's Collection
"She saw: first, a square opening, about eight inches wide, in the lowest step...finally she saw that there was a walnut shell, or half one, outside the nearest door...she went to look at the shell—but looked with the greatest astonishment. There was a baby in it."

So ten-year-old Maria, orphaned mistress of Malplaquet, discovers the secret of her deteriorating estate: on a deserted island at its far corner, in the temple long ago nicknamed Mistress Masham's Repose, live an entire community of people—"The People," as they call themselves—all only inches tall. With the help of her only friend—the absurdly erudite Professor—Maria soon learns that this settlement is no less than the kingdom of Lilliput (first seen in Gulliver's Travels) in exile. Safely hidden for centuries, the Lilliputians are at first endangered by Maria's well-meaning but clumsy attempts to make their lives easier, but their situation grows truly ominous when they are discovered by Maria's greedy guardians, who look at The People and see only a bundle of money.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 253 pages
  • Publisher: New York Review of Books (30 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171035
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,227,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"My favourite children's book ever" (Anne Fine Daily Mail)

"Touching, very funny and utterly believable. It is full of amazing characters" (Jill Murphy Daily Telegraph)

"Has always been a favourite of mine. This book is one for the hall of fame" (Sir Terry Pratchett)

"Wonderful" (Independent)

"Endlessly charming" (Victoria Lane Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A ten-year-old girl finds Lilliputians living in her garden in T. H. White's classic of children's literature --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful characters, wonderful story 5 Feb 2003
Maria is a ten-year-old orphan girl, growing up in her crumbling ancestral home, under the authority of a cold guardian and a tyrannical governess. But when Maria paddles over to a small island in the center of a lake on the grounds, she makes a marvelous discovery: the island is peopled by Lilliputians. Yes, the sea captain who rescued Gulliver so long ago, returned, and trapped a group of the unfortunate Lilliputians for a sideshow act. But, they had escaped, and built themselves a new home on the island called Mistress Masham's Repose. Unfortunately, human nature has changed very little over the last three hundred years, and the Lilliputian's safety exists only in their being unknown to the humans living around them. Can Maria safeguard the little people from her greedy guardian and governess?
I caught the title of this charming book quite by accident, but am delighted to have it! Author T.H. White (who also wrote The Sword in the Stone and The Once and Future King) did an excellent job of building a magical world set into our own, peopled with characters that are fascinating, scary, charming, humorous, and so much more! The storyline kept me on the edge of my seat, as I watched Maria and the Lilliputians adventure through the book.
This is an excellent book for young readers, and for adults as well. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mistress masham's repose 8 Dec 2000
By A Customer
I read this book as a child and remembered it fondly. I have just re-read it with my own children aged 8 and 6 and enjoyed it just as much. More to the point they loved it too: "it's funny and a bit scary and exciting too".(Would suggest a reading age of 9+ to read it by themselves.) The basic story line is very simple as in all classic stories: Maria lives in the ruined palace of Malplaquet with her wicked governess who is in cahoots with the evil vicar. She discovers a community of Lilliputians on an island in the grounds (Mistress Masham's Repose) and with the advice of a friendly but eccentric professor befriends them. Vicar and governess find out and want to exploit the lilliputions for financial gain. Maria with the aid of the professor cook and captain the dog out with the evil doers. However the book works on many levels: Maria learning not to bully because she is bigger than the lilliputians; that you cannot treat others as toys; that dogs can think of humans as pets and that children can get the upper hand over grown-ups (a touch of Roald Dahl). All in all a satisfying read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I kept thinking what a superb film it would make 30 Jan 2010
By Four Violets VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was familiar with T H White's The Once and Future King but until a friend put me onto Mistress Masham's Repose through a chance remark recently, I had never heard of it. It would take an unusual child to plough through it, which is a shame, as it's an enchanting story, of a little girl Maria, living in a vast decaying mansion with her cruel governess, who is in cahoots with the vicar to do her out of her rightful inheritance - at all costs. Maria discovers descendents of the Lilliputians living on an island in the grounds, befriends them, and then enlists the help of an absent minded professor to save them, and herself, from betrayal. The professor is very similar to T H White himself, Maria is a brave and resourceful girl, and the entire book is full of wry humour, with a tendency by the author to address the reader as "my dear Amaryllis" and asides such as: "if you are not a biologist nobody cares a fig for you." There is plenty of Latin and the eighteenth century speech of the Lilliputians, which could perhaps be left out if one were reading this glorious and at times hilarious book to a child.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, satisfying modern fable. 20 Oct 2000
By A Customer
What if Gulliver had brought some Lilliputians back to England? Maria is an unhappy girl, alone in a crumbling mansion that is the only thing her parents left her, with only a greedy cook to help her. Her only friend is a (very) absent-minded Professor, as poor as she is. But on Mistress Masham's Repose, an island in the weed-clogged lake, is a colony of Lilliputians descended from a handful that Gulliver smuggled back. When Maria discovers them, will she take over their lives? Will the wicked cook find them and sell them as curiosities? The book is wonderful, totally unsentimental about the "little people" but full of fascinating details about their lives- they are completely believable. Maria is so brave and determined you like her at once, yet she isn't a "perfect heroine"- she nearly becomes a tyrant by mistake. The ending is totally satisfying. T. H. White was a very good writer, and he makes you think without intruding on the story. One of my favourite books.
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