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on 12 March 2003
I first read this book thirty-odd years ago and have just reread it to my son. It still has the same magical evocation of a childhood world and has lost nothing over time. It tells the story of a very lonely little boy called Tolly, who goes to spend the Christmas holidays with his great grandmother at Penny Soakey in a house called Green Noah, that has belonged to the Oldknowe family for many generations. Gradually he comes to learn more about the children that lived there in times past, and to form some very special friendships. Lucy Boston's delicate yet vivid descriptions are filled with the kind of detail that paints pictures in your mind. This is the perfect book to inspire a child struggling with descriptive writing themselves, or just as an antedote to 21st century life.
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on 14 July 2001
all the elements of the magic of childhood- ghosts, mysteries, Christmas,joy and fear; perfectly crafted story of a boy finding ghostly companions from long ago,with evocative and thrilling details on every page; no children's writer has ever bettered the pace and narrative of lucy boston in this flawless, timeless story of childhood
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on 11 April 2001
This book is one of a series written by Lucy Boston; conjuring a truly magical world just this side of reality. My mother read this book aloud to me as a child, I have enjoyed re-reading it as an adult and my 10 year old daughter is hooked now too. The story introduces us to a wonderful house and the people connected with the end they feel like friends we long to spend more time with. Lucy Boston brilliantly connects with the dreams of children (of all ages).
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on 25 October 2007
I was first introduced to The Children of Green Knowe through the BBC's TV adaptation which, like the Box Of Delights, was a brilliantly memorable piece of children's television for the festive season (they really don't make them like that anymore). My best friend had all of the books and after I watched it on TV I immediately sat down and read them all. I feel so fortunate to have discovered them. As children's classics go the whole series is up there with the Chronicles of Narnia, although the Green Knowe books are arguably better written - yes, I know CS Lewis was an Oxford don, but Lucy M Boston writes such beautiful, vivid, flowing prose. I'm just re-reading the Children of Green Knowe again now and it's still as beautifully written, as captivating and as poignant as I remember it. I still have the rest of the series (I collected a set of my own after I read my friend's copies) and after I've enjoyed The Children of Green Knowe I'm going to read them all. What a treat! The Children of Green Knowe is a perfect Christmas read, whatever your age, and if you're looking for a book to read aloud this one is perfect. I'm glad my 1988 Puffin editions have the Peter Boston illustrations though, they're much more evocative and magical than the new illustrations.
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on 27 April 2005
I first came across The Children of Green Knowe when, as a child, the BBC broadcast a dramatisation which my parents taped. I watched it over and over again until I quite literally wore out the video. Unfortunately, the BBC wiped the original and all copies and so this gem has been lost. However, at the age of eighteen, I've finally aquired a copy of the book and I love it more than any other I've read. I won't spoil the story for those who've yet to read it, but I urge anyone with a love of magic and mystery to buy this book now. Lord of the Rings was voted BBC big read last year, I reckon this should have won it instead...
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on 29 September 2005
Time-travelling happens fairly regularly to you if you're a character in a children's book - but seldom with the same dreamy and original result as in this book by Lucy Boston.
The first scene is a familiar one: a lonely child (in this case a boy called Tolly) arrives by train to some isolated country station, to stay with relatives in a crumbling, English mansion.
What follows is more original, as stories of an almost mythical, 18th century past mingle with with Tolly's 50s (?) present... He catches glimpses of three mysterious children in the old rooms of the house, and soon enough we understand they come from another time.
Tender melancholia and great fun go together in this book. It's a comforting read for children - or at least it was to me as a child - and definitely something I will want to read to my own kids in the future. In the meantime, I'm buying a copy for myself to read on cold winter nights!
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I came to this book in a back to front way. Most people read the book then visit the Manor at Hemingford Grey, where the story is set. I first read Lucy Boston's autobiography then visited the house, and finally read the children's story. The Norman manor is absolutely wonderful and a child on the tour I was on was wide eyed with joy at being shown everything exactly as it was in the book. I could understand how she felt when I too held Toby's Japanese mouse, saw the rocking horse, wicker bird cage and painted toy box.

Toseland arrives by river at night to stay with his grandmother. He meets children who lived in the house a very long time ago. The entire book is full of wonderful magic and so is the house still today. Everything is exactly the same and I can't imagine how they manage it. It's not a museum, the day we visited, Lucy's daughter in law had cooked dinner for countless family members and she was concerned about the grandchildren going too near the bees.

I heard several mothers on the tour agree that this was their favourite children's book as they had enjoyed reading it as much as their children enjoyed hearing it. I think it would probably be suitable for any child from age 8 upwards, and any adult who loves magical old fashioned tales of animals and birds, gypsies and horses, and a lonely little boy who finds friendship and love in the magical old manor.

And after reading the book, its possible to step into its pages by visiting the Manor. The music room where Lucy Boston gave recitals to the RAF in the second world war, is entirely intact, down to the mattresses around the wall where they sat, and the 1930's gramophone, which still plays - we heard it. The wonderful gardens and Lucy's patchworks can also be admired.
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on 14 January 2008
It is a sheer delight to read such a beautifully written and imaginative story in today's world of formulaic writing for children. "The Children of Green Knowe" defies categorisation but somehow captured the imagination of 40-something Mum and 7 year old son alike.

The language and some of the concepts involved in the book seem, superficially, to be beyond the scope of younger readers but somehow, when read aloud, the gist of the meaning on a number of levels can be picked up by children. The descriptive passages are beautifully evocative: you can see the greenness of the garden, feel the sharpness of the yew and hear the crisp footprints on new-fallen snow. I read the book to my son at Christmas-time which added to the atmosphere.

Perhaps what I loved most was the room for mystery and wonder, and for questions that don't all get answered. Are the children ghosts or spirits? Is the house itself alive in some way?

Finally, the woodcuts by Peter Boston are enchanting and further add to the other-wordly feel of the book.
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on 14 October 2003
I read a fair amount of books as a child and this is the one that stands out to this day. A beautifully written story that encapsulates the wonder and magic that should go with childhood. I don't think calling it a 'ghost story' does this book any justice at all - there is nothing sinister or haunting about it. Instead it is a gentle and moving account that cleverly blends a young boy's innocence with a living history.
Absolutely first rate. Don't let your children miss out...
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on 11 September 2000
I was so relieved to find this - I thought they'd gone out of print and these are truly the most magical wonderful books - buy the whole set for any children you know.
If you loved Narnia you will love these.
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