As a little girl who lived, as Elsie herself did, in the village of Glynde under Mount Caburn, I was delighted by this old fashioned fairy story when I first encountered it in the 1960s at around the age of seven. It was a story in my favourite book, the original Puffin edition of, "Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field." I never managed to "skip as never so", but the story added to the enchantment of childhood and gave a deeper level of affection to the view of Mount Caburn from my home, and the pleasure of a walk home from school across the downs. I was again delighted to discover that this new book has been published, (and will be buying it for my goddaughter.) I hope that the illustrations do justice to the little flint village itself, a real place, still unspoilt, a couple of miles from Glyndebourne. For those who enjoy this book, particularly the "child who is Sussex born" I recommend that you seek out the two Martin Pippin books, - "in the Daisy Field" and "in the Apple Orchard." Martin Pippin tells stories to six little girls in the first, and their six mothers in the other, all relating to real places in Sussex. Another favourite was the one about the seven sisters and their adopted nephew, the dirty little chimney sweep who wanted to be the tallest man in the world like his white aunties. I am now the proud possessor of charming old hardback editions, since my old Puffin book fell to pieces long ago.
I'd never heard of this book, though I have heard of Farjeon. With a new version coming out, I was happy to expand my knowledge of children's writing. And this is just lovely.
A fairy tale, this is probably going to be picked up more by girls (skipping, fairies), but really, I think boys might enjoy this one too. Elsie is so keen to try skipping like the older children that she makes her own rope - and discovers she's a natural at it. Her brilliance catches the attention of the fairies, who test her skills and are so impressed that they teach her unearthly tricks. Back in the real world, Elei begins to grow up, and puts away her childhood toys... It is many years later when her little village's land is in danger from a greedy Lord that Elsie has a chance to shine.
This is a perfect little bedtime tale (over one or two nights), magical and wistful, with a heroine children will enjoy - a girl and an old woman who defies the rich folk. It isn't too challenging a read for young children to follow, though readers themselves will need to be capable enough (aged around 8).
The Voake illustrations complement it perfectly, a combination of nostalgic and simple used watercolour drawings. The cover (and title) will probably put off most male readers (flowers, a girl skipping), but I would love to see boys listening to this - it would be great for classroom reading in primary schools.
Though this seemed rather quaint to me, the skipping did take my back to my own childhood, and I did feel cheered by the triumphant ending and Elsie's legacy. My son is 5 and I think I'll be able to read this to him before long, and I'm fairly sure he'll enjoy it.
A lovely edition (mine is the little hardback) that will be a treasured gift.
With thanks to Walker Books for the sample copy, sent for review purposes.
This is my favourite story by Eleanor Farjeon (so far). It tells the story of a little girl who loves skipping and skips better than anyone else - but it tells so much more. In it there is the sense of magic and wonder, the fight of right against wrong, the weak but courageous triumphing over the powerful bullying, a picture of the English country life and history, the importance of rights of way and a conviction that "the good that men do lives after them". The story-telling has a rambling nature that reminds me of the endless yarns my loquatious daughter used to spin (minus the plot) when she was little. There is also a pleasure in the savouring of unusual words (like the "old skipping rhyme" in the story) that repeat and echo through the pages. Oh, and something in it that almost makes you want to cry! I immensely enjoyed reading this to children and children are enchanted by it. A very special book.
This book is about Elsie, a little girl who is a 'born skipper', who is so good at skipping that the local fairies ask her to join in their skipping practices at new moon on Mount Caburn (a real place just outside Lewes in Sussex). She learns all different sorts of skipping steps and is soon better at skipping then the fairies. As an old lady, Elsie ends up saving the day for the fairies and the local children who skip on Mount Caburn by agreeing with the wicked landowner that he will not build a factory there so long as someone can keep up a continuous skip on Mount Caburn. Mount Caburn is still factory free, so Elsie must still be skipping there..... My 5 year old daughter loves this book so much that I have to read it to her while she skips herself. It is beautifully illustrated and is certainly an heirloom book. We think it is the most charming and unusual childrens' book we have read in ages.
I read this story as a child, but for many years had not thought about it. I don't know what prompted me to recall it recently, but the thought of it sent me immediately to e.mail my Mum and ask if she still had the story anthology in which I had first read it. Sadly, said anthology has been lost in one of several house-moves, so I went instead to Amazon where I found this beautiful new edition. I settled down to read it immediately when the package arrived - and I'm pleased to say that I wasn't disappointed. This is a charming tale that appeals just as much to adults as to children. I would imagine it being particularly suitable for children (most likely girls I suspect) aged 8/9. Charlotte Voake's gorgeous and gently witty illustrations perfectly complement the text.
This is one of my favourite tales from 'Martin Pippin in the Daisy Field', which I had as a child. As an adult, it manages to encompass green issues, the common good, faeries and community all in one beautifully crafted original story. With lovely, poignant illustrations and gorgeous paper, this was bought for a child's birthday.
A magical beautiful story...it's delightfully written, and the old-fashioned vocabulary just adds to its charm. It's heart-warming, exciting and unexpected....one of my favourite childhood books....one to be read to every generation.