The Junior Bookshelf

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 224

[The Children of the House] is a most interesting and unusual experiment in authorship. It is collaboration of a sort but not joint authorship in the normally accepted sense. The foreword informs us that Brian Fairfax-Lucy wrote a story for adults and that what we now have is a re-writing of this story by Philippa Pearce for juniors—a case of ghost-writing in which it is not a matter of "as told to" but "from a story by". From Miss Pearce's pen we expect a book to be readable and she has not failed us. She has succeeded in a most interesting way in her presentation of the events in Mr. Fairfax-Lucy's story of another age….

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In an age when servants were kept in their place, the wish of the children to be friendly with them is nicely told. The drawback to the story is the lack of a sense of the passage of time. It is difficult to get a feeling of the ages of the children from one chapter to another, and too abruptly they pass from childhood to a kind of semi-adulthood—at one moment a boyish escapade and the next a commissioned officer. Apart from this, it has a great deal to commend it.

"The New Books: 'The Children of the House'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 32, No. 4, August, 1968, p. 237.

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