Noel Streatfeild The Junior Bookshelf - Essay

The Junior Bookshelf

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Dr. Gareth goes to the East for a year leaving his wife and family behind. They are the traditional suburban family of "literature"; the odd thing is one never really meets a family like this. [In The Growing Summer] we are told it is unusual for the children to clear the table and wash up, and when they are left to their own devices in Ireland …, they put up a very poor show. What twelve year-old girl to-day is incapable of cooking anything beyond a boiled egg? The children are stereotyped, as is the "mad" great aunt with whom they are sent to stay. The story concerns this enforced visit and various adventures that befall them, but there is nothing new in the plot, we have had similar stories many times before. Today, at thirteen, many children are responsible young adults. Having lost their "nannies" they have had to learn to stand on their own feet at a much earlier age.

[It] is a book for the "lazy" reader, no demands are made on his imagination. Books for this age group should be interesting, lively and stimulating, none of these adjectives can be applied to the novel in question.

"For Children from Ten to Fourteen: 'The Growing Summer'," in The Junior Bookshelf, Vol. 31, No. 1, February, 1967, p. 61.