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This really is excellent and it ticks a lot of the boxes Trease draws in Tales Out of School

Bill and Susan move to Cumberland when their mother inherits a cottage. Their father is not dead, he's in Canada after the divorce. Also interesting is that while Bill is at the Grammar, Susan moves from a High School to a County Sec. While Trease praises the Grammar for its scholarship, he praises the County Sec. for the variety and challenges it offers. (It's not clear if there is a girls' grammar or a boy's sec).

With the cottage comes a boat, but the local landowner forbids them to use it on the lake. This, it turns out, and as Bill, Susan and their friends Tim and Penny discover, is because he's searching for an archeological treasure. They get their first and at the inquest get it declared treasure trove [the one real slip in this book though is that they and Miss Florey, the Headteacher of the County Sec, use a space to dig the site--I winced.]

Bits to note:
School is very integrated--it's where they spend their lives, but is part of their home life, not separate.
Penny's limp is from a fall. For some reason I thought it was polio.
Bill gets in trouble for being seen with Susan and Penny--my mother has the same story to tell of being told off even if it were her brother, because "No one else will know that."
Trease makes it clear that while the move is good for the kids, their mother is going to be very isolated, and he tries to address this.
A small town library and museum are described very well.
"Bill" as narrator tells us about people in complex ways, a very local man, with a strong accent, turns out to have travelled widely across the world. Sir Alfred (the villain) turns out to be mostly a snob, a man who was on the industrial side in India and is used both to being patronised, and patronising others.
There's a lot here about careers: Bill wants to be a school teacher and an author; Penny wanted to act but can't; Tim wants to be a police detective and is slowly learning skills he hopes to use one day. The emphasis is practical, ot fanciful.
Lots of walking and landscape of course.
The adults--particularly the two head teachers, one young and innovative, the other nearing retirement but clearly committed to his students--are real people with real passions and interests.


Mar. 2nd, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
I think that's the second one, Under Black Banner, where they're trying to get the farm back from the Army.


Prof Farah

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