26/04/2001

Bagthorpes Besieged (by Helen Cresswell)

Every so often I take a break from reading books for adults - however light - and indulge in a children's book. I only discovered Helen Cresswell's stories, and particularly the Bagthorpe Saga, since my sons were at primary school. They're about slightly unlikely characters in a family, all competing with each other, observed - usually - by Jack, the most sensible and ordinary child in the family.

'Bagthorpes Besieged' is the ninth book in the series, and - unusually - the plot of the whole story takes only about 24 hours. Mrs Fosdyke, the Bagthorpes' cleaning lady, is 'discovered' as a media personality. Daisy tries locking various people up in her idea of prisons, and Uncle Parker dresses up in a dress to try and fool is wife who is having a phantom pregnancy with twins, and imagining angelic visitors.

There's more, of course... general mayhem and humour makes this an enjoyable book for children of about 8-11. A bit sameish (I don't read more than one of these at a time, usually) and predictable once the bizarre people and circumstances are accepted.

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