As regular readers will know I am interested in publishers who are taking the time to reprint "forgotten" books, and I also love old fashioned children's stories. So I was very excited when in Foyles a fortnight ago with Paperback Reader to find a section in the children's department which is devoted to re-published children's books. There were a couple of publishers featured, but the ones that caught my eye were Fidra books, who I'd seen on Amazon, but not in the flesh, and I came away with two books. Fidra specialise in "rescuing neglected children’s fiction and making it available to a new generation of readers...[Their] books range from 1940s adventure stories to iconic 1960s fantasy novels, and from pony books by Carnegie medal winning authors to rare boarding school stories from the 1990s."
The two books that I came away with were both by Mabel Esther Allen, an author I'd encountered before, but didn't realise how prolific she was until I saw the list of titles at the front of the volumes.
I bought Chiltern Adventure, and The School on Cloud Ridge, and read them in that order, which proved to be the right way around as some of the characters from the former appeared in the latter. The first was an enjoyable story about some children who spend the summer alone at a cottage in the Chilterns, and essentially about what they get up to. The second I found more interesting as it was about the foundation of a progressive school, with a school council and where methods are not along traditional lines, and how everyone adapts to the school (we have the usual characters - the homesick girl, the girl more interested in fashion and boys). I really enjoyed the chance to read these stories which I might not have otherwise been able to get hold of, and they were a nice light element to my holiday reading.
I see that Fidra have published one more MAE book, The school on North Barrule, and I am likely to treat myself to that for my next holiday.
Mavis Gallant’s “Madeline’s Bithday” (1951)
6 hours ago