Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Family from One End Street

This is a children's classic. Favourite apparently of my mum when she was a girl. The response of the children in book club to the book was mixed, though the parents all liked it. My own youngster wouldn't stick with it. He found the format a challenge. The book isn't structured as a novel is. Each chapter is a short story about one of the children from the Ruggles family. This works very well for bed time reading, but my youngest was looking for a longer, more involved narrative, apparently. I'm pleased to say other children loved it.

It's interesting to note that the book was shunned by several publishers before it finally made it to press in 1937. It was considered 'innovative' and 'groundbreaking' for its portrayal of a working class family.

It would have been interesting to talk with the group about differences between children growing up then compared to now. But since it was the last book club of the term, we had a 1930's style children's party instead. Call it living history!

So, we played party games with strange names like 'puss in the corner', ate food supplied by the families, including rock cakes and ginger beer, and I played a gramophone recording of 'The Lion and Albert', and some dance music of the era, on my actual gramophone. All in all it was rather jolly. The noise and mayhem looked very much like a party scene from a 'Just William' book. 

I realised as I stood back from the merriment, that this bookclub is now almost all boys aged around 9....comparisons with Just William seem very fitting.

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