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I can't quite believe that I managed to reach the age of nearly 44 without having read this brilliant children's fantasy, though I had fond if vague memories of Dorothea Brooking's 1974 BBC adaptation. Tom, sent to stay with his aunt and uncle after his brother develops measles, discovers that when the clock in the hall strikes thirteen in the middle of the night he is able to visit the garden as it was in the past, and makes friends with Hattie who lives in that past time, though they argue about which of them is a ghost. For the adult reader the story is actually Hattie's, Tom being the not completely reliable viewpoint character, and the ending, which I remembered as cutely satisfying when I watched it on TV aged seven, carries a stupendous emotional punch now that I am old enough to really appreciate it. A fantastic book; read it with your children, or borrow someone else's to read it with.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
mizkit
Apr. 2nd, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, I *love* that book. I'm so glad you like it too!
marnanel
Apr. 2nd, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
I have! It's wonderful.
ooxc
Apr. 2nd, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
I didn't know until recently that it had been televised - no TV at the time - but I love that book. The book of hers that I've never read is A Dog So Small. Do you know it, and is it as good as Tom?
From what you say here, I'm so glad that I didn't see the TV production - except that I was over 40 in 1974, and had already long read the book, so perhaps I wouldn't have had the same perception of the ending as you did at 7
steepholm
Apr. 2nd, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
It's good, but nothing like as good as Tom.

My favourite Philippa Pearce after TMG is Emily's Own Elephant, which features wonderfully elastic parents much like those in The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
nwhyte
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:43 am (UTC)
It's years since I read A Dog So Small, and my memory is that I was not yet grown up but older than the target market when I read it; and I found it a bit manipulative. The Battle of Bubble and Squeak worked better for me at that age.
ooxc
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:50 am (UTC)
I suppose that I was about ten years old when a child of the same age made Dog sound unutterably boring - I was , I thought, adult, when Tom was published, but T see that it was published in 1958. Perhaps I didn't find it until the 1970s. I certainly own a paperback copy now
felinitykat
Apr. 2nd, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Ohh, one of my very favourite childhood books. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I should really re-read it sometime soon.
deborah_c
Apr. 2nd, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
I was quite sad this week to see that the house that inspired the book has now been demolished and replaced with flats :-(
nwhyte
Apr. 3rd, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
I dug a bit into this, because of course 13 Chesterton Road was a building I went past very often in my two years living at #49. I'm a bit dubious about the link; the house in the book is definitely outside Cambridge ("Castleford") and I don't get the sense that it's on a corner - it 'feels' more like a house in the middle of a block. The model for the Victorian house is pretty definitely the Mill House at Great Shelford, but it seems to have escaped the fate of being divided into flats.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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