Page 74 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 74

 Five year-old Babs Conway and her brother are sent to live in Kensington with an uncle (their parents are in ‘Inja’). Abandoned in an artificial urban world, Babs finds it hard to conform and, especially, to learn how to dissemble (as opposed to playing ‘let’s pretend’).
The Young Pretenders
‘As anyone who has tried to bring up children knows,’ writes Charlotte Mitchell, ‘you spend a good deal of time teaching them to be insincere, to simulate gratitude or contrition, and not to repeat other people’s comments at the wrong moments. Many of the jokes depend on the fact that Babs has yet to learn these lessons.’
‘“What was we naughty about?”’ Babs asks her brother after their uncle scolds them: they could not know that the reason he snubbed them was because he was in financial difficulties. Babs is intelligent, fun, kind, lively and honest and it is hard to think of a heroine in children’s fiction (that is, fiction written for children but enjoyed equally as much by adults) who is as sparky as her.
‘Apple’ designed by Lindsay P Butterfield for GP & J Baker c. 1895
 Illustration by Philip-Burne Jones for The Young Pretenders
 NO 73
248pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781903155639

   72   73   74   75   76