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L M Boston's thrilling and chilling tales of Green Knowe a haunted manor deep in an overgrown garden in the English countryside have been entertaining readers for half a centuryThere are three children Toby who rides the majestic horse Feste; his mischievous little sister Linnet; and their brother Alexander who plays the flute The children warmly welcome Tolly to Green Knowe even though they've been dead for centuriesBut that's how everything is at Green Knowe The ancient manor hides as many stories as it does dusty old roomsAnd the master of the house is great grandmother Oldknow whose storytelling mixes present and past with the oldest magic in the world

10 thoughts on “The Children of Green Knowe

  1. says:

    We reread our favourite book of all time in the lead up to Christmas and finished it today This book is a delight to read aloud the poetic descriptions conversations stories by the fire interspersed with excerpts of carols make it a magical story to read aloud yourself by your fire just as Tolly and Grandmother Oldknow do themselves by theirsTolly is near enough an orphan his mother is dead and his father who has married again is absent from his life After spending holidays at his boarding school his Grandmother who is actually a great grandmother asks him to stay with her for the Christmas holidays Having been worried about how old she was Tolly was surprised to find that they got on so well they were just like two human beings together their age didn't matter Longing for a family and siblings of his own Tolly is interested in the children who used to live there their portrait hangs on the wall and in the evenings Mrs Oldknow tells stories of this family that lived long ago and were relatives of theirs This part was very alluring to me as a child I could identify with Tolly alone at Christmas and this house with a loving Grandmother and 'others' was perfect escapism The house Green Noah is a castle that has stories of it's own a place where the present mingles with the past and the past reflects in the future Tolly's relationship with Toby Linnet and Alexander is subtly described the reader can view this as view spoiler Tolly slipping back in time or the children of the past carrying on their lives in their house despite the fact they are not alive or them coming to the future or Tolly imagining how good it would be to have them for siblings These parts are cleverly written and never made clear if it was a dream wishful thinking or Mrs Oldknow going along with what she herself used to play as a child hide spoiler

  2. says:

    Remember when you were young and wished the universe you created around the dull things surrounding you weren't completely ignored by your parents? That you could pretend that even your appartment is a place where things might actually happen as if in a castle When I was little I was told that there used to be a graveyard before they made the flats we live in I was convinced of it for a while because of a big white cross placed in the nearby and certainly because spooky is way better than boring when you're eight I loved to fool around and fool other children as well Even if I knew it wasn't real I could still play that the house came alive while others were asleep that I alone was confided in with such secret I've always loved the dark because of that Everythings seems different during the night The Children of Green Knowe is a story where you thoroughly forget its being just a story The narrator seems transparent you get to experience things first hand For me it was one of those books that reminded me how I felt when I was little and holidays came what I wished and prayed for and seemed to forget after I grew up but not entirely The greatest praise a fantasy book can receive is saying it feels very real that you can relate to the characters feel their world as your own Tolly meets at Green Knowe with children who lived there centuries ago directly and through his great grandma's stories Not to mention the beauty of the descriptions The house the surroundings the stories the characters are so alive and the appeal to the reader's imagination so natural I can only regret missing the Green Knowe Chronicles for so long

  3. says:

    This is that rarest of all things a perfect book It is a beautifully told story about a little boy who's sent to live with his grandmother in a very rural England He moves into a vast old house complete with whimsical topiary an empty stable a river and ghosts It's obvious that that's what Tolly's strange new playmates are at least to us but they seem as alive as anyone else in the story which moves seamlessly from present to past to present again using the medium of the grandmother's stories coupled with Tolly's curiousity and the childrens' memoriesGreen Knowe once known as Green Noah but renamed because of a dreadful association is a house where things come unexpectedly to life and where the past lies side by side with the present Unfortunately not all the past was happy and at least one of the things that is waiting its chance to come to life is very dangerous indeedIt's a story from an earlier time full of wonderful childish joys but also genuine fright Just like childhood itself when we're ready to believe in the tooth fairy but far ready to believe in the bogey manThere are six books in the series in which the unifying feature is always the house but this first book is the stand alone best

  4. says:

    45 starsA terribly dated and terribly charming story of a small boy's stay with his grandma in a haunted house and his adventures there I remember reading this as a child and this time I listened on audio It's uite warm here at the moment and the narrator had a very plummy British accent with received pronounciation which was actually uite embarrassing when I had to slow the car near pedestrians and they could hear it through my open windowGenerations of the same family and gamekeepers had lived at the Green Knowe property and the stories shared were rather lovely

  5. says:

    Listened to the audiobook while winding woolyarn Reminiscent of childhood magical thinking I loved the descriptive language the stories and the birds and animals While I listened I thought back to visits to my grandma's house which I experienced as a haven of comfort and unconditional love When he arrives at Green Knowe Tozeland's great granny greets him warmly and gives him the name of Tolly She is loving and engaging and puts him at ease I love the relationship that develops between them and how they feel so comfortable together Overall it was a delightful listening experience

  6. says:

    This is a beautifully written British children's classic especially appropriate for Christmas time The author must be highly sensitive an empath or both because the magic of nature was celebrated so perfectly in this There are so many unnamed bird characters for example The chaffinch may be my favorite of all including the humansIf you're looking for a gentle read that turns the natural world into a magical place or rather reminds us that the natural world IS magical and we just need to focus on it then this is your book And if you enjoy audiobooks Simon Vance narrates this and apparently the rest of the series as well He is one of the very best Six stars to the audio performance I want to thank my GR friend Hilary for recommending this book to me I'm so glad I waited until December to read it It is exactly what I was looking for and a brilliant escape read I will at least try the next book in the series I just love the magical world created by the author

  7. says:

    One night when I was a teenager I heard my mother go into my younger sister's room because she was crying Turns out the book she was reading scared her which of course piued my interest It was The Children of Green Knowe and it didn't scare me and I loved it I always meant to read the rest of the series but never did Now they've been reissued with Brett Heluist covers I must get the whole series and read them all

  8. says:

    In the beginning of Lucy M Boston's wonderful children's book The Children of Green Knowe 1954 seven year old Toseland pet name Tolly travels by train through the flooded British countryside to spend his Christmas holidays with his great grandmother Mrs Oldknow in her old castle like house Green Noah true name Green Knowe Tolly is a lonely and imaginative boy Mrs Oldknow a solitary and imaginative old lady and they hit it off immediately encouraging each other's fancies and treating each other with mutual respect and affection Green Knowe is a fascinating house with a long history going back to the crusades and although Tolly has never been there before he feels that he has come home and Mrs Oldknow greets him Ah so you've come back The manor is filled with objects redolent of history and love and magic a doll's house that duplicates the entire manor house; a rocking horse with real horse's hair; a life like wooden Japanese mouse that may come alive when Tolly is asleep; mirrors that double the treasures of the house and make them vivid and mysterious; and a painting of two boys and a girl and their mother and grandmother Tolly's ancestors from the seventeenth century The children in the painting seem to watch Tolly their eyes tracking him as he moves across the room When desperate for friends and siblings Tolly closes his eyes to go to sleep he begins hearing the children riding the rocking horse pattering bare foot on the wooden floor turning the pages of a book and whispering and laughing in corners but everywhere he looks they have just vanished Despite Mrs Oldknow's advice to be patient Tolly feels flashes of exuisite frustration Will he ever see the children? Do they even exist? Are they only figments of his and Mrs Oldknow's imaginations elements of their game of wish fulfillment? Tolly's dreams and daydreams bring the children tantalizingly closer And the stories he hears about them from his great grandmother and the he explores the house and its secrets the closer he comes to perhaps seeing them while awake The novel depicts the magical influence of the past on the present when the meeting of a potent place and a sensitive person is intensified by art knowledge desire imagination and love such that objects and figures from the past persist beyond their eras and enter and change the lives of people in the present This can be very moving as when Mrs Oldknow calls Tolly Toby the pet name of both her own son who died during WWI and of the eldest boy in the painting who died over 300 years ago because the three boys fuse in her heart and mind and hence in the real world Tolly accepts being called Toby without any indignation After all he has come homeBoston has an artist's eye for detail and a magician's manner with words and mood as in the following momentsTolly's seeing Mrs Oldknow for the first time “She had short silver curls and her face had so many wrinkles it looked as if someone had been trying to draw her for a very long time and every line put in had made the face like her She was wearing a soft dress of folded velvet that was as black as a hole in darkness” Tolly nearly seeing the children Perhaps it was only the wind but there seemed to be some movement A great deal was going on out of sight Tolly sneezing in the dust of centuries Snow falling The snow was piling up on the branches on the walls on the ground on St Christopher's face and shoulders without any sound at all softer than the thin spray of fountains or falling leaves or butterflies against a window or wood ash dropping or hair when the barber cuts it Yet when a flake landed on his cheek it was heavy He felt the splosh but could not hear it Mrs Oldknow and Tolly playing and singing a cradlesong while four hundred years ago a baby went to sleepThrough the main story of Tolly coming home and trying to get to know the children of Green Knowe Boston weaves a plot featuring a curse and an inimical old yew tree cut into the shape of Noah Her use of a gypsy witch and her horse thief son as convenient villains in the past is the only problem I have with the novel But that political incorrectness was not unusual for the 1950s when Boston wrote The Children of Green Knowe And for the most part the novel is delightful magical humorous scary joyful sad and beautiful

  9. says:

    I love these books and The Children of Green Knowe first in the series is one of my favorites1 The Green Knowe series as a whole is the story of a house that has stood for so long and been loved so well that time is flexible People who lived in and loved the house can meet even after centuriesThe Children of Greene Knowe opens as Tolly makes his first trip to stay there with his great grandmother whom he has never met He is in initially nervous but soon comes to love the place and meets three children who lived there long agoI really enjoy the characters here Tolly and his grandmother make a wonderful pair They understand one another well without the age difference being downplayed Tolly is a young boy and Grandmother Oldknow is adult but they are able to share their love of the house while she teaches him of its history and shares his joy as he finds stashes of the other children's belongings even if she does have to caution him to Stop putting swords through the bedclothes at one pointI also appreciated the unpredictable sometimes frustrating nature of the house's magic Tolly gradually learns to accept the fact that he never knows uite when the other children will be visible to him but it is frustrating at first He wants his friends to be present all the time I want to be with them Why can't I be with them? he cries at one point It is wonderful but sometimes frustratingThe Children of Green Knowe is overall a uiet book a book of discovery Though the remnants of an old curse present a threat it's only briefly Stronger than the sense of danger is the sense of joy Joy of place and joy in nature Tolly makes friends not only with the children but with the birds and small animals in the winter gardenBest of all the writing is beautiful Take the first description of Grandmother Oldknow whose face had so many wrinkles it looked as if someone had been trying to draw her for a very long time and every line put in had made the face like her Or read any of the descriptions of the nature around Green KnoweHighly recommended551 I cannot decide between The Children of Green Knowe and The River at Green Knowe Sometimes I love one the best sometimes the otherReview originally written for

  10. says:

    What a warm and wonderful book this is I wish I had read it when I was a child but am so glad I have gotten to read it now as an adult This book is utterly charming Tolly is a young boy whose mom is dead and his father and stepmother live in Burma He has been at boarding school where they have been very kind to him but he really longs to belong somewhere with his own family Then suddenly he does His great grandmother OldKnow sends for him to come to live with her at the family home Green Knowe He takes the train there and is a little excited and a little nervous Upon his arrival in a torrential rain he finds the entire area is flooded but the cab driver tells him to wait and stay dry while he puts his baggage in the car and then they are met near the house by the groundskeeper in a boat He is warmly welcomed by his great grandmother who immediately tells him this is his home and shows him portraits of his ancestorsI have to admit that my heart was touched by the kindness shown to this child at his boarding school by the cab driver by the groundskeeper and by his great grandmother I have seen way too many books where a sweet innocent child is talked to like dirt and treated very unkindly and it is so refreshing to see a book where this is not the case The book is so warm friendly and comforting that way Children who read this can gain a sense of security The descriptions are playful fun and friendly and make you feel as if you are there yourself I liked all of the characters as well as felt that they were made into real characters and not stick peopleTolly explores the house and grounds and discovers much to his delight that three children who were his ancestors visit there daily along with a special horse These children and their mother had died during the Great Plague many years earlier but they tease him and he hears their laughter and their play and it adds to his fun He gets out a lot to play as children used to do before they became couch potatoes stuck in front of computer screens and game consoles One day he finally gets to see the children The great grandmother doesn't think he is crazy as she sees them too I like how Tolly gets involved with animals he saves one of the children's carp fish that gets stranded after the floods recede; puts sugar cubes out for the ghost horse who eats them; and puts food in an open cage in his room that one of the children Linnet used to keep open for the wild birds to come in and eat in The great grandmother herself has wild birds eat from her hands and Tolly's tooI know I will be dipping into this magical book often to reread favorite scenes I recommend it for children and for adults who are still alive enough to have a childlike spirit of fun and wonder inside their hearts