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The Demon Headmaster by Gillian Cross
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Note - there is an error here. The book from which have read off ISBN 0141303697 is in fact "Goodnight Mr Tom, in an NFR promotional edition
  biodiplomacy | Jun 7, 2017 |
I have loved this book since primary school, and still love it rereading it in my thirties. Mostly for really self indulgent reasons - a girl hero who is a genius at maths! A story of how a family adapts to having a foster kid turn up! A school where the headmaster can control you with hypnosis and punish you terribly if you misbehave! The bravery of doing the right thing even when you know you and those you love will be hurt for it! I also think it's really nicely crafted - tightly plotted, and really page turning. Obviously a book I adore because I read it at just the right time, but I did, and I do. ( )
  atreic | Feb 4, 2016 |
This used to give me chills as a kid, esp the audiobook :D ( )
  JazMinderr | Jul 31, 2014 |
Lloyd and Harry Harvey worry that their new foster-sister Dinah will become one of "them" - the oddly well-behaved children at their school. Children who act in a strangely robotic fashion, and who when asked, will invariably respond "He (the headmaster) is a marvellous man and this is the best school I've ever been to"(31). Their concern seems warranted at first, as Dinah appears to fall into step with the majority. But no one, not Lloyd and Harvey, not their small group of misfit friends, and certainly not the headmaster, counted on Dinah's stubborn streak, and it soon emerges that the headmaster is using hypnotism to control the students and teachers. But to what end?

This is an interesting exploration, in school-story format, of the conflict between order and freedom. The headmaster's motto: "The man who can keep order can rule the world," is as succinct an expression of this polar antagonism as the novel achieves. Despite its philosophical underpinnings however, I found that I didn't really enjoy The Demon Headmaster as a story. The characters felt a little flat, and I couldn't work up any sense of excitement or suspense. This may be one of those titles that doesn't translate well for adults. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jun 27, 2013 |

I enjoyed this children's story of sinister headmaster with supernatural powers planning to Take Over The World, a blended family, commentary on children's TV game shows, and knowing winks to Nineteen Eighty-four. ( )
1 vote nwhyte | Nov 12, 2011 |
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Please do not combine New World with The Demon Headmaster. They are different books.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192753746, Paperback)

Dinah moves in with the Hunter family and starts going to the same school as her foster-brothers Lloyd and Harvey. It's not easy, as they seem to hate her, and school is really strange. Pupils suddenly talk like robots and do weird things - even Dinah finds herself acting oddly. She's sure the headmaster has some kind of power over them, and is determined to find out more. But the Demon Headmaster is equally determined to stop her. Gillian Cross has won the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children's Novel Award, and the Smarties Prize, and is a highly-acclaimed author. Sales of her books exceed one million copies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:17 -0400)

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A demented headmaster, who controls his school by hypnotism, is foiled by an intelligent young girl when he attempts to extend his control further.

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