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The River at Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston

The River at Green Knowe (1959)

by Lucy M. Boston

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Green Knowe (3)

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452423,073 (3.89)1 / 14



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This is completely different to the first two books. There's no sign of Tolly, or Mrs Oldknowe, or any of their ancestors, and even Green Knowe itself is barely featured. Instead we have two maiden ladies renting the house and inviting three children, two of them Displaced Orphans, to stay for the summer. Their adventures on the river are tinged with Swallows-and-Amazons-ishness, and the magic encountered is completely different to, and far less charming than, the timeslippage of the earlier books. I'm not entirely sure I really liked it. But, then again, it's possible that I have still not outgrown my early crush on Toby … Also, Lucy Boston seems to have hated cats, so clearly she and I would never agree. ( )
  phoebesmum | Jan 7, 2012 |
The River at Green Knowe has a different feel from the first two books for two reasons. First, it has completely new characters. Second, it deals with fantastical elements along the river, not at Green Knowe itself. Dr. Biggin and her friend Miss Bun have rented Green Knowe for the summer, inviting her niece Ida and two “displaced” orphan children, Oskar and Ping, to join her. The children spend the summer finding adventure on the river, from flying horses to giants. It’s a fun story of childhood and shows the dichotomy between realistic (and boring) adults and children who are willing to see the unusual.

Thoughts on the entire series on my blog
1 vote rebeccareid | Jun 8, 2009 |
The Premise: Three children come to spend the holidays at Green Knowe, an ancient house on an island in the middle of the river. Two of the children, Oskar & Ping, are displaced children and the third, Ida, is the niece of the woman who is renting the house while working on a book about giants. The children, all around 11 years old, spend most of their time out on the river discovering other islands.

My Take on the Book: This wasn't the book I thought it was. I remember loving a book about Green Knowe when I was growing up and I think it might be The Children of Green Knowe. I found this one difficult to get into and cannot imagine liking it as a child. The children find some fantastical things on their island searches (on one, there are flying horses), but the author doesn't spend any time on any particular spot and therefore loses opportunities to enhance to book. I need to find The Children of Green Knowe and reread that because this was a disappointment. ( )
  marybeth494 | Jan 11, 2009 |
The River at Green Knowe is about three children who come to spend the summer with Dr. Biggin and her friend Sybilla Bun. Ida, Ping, and Oskar come from different backgrounds but have much in common. As children, they still are able to share the wonder of little things and see the magic all around them. They soon discover the magic of Green Knowe and the siren-call of the River that passes near it.

The book doesn't really have a plot; it is more a string of episodic chapters about things the children experience as they explore the River. This was my first Green Knowe book (there are five, I believe) and I'm excited to find the others. The writing is really beautiful and Boston slides between the "real" and the magical so easily, it's hard to see where the join comes in. It reminded me a bit of Narnia, actually. Really good stuff.

I think the Green Knowe books would have had a stronger effect on me had I read them as a young reader; there is that brief window where the books we read as children transcend themselves and move from being books we like to being books that have a life of their own to us. I try to recapture that love I have for certain books from my childhood, by reading other excellent children's books, but it's like the amazing capacity children have for learning language — after a certain age it's just gone.

And maybe that is the point of this story. Boston mentions several times how the children wisely know the limits of the adults around them. It is as if the children have eyes that the adults have closed. And everything that is fantastical and mystic in this book is treated by the children as a matter of course, a part of everyday life. I couldn't quite get into the boat and sail down the River with them... but I got to watch them from the shore, and that is all an adult can hope for. I recommend the view. ( )
2 vote wisewoman | Sep 27, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lucy M. Bostonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boston, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"When do the children come?" asked Dr. Maud Biggin, without looking up, as she licked her thumb and flicked over the pages of one of the many books open before her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015202607X, Paperback)

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 century. Now the children of Green Knowe--both alive and ghostly--are back in appealing new editions.
The spooky original illustrations have been retained, but dramatic new cover art by Brett Helquist (illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events) gives the books a fresh, timeless appeal for today's readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An English girl, a Polish refugee, and a displaced boy from the Orient explore an island-strewn river flowing past the ancient manor house of Green Knowe.

» see all 3 descriptions

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