Author: Leon Garfield
The New York Review Children's Collection is such a wonderful and special grouping. They are reinstating classic books from the past that a whole new generation now can enjoy. I have loved every one of the books that I have reviewed from them. Most of the books I did not have the pleasure of reading, so it is a treat for me to be able to discover these hidden treasures (and at my age who would have thought?) and in turn pass them along to you.
"The Complete Bostock and Harris" book is a combination of two stories in one book. The setting is in eighteenth century England and the main characters are two boys, one with brawn and one with brains. Harris is the brainy one, a doctor's son, who cooks up adventure and gets it rolling. His rather dull friend, Bostock, idolizes his friend's genius and helps carry out the schemes that Harris conocts. They are steady best friends and compliment each other in a very strange way.
The first story, "The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris," has the two boys put their classical education to the test when they decide to test the Spartan theory that if an infant is left in the wild, a wolf will appear, adopt her and be instrumental in her survival. Well it worked in the text but in reality things went a little awry. Harris decides to use his baby sister in the experiment and learns very quickly it was not going to work out well. Will that sweet baby survive? Will she be brought safety to her family? What are the consequences for the two boys? Garfield's tale is full of humour and wit with many twists and turns to keep you turning the pages to find out what's next in this saga. It is a story begging to be read again and again.
In the second story, "The Night of the Comet," the two friends team one more time. It is springtime, just days before Pigott's comet will pay a visit high over their town. Everyone knows that in spring love is in the air, and as it happens, Bostock is smitten by Harris's sister Mary. Harris has his eyes fixed on a beautiful brass telescope belonging to Bostock's ailing dad, so the two make a bargain, a swap really, sister Mary, for the coveted telescope. In theory it sounds wonderful, in reality, not so much. The story weaves in and out with relational issues that are on and off, mishaps that will make you laugh out loud, and doses of wit and charm that will have you asking for more. With Garfield's ability to spin a tale in his creative and unique style he has the reader in the palm of his hand all the way through. The characters are loveable, believable and drive this playful comedy right up to the last paragraph. I know it is a story you will truly enjoy and I highly recommend it.
Read on and read always!
It's a wrap.