Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Terrible, Horrible Edie - a bookwrap

My favourite, favourite, favourite collection of all time...

The New York Review Children’s Collection began in 2003 in an attempt to reward readers who have long wished for the return of their favorite titles and to introduce those books to a new generation of readers. The line publishes picture books for preschoolers through to chapter books and novels for older children. Praised for their elegant design and sturdy bindings, these books set a new standard for the definition of a “classic.


Terrible, Horrible Edie

Authored by E.C. Spykman

Ages 10-14

Praise for the book...

Ten-year-old Edie, rebellious, independent, is the mastermind for many breathtaking episodes, which keep her in trouble and everyone else on tenterhooks. Delightful reading.
Parents Magazine

Here ...is a story whose good writing, superb characterization, and high sense of the adventure of living make it as a must reading for boys and girls of 10 and up.
The Chicago Tribune

The four Cares children [are] probably the most uninhibited youngsters in fiction since Richard Hughes wrote The Innocent Voyage.
—Ellen Lewis Buell, The New York Times

About the book...

This  book was originally published in 1960.   Ten year old Edie really isn't terrible or horrible, she's just feisty, curious and determined to get the most out of life. She is plunked in the middle of two high-brow brothers, one older sister, and two younger stepsisters that are a constant distraction to her. The Cares family is completed by Edie's biological father, his new wife Madam, and an entertaining menagerie consisting of a bird, a goat, a beagle, a second dog, and a spider monkey, not to mention their very own cook and kitchen assistant.

Edie's step-mother and father decide to spend the summer touring Europe and the kids go to spend the summer at their Aunt Louise's
house in Mount Harbor, Massachusetts by the sea. 

A myriad of adventures await them there: sailing on the water, surviving a major hurricane that is both destructive and dangerous, and Edie becoming a super hero as she solves the mystery of who stole the neighbour's valuable jewellery all by herself.  

The author writes beautifully and has a keen sense of sibling rivalry. She understands how lonely and misplaced a middle child can feel and how the older children seem to have all the freedom and fun while not including her.  No one will listen to Edie, give her a chance or invite her along with them so she goes off by herself and does her own thing. She does not feeling guilty or that she needs to apologize to the others for her decisions or actions.  

This is Spykman's third book about the Cares family.  The family is modelled closely after her own upbringing which brings great authenticity to the content.  The book is rich in both character and plot and I highly recommend it.

About the author...

Elizabeth Choate Spykman (1896-1965) was born and raised in Southborough Massachusetts, and was the fourth child in a family of four boys and two girls.  Following her graduation from the Westover School in 1914, she traveled widely and adventurously, spending a year in Germany and another in England.  In the 1920s, she wrote for "The Atlantic Monthly," describing a journey to the South Seas by tramp steamer and life in small-town New England. In 1955 she published her first book. "A Lemon and a Star", the first of four novels about the Cares family.  She was married to the co-founder of Yale's Department of International Relations, Nicholas J. Spykman, with whom she had two daughters. 

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