Have I ever mentioned that I like reading children's books? Maybe you wouldn't think so from the reviews here on my blog, but I really do. There are several children's books authors I would name as my favourites, Edith Nesbit and Astrid Lindgren being top of the list.
The book I recently finished, "Peterkin", is by an author who, every now and then, reminded me a bit of Edith Nesbit: Mrs. Molesworth. Her full name was Mary Louisa Molesworth, and she did not only write children's books but also adult fiction, the latter under the pen name of Ennis Graham.
Mrs. Molesworth lived from 1839 to 1921; she was married (later legally separated) and had, as far as I know, no children.
"Peterkin" was published in 1902, and we are introduced to the upper middle-class Lesley family with their six children by Giles, the second son, who writes the story from his own perspective as a 12-year-old two years after it happened. Peterkin is his youngest brother; the other three siblings are girls. And it is Peterkin who sets the story off by disappearing one night in November.
Giles' older brother Clement has an idea where the 8-year-old boy may have been gone, and the two boys set out to find him. They are successful, and the story could have ended here, had it not been for Peterkin's discovery of a most mysterious parrot, speaking of a little girl in the house next door to his. The two younger boys' imagination is vivid enough that they take it upon themselves to "rescue the enchanted princess" they think they have stumbled upon, and although all ends well, the story does not lack suspense, and humour.
The writing from a child's perspective is, I think, rather credible; the adults are presented in a manner that makes you believe they would really act that way and their actions would really seem to have those special meanings to the observing children. The children among each other are not always full of brotherly love; they do get cross sometimes, as children do, but when it comes to obstacles, they stick together.
Some of the expressions in the book I had not come across before: To be "as happy as sand-boys", for instance. Nicely enough, the young narrator does not know what it means, either, and frankly admits to it.
So, this was an entertaining and enjoyable read from times long gone; 110 years later, I am glad to have come across this book as a free download from the Kindle store and wouldn't mind finding more by the same author.