Read The Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston Peter Boston Online

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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. There are three children: Toby, who rides the majestic horse Feste; his mischievous little sister, Linnet; and their brother, Alexander, who plays the flute. The children warmly welcome Tolly tL.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. There are three children: Toby, who rides the majestic horse Feste; his mischievous little sister, Linnet; and their brother, Alexander, who plays the flute. The children warmly welcome Tolly to Green Knowe... even though they've been dead for centuries. But that's how everything is at Green Knowe. The ancient manor hides as many stories as it does dusty old rooms. And the master of the house is great-grandmother Oldknow, whose storytelling mizes present and past with the oldest magic in the world....

Title : The Children of Green Knowe
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12220708
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 149 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Children of Green Knowe Reviews

  • Aura
    2019-01-11 11:49

    Remember when you were young and wished the universe you created around the dull things surrounding you weren't completely ignored by your parents? That you could pretend that even your appartment is a place where things might actually happen, as if in a castle. When I was little I was told that there used to be a graveyard before they made the flats we live in. I was convinced of it for a while because of a big white cross placed in the nearby and certainly because spooky is way better than boring when you're eight. I loved to fool around and fool other children as well. Even if I knew it wasn't real, I could still play that the house came alive while others were asleep, that I alone was confided in with such secret. I've always loved the dark because of that. Everythings seems different during the night. The Children of Green Knowe is a story where you thoroughly forget its being just a story. The narrator seems transparent, you get to experience things first hand. For me it was one of those books that reminded me how I felt when I was little and holidays came, what I wished and prayed for and seemed to forget after I grew up, but not entirely. The greatest praise a fantasy book can receive is saying it feels very real, that you can relate to the characters, feel their world as your own. Tolly meets at Green Knowe with children who lived there centuries ago, directly and through his great-grandma's stories. Not to mention the beauty of the descriptions. The house, the surroundings, the stories, the characters are so alive and the appeal to the reader's imagination so natural I can only regret missing the Green Knowe Chronicles for so long.

  • robyn
    2019-01-22 12:04

    This is that rarest of all things, a perfect book. It is a beautifully told story about a little boy who's sent to live with his grandmother in a very rural England. He moves into a vast old house, complete with whimsical topiary, an empty stable, a river, and - ghosts. It's obvious that that's what Tolly's strange new playmates are, at least to us, but they seem as alive as anyone else in the story, which moves seamlessly from present to past to present again, using the medium of the grandmother's stories, coupled with Tolly's curiousity and the childrens' memories.Green Knowe - once known as Green Noah, but renamed because of a dreadful association - is a house where things come unexpectedly to life, and where the past lies side by side with the present. Unfortunately not all the past was happy, and at least one of the things that is waiting its chance to come to life is very dangerous indeed.It's a story from an earlier time, full of wonderful childish joys but also genuine fright. Just like childhood itself - when we're ready to believe in the tooth fairy, but far more ready to believe in the bogey-man.There are six more books in the series, in which the unifying feature is always the house, but this first book is the stand-alone best.

  • Emma
    2019-01-09 06:37

    4.5 starsA terribly dated and terribly charming story of a small boy's stay with his grandma in a haunted house and his adventures there. I remember reading this as a child and this time I listened on audio. It's quite warm here at the moment and the narrator had a very plummy British accent with received pronounciation which was actually quite embarrassing when I had to slow the car near pedestrians, and they could hear it through my open window!Generations of the same family and gamekeepers had lived at the Green Knowe property and the stories shared were rather lovely.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2018-12-27 07:42

    One night when I was a teenager I heard my mother go into my younger sister's room because she was crying. Turns out the book she was reading scared her, which of course piqued my interest. It was The Children of Green Knowe, and it didn't scare me, and I loved it. I always meant to read the rest of the series but never did. Now they've been reissued with Brett Helquist covers. I must get the whole series and read them all!

  • Jefferson
    2019-01-07 04:36

    In the beginning of Lucy M. Boston's wonderful children's book, The Children of Green Knowe (1954), seven-year-old Toseland (pet name Tolly) travels by train through the flooded British countryside to spend his Christmas holidays with his great-grandmother Mrs. Oldknow in her old castle-like house Green Noah (true name Green Knowe). Tolly is a lonely and imaginative boy, Mrs. Oldknow a solitary and imaginative old lady, and they hit it off immediately, encouraging each other's fancies and treating each other with mutual respect and affection. Green Knowe is a fascinating house, with a long history going back to the crusades, and although Tolly has never been there before, he feels that he has come home, and Mrs. Oldknow greets him, "Ah, so you've come back!" The manor is filled with objects redolent of history and love and magic: a doll's house that duplicates the entire manor house; a rocking horse with real horse's hair; a life-like wooden Japanese mouse (that may come alive when Tolly is asleep); mirrors that double the treasures of the house and make them more vivid and mysterious; and a painting of two boys and a girl and their mother and grandmother, Tolly's ancestors from the seventeenth century. The children in the painting seem to watch Tolly, their eyes tracking him as he moves across the room. When, desperate for friends and siblings, Tolly closes his eyes to go to sleep, he begins hearing the children riding the rocking horse, pattering bare foot on the wooden floor, turning the pages of a book, and whispering and laughing in corners, but everywhere he looks they have just vanished. Despite Mrs. Oldknow's advice to be patient, Tolly feels flashes of exquisite frustration. Will he ever see the children? Do they even exist? Are they only figments of his and Mrs. Oldknow's imaginations, elements of their game of wish fulfillment? Tolly's dreams and daydreams bring the children tantalizingly closer. And the more stories he hears about them from his great-grandmother and the more he explores the house and its secrets, the closer he comes to (perhaps) seeing them while awake. The novel depicts the magical influence of the past on the present when the meeting of a potent place and a sensitive person is intensified by art, knowledge, desire, imagination, and love, such that objects and figures from the past persist beyond their eras and enter and change the lives of people in the present. This can be very moving, as when Mrs. Oldknow calls Tolly Toby, the pet name of both her own son (who died during WWI) and of the eldest boy in the painting (who died over 300 years ago), because the three boys fuse in her heart and mind and hence in the "real" world. Tolly accepts being called Toby without any indignation. After all, he has come home.Boston has an artist's eye for detail and a magician's manner with words and mood, as in the following moments.Tolly's seeing Mrs. Oldknow for the first time: “She had short silver curls and her face had so many wrinkles it looked as if someone had been trying to draw her for a very long time and every line put in had made the face more like her. She was wearing a soft dress of folded velvet that was as black as a hole in darkness.” Tolly nearly seeing the children: "Perhaps it was only the wind, but there seemed to be some movement. A great deal was going on out of sight." Tolly "sneezing in the dust of centuries." Snow falling: "The snow was piling up on the branches, on the walls, on the ground, on St. Christopher's face and shoulders, without any sound at all, softer than the thin spray of fountains, or falling leaves, or butterflies against a window, or wood ash dropping, or hair when the barber cuts it. Yet when a flake landed on his cheek, it was heavy. He felt the splosh but could not hear it." Mrs. Oldknow and Tolly playing and singing a cradlesong, "while, four hundred years ago, a baby went to sleep."Through the main story of Tolly coming home and trying to get to know the children of Green Knowe, Boston weaves a plot featuring a curse and an inimical old yew tree cut into the shape of Noah. Her use of a gypsy witch and her horse thief son as convenient villains in the past is the only problem I have with the novel. But that political incorrectness was not unusual for the 1950s when Boston wrote The Children of Green Knowe. And for the most part the novel is delightful--magical, humorous, scary, joyful, sad, and beautiful.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-02 08:01

    I love these books, and The Children of Green Knowe, first in the series is one of my favorites(1). The Green Knowe series as a whole is the story of a house that has stood for so long and been loved so well that time is flexible. People who lived in and loved the house can meet, even after centuries.The Children of Greene Knowe opens as Tolly makes his first trip to stay there with his great grandmother, whom he has never met. He is in initially nervous, but soon comes to love the place and meets three children who lived there long ago.I really enjoy the characters here. Tolly and his grandmother make a wonderful pair. They understand one another well, without the age difference being downplayed. Tolly is a young boy, and Grandmother Oldknow is adult, but they are able to share their love of the house while she teaches him of its history and shares his joy as he finds stashes of the other children's belongings--even if she does have to caution him to "Stop putting swords through the bedclothes" at one point.I also appreciated the unpredictable, sometimes frustrating nature of the house's magic. Tolly gradually learns to accept the fact that he never knows quite when the other children will be visible to him, but it is frustrating at first. He wants his friends to be present all the time. "I want to be with them. Why can't I be with them?" he cries at one point. It is wonderful, but sometimes frustrating.The Children of Green Knowe is, overall, a quiet book, a book of discovery. Though the remnants of an old curse present a threat, it's only briefly. Stronger than the sense of danger is the sense of joy: Joy of place and joy in nature. Tolly makes friends not only with the children, but with the birds and small animals in the winter garden.Best of all, the writing is beautiful. Take the first description of Grandmother Oldknow whose "face had so many wrinkles it looked as if someone had been trying to draw her for a very long time and every line put in had made the face more like her." Or read any of the descriptions of the nature around Green Knowe.Highly recommended.5/5__(1) I cannot decide between The Children of Green Knowe and The River at Green Knowe. Sometimes I love one the best, sometimes the other.Review originally written for

  • Terri Lynn
    2019-01-16 04:45

    What a warm and wonderful book this is!! I wish I had read it when I was a child but am so glad I have gotten to read it now as an adult. This book is utterly charming. Tolly is a young boy whose mom is dead and his father and stepmother live in Burma. He has been at boarding school where they have been very kind to him but he really longs to belong somewhere with his own family. Then suddenly he does! His great-grandmother OldKnow sends for him to come to live with her at the family home Green Knowe. He takes the train there and is a little excited and a little nervous. Upon his arrival in a torrential rain, he finds the entire area is flooded but the cab driver tells him to wait and stay dry while he puts his baggage in the car and then they are met near the house by the groundskeeper in a boat. He is warmly welcomed by his great-grandmother who immediately tells him this is his home and shows him portraits of his ancestors.I have to admit that my heart was touched by the kindness shown to this child at his boarding school, by the cab driver, by the groundskeeper, and by his great-grandmother. I have seen way too many books where a sweet innocent child is talked to like dirt and treated very unkindly and it is so refreshing to see a book where this is not the case. The book is so warm, friendly, and comforting that way. Children who read this can gain a sense of security. The descriptions are playful, fun, and friendly and make you feel as if you are there yourself. I liked all of the characters as well as felt that they were made into real characters and not stick people.Tolly explores the house and grounds and discovers much to his delight that three children who were his ancestors visit there daily along with a special horse. These children and their mother had died during the Great Plague many years earlier but they tease him and he hears their laughter and their play and it adds to his fun. He gets out a lot to play as children used to do before they became couch potatoes stuck in front of computer screens and game consoles. One day, he finally gets to see the children. The great-grandmother doesn't think he is crazy as she sees them too. I like how Tolly gets involved with animals- he saves one of the children's carp fish that gets stranded after the floods recede; puts sugar cubes out for the ghost horse who eats them; and puts food in an open cage in his room that one of the children, Linnet, used to keep open for the wild birds to come in and eat in. The great-grandmother herself has wild birds eat from her hands and Tolly's too.I know I will be dipping into this magical book often to reread favorite scenes. I recommend it for children and for adults who are still alive enough to have a childlike spirit of fun and wonder inside their hearts.

  • SarahC
    2019-01-08 11:00

    The young boy Tolly meets his great grandmother for the first time and is greeted by her: "So you've come back!" I wondered whose face it would be of all the faces I knew." This is a rich story of recognizing your place in the fabric of time and the line of family. I can't think of a better way for the two main characters to be introduced than by learning that the great grandmother "recognizes" her descendent even never having seen him before. That says miles worth to me. This story for young people is about exploring our own mysterious, magical history. It takes place in a very old home in England, originally inspired by a real-life setting the author was clearly in love with. Love and emotion is very evident here in the fantasy tale. This chronicle of Green Knowe (there are several in this 1950's series) contains many elements including that of home and connection -- giving young readers, especially, much to contemplate.I wouldn't hesitate to give this book to anyone, young or old, as Lucy Maria Boston's writing is rich, pleasurable, and ageless. Here is an example: She [Linnet] had a spruce tree in her bedroom...for the birds. On such a night her tame birds had come to sleep in its branches. They were curled up with their heads under their wings. The tits were balls of blue, or primrose-green; the robins red; the chaffinches pink. Linnet had put a crystal star on top. It glittered among the shadows in the candlelight.A little glimpse of simple, perfect beauty. I do recommend the experience of reading this book.

  • Amy Masonis
    2019-01-19 08:53

    I read this book in probably 3rd-4th grade, in the early 70's, when my mother was the librarian at my Episcopalian school in Newport News, Va. I would find any excuse to go down and visit her and our school's teeny tiny library, immediately to be sent back to class by my mom.My friend Cathy and I hoarded books, checking them out again and again ("Half-Magic" and "Jane-Emily" in particular, I remember). We read greek mythology endlessly. We always wanted to write "our own myths" - as an adult, that seems pretty much what grownups do, but that's another story:)This was one book I kept for myself because I thought that nobody else would understand the gravity of it. A child alone in a safe and immense 13th century structure where he can run free. Tollie lives with his grandmother, who seems to be quite aware of what is happening, but in great literary tradition, the grownups let him be alone under their hidden watchful eye. That was enough to suck me in, even then.This story touches on a child's right to be alone, an interest in what came before him-herself, life and death, family, and the weight of mythology and religion. The image of Greene Knowe and St Christopher hung on me for years until I was working at a bookstore. I thought about it and couldn't remember the title. Six months later, there it was, back in print!A book story.

  • Mark
    2019-01-22 10:05

    Like many of my generation, I was spellbound by the BBC's 1980s adaptation of Lucy Boston's "The Children of Green Knowe". It was one of those high quality children's dramas for which the BBC was renowned at that time and to this day, my sister and I will burst into giggles if one of us utters the line, "Green Noah! Demon Tree!"Regular readers of my reviews will see a pattern emerging, in that I have a penchant for time travel and the supernatural - but what Lucy Boston cleverly does in this, and in her later Green Knowe stories, is to turn the haunted into the haunter, with the present day child occasionally becoming a ghost in the past. This switching of roles and the utter beauty of her descriptions of Green Knowe and its mysterious inhabitants are what make the Green Knowe books a joy to read again and again.The Children of Green Knowe has also become something of a Christmas tradition for me now - I read it every year as Christmas approaches, always with the same taut feeling of impending horror as the young Tolly thoughtlessly provokes the ire of Green Noah himself ...

  • April Knapp
    2019-01-07 03:55

    Review originally posted HEREThis is seriously one of the worst books I've ever read. I am surprised it made the list of top 100. It had a lot of potential-the plot and characters both seemed interesting, but the book is BORING. Through 90 percent of the book, we read how Tolly, the little boy, explores the house and grounds (with mundane activity), listens to birds, and plays flutes. The actions are very mundane-look at the book cover; that's pretty much the whole book. Finally, toward the end, we see a climax-one that is supposed to be scary and adventersome, but I personally found it uninteresting and not very climactic. Plus, the book is creepy.

  • Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
    2018-12-26 04:02

    Tolly comes to live with his great-grandmother in a huge manor house that has existed for centuries. He gradually comes to meet and befriend the children who haunt the house. A gothic novel for the younger set.

  • Pamela
    2018-12-31 09:43

    The Children of Green Knowe kept popping up on "Must-Read Children's Books!" or "Forgotten Classics!" lists, so I figured I'd give it a shot.I am perplexed by the volumes of readers who love this book. Yes, it is quaint. However, it's also murky, historically confusing (I know it's fantasy, but verisimilitude would be appreciated), and just plain bizarre. Again, I found myself wondering if I was supposed to be taking some sort of psychotropic drug to figure out what was going on.An explanation of the plot is nigh on impossible, as there really is no plot. Toseland leaves his boring school and goes to live with his great-grandmother, Mrs. Oldknow. His father and stepmother live in Burma, and in true children's book fashion, the stepmother is intolerable to Toseland. She calls him Toto, and for being angry about that, I cannot blame the boy. Toto, indeed.The trip to Green Noah, as his great-grandmother's family estate is known, is fraught with danger because of recent flooding. Thankfully, in a few days all the water just blows away (biblical Noah reference?) and then it snows. Toseland doesn't mind much, however, because now he's got his grandmother, a new name, Tolly, and wonderful places to explore. By "wonderful places" I mean the topiaries and the stable. Woo.As soon as he arrives at Green Noah, Tolly is greeted by his great-grandmother as though they'd already met. Toseland is a family name, and he strongly resembles another Toseland of times past. There's a portrait of the three children: Toseland, Alexander, and Linnet. They lived 400 years ago and died of the plague (charming!). Even the hostler/gardener, Boggis, is just like every other Boggis who ever worked at the castle, including the unfortunate Boggis who brought the plague back from London with him 400 years ago. That's exceptional service for you!Generally, the story--and I use the term loosely--involves Tolly exploring the house and gradually encountering the ghosts of the three children and their pets, most of which are birds but we also have a puppy, a nasty peacock, and a hedgehog. Linnet, in particular, has a serious Snow White complex when it comes to birds. They are everywhere with her. The more stories Mrs. Oldknow tells Tolly about the children, the more clearly he can see their ghosts and interact with them. Oddly, this doesn't bother him one bit. He feels as if he knows them and that they are friends. I think the general gist of the story is that the whole family quasi-reincarnates, so Tolly is meeting prior versions of himself, his great-grandmother, and his mother. Why the intermediate incarnations don't show up, I don't know. Besides the creepily complacent attitude Tolly has about being stalked by child-ghosts (which are seriously the worst kind--see any horror movie ever), the stories his grandmama tells don't sound as if they actually occurred 400 years ago. The language isn't archaic enough, and I don't think that the modes of conveyance match up to the reign of Charles II. I did, however, learn that High Church Anglicans do celebrate midnight mass, so ... that was nice. The weird bit about the g*psy Petronella and her wicked son was exceedingly uncomfortable to read ("Roma will steal your horses!"), and I know it's a product of the times, but my reaction is a product of my time. The whole Evil Tree plotline felt hastily shoehorned in there, and was neatly resolved. And let me tell you that if a statue of Saint Christopher started walking around my backyard, I wouldn't think it was holy. I'd be more "Don't blink!"So, The Children of Green Knowe is for the slightly morbid, ghost-loving, anachronism-ignoring, slightly-obscure book-lover in you ... but not me.

  • Ivan
    2018-12-30 05:38

    This book really struck a chord with me. The relationship of Tolly and his grandmother is a very fine achievement by Boston. I loved the way they communicated and that they ate in the kitchen in front of the fire and shared their stories and adventures; it felt real and true. I think their relationship is beautifully articulated. It made me long for such a bond - where the sharing of thoughts, memories, ideas and emotions is expected and welcomed. Theirs was a mutually nurturing connection.There is so much to recommend here: a ghost story, a Christmas story, and elements of magic and the fantastic. So much of life is seemingly magical to children. Tolly's discovery of the "other" children and the mouse and so many remarkable things in the garden are appreciated as extraordinary but without a sense of incredulity.The prose here is far and away superior to most literature for children. This piece seems to transcend the genre. There was one scene with St. Christopher that was so beautiful it I found myself in tears and I had to stop reading, mark the page and then had to read the whole section aloud to my sister (who was also quite moved).I'm trying to keep my comments vague. However, half the enjoyment of this book is the "writing," the way in which the story is told - quite beautiful. I'm not going to reveal any more so early. I just hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

  • Mary
    2019-01-04 06:43

    I have a long blog about this book and what it meant to me, and perhaps the best thing I can do is point you to that post! Briefly, this book has wonderful characters and a great sense of place, and I reread it every Christmas, almost without fail. Here's my long review: http://mary-j-59.livejournal.com/2119...

  • Sheila Beaumont
    2019-01-07 08:04

    This classic tale of an imaginative young boy and his equally imaginative great-grandmother, set during Christmas season at an old mansion haunted by three children from the past, is quite delightful. In this excellent audiobook, the story is vividly brought to life by narrator Simon Vance.

  • Samantha
    2018-12-25 10:03

    A lonely 7 year old boy Toseland 'Tolly' goes to live with his great grandmother in an old house during the holidays from boarding school. And is introduced to a whole new world.I found this book charming and enchanting the language was beautifully descriptive – "Outside, the rising moon was hidden from the earthly mist and trees, but high-sailing clouds caught its light and with their silver-gilt brightness reflected a glimmer through the stable windows".But it doesn't sugar coat or shy away from talking about the harsh realities of life in discussing the shocking impact of the Black Plague and war and its consequences.There is an underlying sadness that pervades through the book in the character of Tolly who is very lonely when he receives a letter from his absent father he isn't excited by its arrival but disposes of it as he has become use to the lack of contact. His great grandmother is filling the hole in his life and its lovely to see their relationship grow – "He was in high spirits and had more grins than he knew what to do with". He explores the house and grounds and becomes aware of laughter and children's voices could there be other children living in the house?It’s a short book but packs a lot into its few pages very nostalgic of a simpler time when a small gift given at Christmas bought great pleasure in stark contrast to the consumer led lifestyle of today.Highly recommend.

  • Mary
    2019-01-17 03:59

    A magical book; tremendously full of gorgeous artistic details and like all the best books not just for children.It is simultaneously a gentle and a frightening story.The little boy, Tolly is essentially in a dream world; what IS real after all?There are ghost children; most of the time sweet and comforting, but at other times, chilling(even to adults) as when they nonchalantly reveal the circumstances of their deaths from the plague.His great grand mother is very solicitous most of the time but her care seems to disappear when she goes shopping and he (at the age of 7) is totally alone in the huge manor house, at night, no less...I loved this book when I was a child and as an adult see far more in it so that the enjoyment is increased tenfold. Really recommended....

  • Cherie
    2019-01-18 09:40

    What a sweet story and made even better with Simon Vance narrating. Not to be missed, he even sings the songs in Granny's voice!My daughter recommended the book to me.The author started writing the stories of Green Knowe at the age of 62. A lonely little boy goes to live with his great grandmother in a castle in a small village. The family has lived there for years and years and years and there are ghosts of the children and other family members that visit the fairy-like setting.

  • Kay
    2019-01-06 09:00

    Enchanting children's book, in the vein of The Secret Garden, which revolves around a lonely boy who comes to live with an aged relative in an isolated country house. It seems the house is haunted by the friendly spirits of some children who once lived there. That sounds rather trite as I write it, but the unfolding of the story is rather magical and lyrical, with an innocence that is special to the children's books from earlier eras.

  • Barb
    2019-01-11 11:50

    My seven year old son, ten year old daughter and I all really enjoyed this story. It's special, magical even and old fashioned. It is a ghost story that depicts "ghosts" just the way I think of them (not at all scary). Here's a link to the list of GK booksThe Chimneys is now called The Treasure of GKhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Kn...

  • Sarah
    2019-01-16 03:59

    In light of Goodreads' new censorship policy, I am no longer posting reviews on this site. You can read it here.

  • Carolyn Hill
    2019-01-16 10:38

    I find this difficult to review as I don't often read children's books for this age. My grandson is a little too young for it, and I can't see it holding his attention in comparison to Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, pirates, or whatever super hero is dominating cartoons and movies. A sad observation, I know. The Children of Green Knowe is a quiet, gentle book originally published in 1955, with no real plot or pacing or mystery to solve. But where it fails in plot, it succeeds in magical atmosphere. The story involves a young boy, Toseland, or Tolly as he is called, who goes to live with his great-grandmother in an ancient castle-like home in England. His mother, whose home it was too, is dead, his father remarried and living in Burma with his stepmother who calls him Toto. Horrors. The house is named Green Noah, though originally Green Knowe, a change that is explained in the book. There Tolly first hears, then sees, three other young children as whimsical and fun-loving as sprites. They are elusive, not always appearing when he wants them to, and sometimes he feels abandoned. His great-grandmother, Mrs. Oldknow, is understanding, for she knows these children well and tells him stories about them. They were inhabitants of the castle in the late 1600's (hard to pinpoint though there are some vague historical references), and are, in fact, ghosts. Though, more charming and happy ghosts would be hard to find. They could tame wild animals, so had an enchanting menagerie. Once the reader realizes the initial surprise that this is a ghost story, the only scary bit comes near the end and involves a gypsy-witch curse. I discovered the Green Knowe books through the movie From Time to Time, directed and adapted by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame. Fans of Downton will recognize many familiar actors here, especially Maggie Smith, who plays Mrs. Oldknow, the grandmother (grandmother in the movie, great-grandmother in the book). The movie is based on the second book in the series, Treasure of Green Knowe, which I haven't yet read, so I can't do an accurate comparison, but will note that the family situation is different and Tolly looks to be a young teen in the movie, much older than Tolly in the first book. The movie does capture some of the easy relationship that develops between the grandmother and the boy, which is one of the rewarding aspects of the book. The only comparison I can think of to make is to the children's stories of Elizabeth Goudge, who was a contemporary of the author. Like Goudge, L.M. Boston writes lyrically with wonderful analogies and descriptions, and with an obvious fondness for history and a sense for the imprints past generations have left upon a place, not just physically but in a finer sense of feeling and atmosphere. (And Goudge, it seems right to note, was an inspiration for J. K. Rowling.) I can't resist quoting an example of Boston's writing here in a description of the experience of one of the ghost characters in a cathedral:The afternoon was dull, so that the colors in the windows were deep and rich like sunset seen through a wood, and the stone vaulting looked velvety. A verger was lighting candles two by two all round the walls. Alexander listened to his footfalls sounding like fingertaps on a kettledrum under the high hollow of the roof. The whole place was vibrating and ecstatic. He felt as if he had fallen under an enchantment, as if he could do impossible things. . . When Alexander was separated by the length of the building from the others, who were just going out by the west door, he heard the final syllable of Toby's voice slipping in a whisper down the wall from the roof at the east end, where he stood himself. It was queer to think of it traveling silently like a butterfly across the immense length of the honeycombed vaulting, to fold its wings and drop there in a half-breath of sound to his ear. Lovely. For delights such as these, I recommend the book, though I'm curious as to what today's children would think. I believe they might enjoy it more if it was read aloud, as it seems to lend itself to that. Boston creates a magical but realistic world, and for a child who loves castles or is fascinated by olden times, or who might like a friendly ghost story, this could be enchanting. But it might help to show them what animal shaped yew topiaries look like.For those who love old English houses and gardens, or who want an image to compare to their imagined vision of Green Knowe, look up The Manor, Hemingford Grey, on the internet. It was Boston's home and the inspiration for Green Knowe. An attic bedroom is set up just like Toseland's.

  • Ensiform
    2019-01-09 04:42

    Toseland, called Tolly, goes to stay with his great-great-grandmother for his holiday from boarding school. Mrs. Oldknow lives at Green Noah, a grand old manor with beguiling decorations and strange visual effects made by mirrors and shadows. But there are forces beyond the ordinary there, as well. It soon becomes apparent that there are unusual presences in the house – three children, whom Tolly at first cannot see, until they get used to him and show themselves. They are ghosts of siblings who died in the Plague centuries ago, and they take a liking to Tolly. He explores the house and the grounds, with its magic living topiary, and finds items the children loved most in life.I found this to be a quaint, light children’s fantasy. It’s somewhat dreamlike in tone, with several scenes, such as Tolly’s first sight of the house and its flooded grounds, approaching by boat, that are especially otherworldly. It’s heavy on mood, but not on plot. Mrs. Oldknow tells a few vignettes about the children’s deeds when they were alive, but other than these, there is no conflict to speak of. An ancient curse on one tree on the grounds provides a sort of boogeyman, but the most suspenseful, dangerous scene concerning this is an actual dream of Tolly’s. It’s an evocative, just slightly spooky atmosphere, but without a mystery or conflict or obstacle, this is a setting in search of a plot.

  • Emkoshka
    2019-01-18 09:42

    Another children's classic that somehow passed me by as a child, but happily has retained all its magic to bestow on me now as an adult reader. The opening scene in which the young protagonist, Tolly, is conveyed into the magical world of Green Knowe/Noah by boat and lantern-light is one of the most beautiful scenes in all children's literature. Like in The Secret Garden and Tom's Midnight Garden, the quintessential English country garden is a major character, although the gloomy creepy atmosphere of the marshes in The Woman in Black also lurks. The good humour and loving friendship between Tolly, Mrs Oldknow and Boggins, brought to mind Shirley Hughes's stories and also the relationship between the boy-mouse narrator and his grandmother in Roald Dahl's The Witches: earnest, innocent and heartwarming. Imbued with atmosphere and charm, this story could only have come from a British author; the Americans just can't capture the enchanting innocence and magic of a countryside childhood. Gorgeous.

  • Ariel
    2019-01-18 11:41

    One of my very favorites in life. I have read it many times but this time was different because I visited the Manor at Hemingford Grey (the model for the house in Green Knowe) in England this spring. This time I *saw* the house in the descriptions. Everything was informed by that experience. One odd thing is that the house and everything connected with it is much smaller in real life than I had imagined, including the St. Christopher statue. I think it's an occupational hazard (or do I mean national hazard?) of being American. Things here tend to be bigger so we use a larger measuring stick.

  • Emily
    2018-12-28 07:46

    You can tell it was written by an elderly lady in the early part of the 20th century. It is a mixture of trite and just a little spooky.

  • Jeanette
    2019-01-19 09:38

    We were rather split on our opinions of The Children of Green Knowe. Two of my kids thought it excessively boring and "probaby the worst read-a-loud we have ever done." However, my middle child and myself both enjoyed Tolly's story. We have decided that the two of us who enjoyed the book will continue the rest of the series on our own.

  • Toni FGMAMTC
    2019-01-08 09:04

    The boy is on a visit at a family home. He has lots of adventures and run-ins with ghosts. Fun tale for kids.

  • Shannon
    2019-01-13 11:45

    I recently heard about this series on a real estate program. I had a feeling I had missed something wonderful as a kid so I read the first book. I was right. What an adventure of a read. I'm going to buy the series for my niece !