Tom's Midnight Garden; A Little Lower than the Angels; Brother in the Land
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Tom's Midnight Garden
Illustrated by Susan Einzig
A Little Lower than the Angels
Brother in the Land
The common bond between these books which Oxford have added to their Modern Classics list is the critical acclaim they have received; all are prize winners. But the selection is not tediously predictable.
Tom's Midnight Garden will be well known to most readers of BfK (see Classics in Short, BfK 106), a seminal book of the mid-twentieth century. A carefully structured, writerly story, this time-slip fantasy continues to captivate new generations of young readers and few would dispute its inclusion in a collection of classics. Published twenty-five years after Tom's Midnight Garden, Geraldine McCaughrean's A Little Lower than the Angels, set in the Middle Ages, tells the story of an apprentice, Gabriel, who runs away from a master stonemason to join a band of travelling players. The writing is original, powerful and rich in imagery. A book which can be enjoyed on different levels by adults as well as young readers. Also published in the early '80s Robert Swindells' holocaust novel Brother in the Land is one of his most serious, convincing and moving books. These titles are certainly good representatives of contemporary children's writing. Whether they have the enduring qualities which ensure they continue to be read by generations of readers remains to be seen.