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Saturday, 29 September 2007

Review: DIANA - The Pennyfields

The Pennyfields is a slightly bizarre book. First of all, like The Boy and The Donkey/The Donkey Race this should be an slightly OT topic, as unlike Diana's pony books, they do not a pony. However the Pennyfields (Pennyfield being the surname of the family) do have a donkey, so this could be classified as a pony book, rather than something like The Battle Of Clapham Common which is obviously not a pony book.

The blurb reads:-

"Gosh! The pig!" cries Marie, leaping to her feet.

In a moment they were on the pavement in time to see the fat white sow dash down a side street. They ran after her. The onlookers roared with laughter, and school boys whistled derisively.

Marie, a fast runner, soon gained on the pig. Jennet was laughting so much she could hardly run at all. She told Soloman to head it, and Soloman, mistaking her order, nipped the pig's heels, causing her to run the faster....

The Pennyfields is a happy story, full of good fun.


I am not sure I agree with the last comment. Of all the words, I dont think happy is the right thing for a book. As for full of good fun.....

The basis of the story is that the Pennyfields want a pony, a canoe and rather bizarrely, a shotgun (if they cant afford a horse). This story is basically an account of them trying to get hold of the money, as they are fed up of being poor.

Well to be honest, I found this book rather boring. It takes place during the Second World War (it was after the third time of reading about the Black Market I finally cottoned on), which accounts for them being poor. This is Diana's third book, being first published in 1949. Albeit rationing did carry on until the 1950s in the UK though. It is the first time that I struggled to finish a P-T book, and to date, the only one. The blurb doesnt help much either, and is to be honest, is one for the true fan of the P-T books. Thankfully it is not an expensive book on ebay.

The Pennyfields carry out all sorts of bizarre tasks to get their money, including cleaning windows, but in perspective, I suppose during WW2, the men who would normally do these kind of things would be in the trenches, or in P.O.W. camps. The only men around would be too old, or too injured to do these things. Though, why would you want to clean windows, when they were blacked out at night and you couldnt see much through them anyway, with all the safety tape on them should they be in an area where a bomb would have landed. In most cases the things that they would be doing, most children I suspect would do them without pay, as part of the "war effort".

Although there are a few incidents, there is nothing spectacular about this book, it is not one that grabs you and unlike the pony books, isnt very interesting for any child. This is the first time I am struggling to say anything about this book. In the end, they do get the pony, though it is unclear (thankfully) whether or not they get the shotgun. Like I said, this is one for the true P-T fan.

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