• Fri
  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 10:00pm

A children's story in a time warp

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 April, 2009, 12:00am

Little Plum
Rumer Godden
Published by Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN 978 0 330 4513 7

This story is a gentle step back in time to a more innocent world - a children's novel of its time (1962) that has been re-issued. What the children will make of it, it is difficult to guess. Little Plum was written in an age when young girls had little to distract them other than playing with dolls. How times have changed.

Whether Little Plum has anything to appeal to today's young readers is doubtful, though nostalgic Mums might love it.

The Fell children, Anne, Tom and Belinda, and their cousin Nona, live a comfortable life in a big house in a middle-class suburb of the city. Nona's prize possessions are two beautiful Japanese dolls called Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.

When the children are told a new family will move in next door they are excited. There might be new children to play with.

But the new family proves to be a disappointment. Mr Jones seems aloof, and his daughter Gem is spoilt and wants nothing to do with the children next door.

One day, Belinda sees a Japanese doll on the windowsill in Gem's bedroom. She is upset that Gem seems to ignore it. Using a tree to climb up to the window, Belinda starts to leave presents for it along with notes accusing Gem of being an unfit doll-parent.

Little Plum will probably struggle to find new readers. This is a children's novel in a time warp. Little girls have moved on.

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