The Wouldbegoods, a sequel to The Treasure Seekers, reacquaints us with the six Bastable children: Dora, Oswald, Dicky, Alice, Noël, and H.O. Again, the story is told by you-may-not-know-who, and the children find all sorts of ways in which to amuse themselves in the country during the summer holidays.
"Children are like jam," says the Indian uncle, "all very well in the proper place, but you can't stand them all over the shop - eh, what?" Well, the children do their best, but they do get themselves into trouble, right from the beginning, when their latest brainwave is to create a jungle in the garden.
In this sequel to The Treasure Seekers, the Bastable siblings spend a summer making mischief in the English countryside. The wonderfully imaginative children form a society for the doing of good deeds - with unfailingly disastrous and amusing results. Their adventures are presented as vignettes with snatches of music in between. Teresa Gallagher sounds unerringly like children should sound. She's completely convincing as both the boys and the girls (and the grown-ups) - and she's particularly successful in the narrating voice of Oswald, who is the anonymous teller of these adventures. Edith Nesbit's strikingly modern British classic is just as welcome - and feels just as relevant - today.
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- A. Sautter