Review Blog

Aug 25 2017

The Bagthorpe Saga - Ordinary Jack by Helen Cresswell

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Harper Collins Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780008211677
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. First published in 1977 this is the introductory volume in a new modern classics series from Harper Collins. The Bagthorpes are, to say the least, one of the most eccentric families you will encounter in a book. It's very English and very funny with overtones of the even older Nancy Mitford books with a very middle to upper class family who are all pretty much bonkers. Father, mother, grandparents, aunt and uncle, and a swag of children who are all pretty much above average - and then there's Jack who is quite ordinary and in his own mind, inferior. With the help of his Uncle Parker, who is easily one of the maddest in the family, Jack sets about to impress his family by becoming a prophet, seeing visions and making predictions. As you can imagine this is quite disconcerting for the family and is not the easiest of deceptions to pull off successfully.
With a pyromaniac four year old cousin, an attractive but non-English speaking Danish au pair, a crusty old daily who is as useful as 'a hedgehog' according to Mr Bagthorpe and some crazy antics, this is a laugh a minute.
Suffice to say that in spite of its age, it is every bit as funny as any contemporary family story and will no doubt appeal to many readers who are looking for a simple humorous read.
Highly recommended for readers both boys and girls from around 8 years upwards.
Sue Warren

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