Philippa Pearce The Little Gentleman

ISBN 13: 9780060731618

The Little Gentleman

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9780060731618: The Little Gentleman

One day old Mr. Franklin asks Bet to go out to the field and read aloud from a book about earthworms. Why? Who is listening? Soon, Bet becomes the most trusted friend of her listener, who turns out to be a bewitched mole.

At first she and the mole simply sit together in their field, reading, talking, sharing hopes and fears. But soon Bet is helping the Little Gentleman unravel his long and legendary past -- a past that includes the death of a king and a pouch of magic herbs. Bet begins to believe the mole's powers are stronger than he knows. She thinks he can even shift her size and take her exploring in his tunnels if he tries. Nothing is impossible. When the mole finally reveals his deepest wish, Bet knows she can help him.

But will it change everything?

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About the Author:

Philippa Pearce is the author of many books, several of which are considered classics both in the United States and in her native England. Her award-winning titles include Tom's Midnight Garden, which received the Carnegie Medal and was an ALA Notable Book; The Battle of Bubble and Squeak, which received the Whitbread Award; and Mrs. Cockle's Cat, which received the Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in Cambridgeshire, England.

From Booklist:

Gr. 4-6. Pearce writes intelligently, stretching her readers, yet providing stories that intrigue them at their own level. That's certainly true in this case, which finds Bet, who lives in the British countryside, communing with a talking mole, whose brush with witchcraft has given him memory, speech, and everlasting life. The book walks the line between pure fantasy and magic realism. Bet is asked by her grandmother's employer, Mr. Franklin, to read aloud in the garden to an unseen creature. By the time the mole, Little Gentleman, makes himself known, children will be caught up in the mystery of who the mole is and where he came from. Unfortunately, that's the stumbling block for U.S. readers. A rather long reading by Bet explains how this mole was responsible for the death of King William in the eighteenth century and reconstructs the plot to restore King James III to the British crown. This discourse breaks the story's flow, and though the tale has much enchantment and energy, some kids will put it down. That's too bad because Pearce's elegant writing smooths other flaws. Who else can slip in a word like chthonic with grace and ease? Ilene Cooper
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Philippa Pearce, Tom Pohrt (Illustrator)
Published by Greenwillow (2004)
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