Mossy Trotter is the only book for children by Elizabeth Taylor, a writer who is increasingly recognised as one of the best writers of the twentieth century.
'We - that is, Herbert and I - want you, Mossy, to be our page-boy,' Miss Silkin said, staring hard at Mossy again, as if she were trying to imagine him dressed up, and with his hair combed.
Mossy went very red, and nearly choked on a piece of cake, and Selwyn laughed, and went on laughing, as if he had just heard the funniest joke of all his life. They both knew what being a page-boy meant. One of the boys at school - one of the very youngest ones - had had to be one, wearing velvet trousers and a frilled blouse.'
When Mossy moves to the country, life is full of delights - trees to climb, woods to explore and, best of all, the marvellous dump to rummage through. But every now and then his happiness is disturbed - chiefly by his mother's meddling friend, Miss Silkin. And a dreaded event casts a shadow over even the sunniest of days - being a page-boy at her wedding.
In her only children's book, Elizabeth Taylor perfectly captures the temptations, confusion and terrors of a mischievous boy, and just how illogical, frustrating and inconsistent adults are!
It's always a treat to read Elizabeth Taylor. Mossy Trotter is a real gem. A delightfully mischievous boy living in those long-ago halcyon days when children played out all day, roaming commons, scavenging on rubbish tips and stamping in newly-laid tar.
Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) is increasingly recognised as one of the best British writers of the twentieth century. She wrote her first book, At Mrs Lippincote's, during the war while her husband was in the Royal Air Force, and this was followed by eleven further novels and a children's book, Mossy Trotter. Her acclaimed short stories appeared in publications including Vogue, the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.