A beautifully written novel by the classic author of Ballet Shoes. With enchanting illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.
Great Aunt Dymphna drew herself up. 'You have a whole wing of the house to yourselves. This magnificent kitchen. The glorious world outside to play in. All that the earth brings forth to feed you, and you stand there asking foolish questions until my head reels. Help yourselves, children, help yourselves.' Then, flapping her cloak as if to shoo off a clutter of chickens, she was gone.
The four Gareth children lead a quiet life in a London suburb, but when their father, an epidemiologist, gets ill abroad, their mother has to leave to take care of him.
They go to stay with a relative they have never met - eccentric Great Aunt Dymphna, who lives in a ramshackle house in Ireland. Here, they are not only expected to look after themselves, they also discover they have company - a mysterious boy who announces that his is on the run. Irritating as he is, the children agree to hide him from his pursuers - but who are they? And who is the boy? The children are determined to find out.
Noel Streatfeild (1895-1986) was born in Amberley, Sussex. Her father was Bishop of Lewes and her great-grandmother was the prison reformer, Elizabeth Fry. She was a mischievous child, often in trouble at home. While growing up, she and her sisters put on plays for parish causes and, after making munitions during World War I, she trained as an actress. Noel Streatfeild started by writing books for adults. Then in 1931 she published her first children's book. Her best-loved novel, BALLET SHOES, was published in 1936.When World War II broke out, she worked in canteens for the armed forces and for those injured by bombs. She wrote over 80 books in her lifetime and lived in London till her death.