Pansy is going to the sea for ten whole days with Atalanta, two years older and infinitely superior, and her elegantly...

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THE WORKHOUSE CHILD

Pansy is going to the sea for ten whole days with Atalanta, two years older and infinitely superior, and her elegantly Bohemian grandmother: questions occur about Atalanta, her grandmother, what being with them will lead to. En route Pansy's fortune card advises ""Do not be dismayed if you find yourself among strangers. Rely on your own resources and you will contrive to extricate yourself with a certain amount of difficulty."" Pansy quails, and by this time it is apparent that her companions' equanimity will avail naught; Mrs. Robertson-Fortescue -- Nonna -- is reassuring, but Pansy is slated to be, and remain, a patsy. Also, when Atalanta's audacity gets Pansy into a quandary Joan Aiken would make sport of -- caught switching clothes with workhouse drudge Leah Budden (so Leah can have a swim), she is universally suspect -- the situation turns soft. Pansy's comic misadventures disposed of (no thanks to Atalanta who, caring about nothing, gets the best of almost everything), Leah and her lot become focal: the workhouse undergoes reform and Leah is rescued from it forever. At that, Nonna's intervention on her behalf is easier to take than Pansy's emoting about her. A child (Pansy is all and none of ten) humored in a children's book is a contradiction in terms, and a 1911 milieu mired in 1911 social attitudes is blind consistency; either way, this misses being the lark it might have been.

Pub Date: March 1, 1971

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1971