THE ROUNDHILL by Dick King-Smith


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 13
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A solitary teenager discovers some distinguished company sharing his private place in this beguilingly matter-of-fact ghost story. The Cotswolds hilltop visible from Evan’s bedroom window has always been special to him, but never so much as after the day he climbs up to survey the surrounding countryside and finds a child with antique dress and manners sitting next to him. Her name is Alice, she says, before vanishing as mysteriously as she came. Being reasonably well-read, he recognizes her almost immediately—as readers will, if not from her description, then from Bailey’s Tenniel-style illustrations. She returns on subsequent days, to borrow his binoculars, play croquet (with wooden mallets), and make odd, past-tense pronouncements. Before bidding him goodbye, she tells him that she once stayed in the room that is now his, and also loved the hilltop. King-Smith ends on a warmly sentimental note, fast-forwarding more than six decades to a scene in which Evan, now an old man, takes his 12-year-old granddaughter up the hill to tell her about the encounter. Aside from its literary pleasures, this perfect little jewel of a tale will prompt readers to think about the places that are special in their own lives. (Fiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-517-80047-0
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2000


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