THE SWING IN THE SUMMERHOUSE by Erik Blegvad

THE SWING IN THE SUMMERHOUSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three characters in search of themselves, with a swing to transport them and Mrs. Truth to light the last stretch: an allegorical fantasy in shifting dimensions. Eleanor and Eddy discover that by swinging through each of the archways of the summerhouse they will reach a different destination: first Eddy finds himself in THE MAN-CASTLE evoked by Uncle Freddy ("Your body is your castle, isn't it?") as the metaphor for human potential; then Eleanor investigates WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?, discovers the value of each person to be "beyond price"; MAKE NEW WORLDS takes her to the world that she has made with paper dolls and tinsel dreams, and she finds it tiresome; and so on to the forbidden portal, GROW UP NOW. There the children turn to marble and Mrs. Truth explains to uncle Freddy who has never grown up: "one way to grow up is to stiffen and harden into one kind of person who is just the same forever." "But how can they help it? That's what growing up means." By keeping "the freshness and wonder of childhood all your life, even though you grow up in other ways." Because he has, he can release them; its time run out, the summerhouse, scene of their separate longings, explodes, but the rainbow--"a sign of the miracles that surround us every day"--remains. This is an independent sequel to The Diamond in the Winddow, and it is both less diffuse and more diverse; less diffuse because the pattern is obvious, more diverse because each episode reveals a different aspect of self-discovery and each transforms reality appropriately, immediately and inventively. Children will remember the giant cash register (WHAT ARE YOU WORTH) and the paper doll party (MAKE NEW WORLDS) and grave little Georgie, the aspiring reader (and the tingling illustrations) much longer than the all-too-obtrusive MESSAGE.
Pub Date: May 11th, 1967
ISBN: 0064401243
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Harper & Row
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1967




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