Kirkus Star


Email this review


Happy Land is what Matt derisively calls the new apartments where the former Dove Square anti-demolitionists are relocated. It's two years after The Battle of St. George Without (1968, p. 272, J-100) and the kids have drifted apart: ""They were living in different blocks of flats--you didn't meet them so often and when you did they looked changed and you felt they noticed a change in you."" Older then (though you won't know from the drawings) and scattered, but no less invigorating. Gwen wears eyeshadow daily, Madge is doing something with that red hair, and Matt envies Henry the working man but when the Flints are temporarily parentless they don't hesitate to help, and even Miss Harrison pitches in--as Grannie Flint Designate when the Cruelty people (R.S.P.C.C.) threaten to intervene. (And they don't flaunt it: ""Doing good is terrible, really,"" Madge confides when they are relieved of duty.) But there are other, harsher situations, precipitated by a too obvious stranger, nicknamed The Salesman, who surprises Shaky Frick (secretly shacked up in a condemned house) and who tries to intimidate Matt into telling where Madge lives with her Cousin Maudie. That Maudie is no cousin is eventually revealed in a swift, sharp scene with no time for brooding: ""When you get older you don't always boo the Baddies and clap for the Goodies--that's something you'll have to learn."" It's not easy to take--which is partly the point--but it is a book that takes hold.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1969
Publisher: Little, Brown