THE WORLD AT SIX by Johan Febricius


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To recapture the outlook of a six year old child requires a sensitivity, not only to the intensified perception of the known and unknown of which the child feels himself the focus, but to the oblique understanding of the activities and thought patterns of adults as seen through a child's eyes. Unfortunately, The World at Six, lacking this sympathy with children, remains a very stuffy and unusually dull parade of anecdotes about an eerily precocious boy of six. Flip Valckenier, the boy of six, figures in a series of incidents involving his Dutch family and friends-sharp-tongued Granny, Tony the delivery man, the maid Aagje who was pregnant with Tony's child, and a sprightly little number, Nellie (also six) whom Flip regards with uncomfortably advanced interest and concern. The adults are merely shadows, but shadows involved in substantial love affairs and emotional conflicts which should not be clarified in the mind of a youngster. The author, in attempting to distinguish between what actually happens and what Flip understands has sacrificed characterization on the adult level and the adults are unreal and one dimensional. Clicheed journalese is used for a subject which demands a light hand. Altogether a disappointment.

Publisher: Westminster