TOM TIDDLER'S GROUND by John Rowe Townsend
Kirkus Star


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In another satisfying adventure from veteran Townsend, a group of working-class British kids fix up a hideaway in an abandoned canal boat that proves to contain a long-concealed treasure. Vic (the narrator); Brian (""Brain""), good at dealing with adults; Sam(antha), whose good sense eventually wins Vic over; Sam's persistent little sister, Mary-Lou; and waif Darryl, tolerated because he watches out for Mary-Lou, each play an important part in the deft plot, It's Mary-Lou's literal belief in the old chant about ""picking up gold and silver on Tom Tiddler's Ground"" (waste land) that leads to the discovery of a bit of real gold masquerading as a brass harness medallion. When two unsavory boatmen confiscate the medallion, the quest for justice uncovers an old mystery about a missing inheritance, leads to close acquaintance with three senior citizens (two old boatmen and Vic's querulous grandmother, who turns out to have an interesting history) and reignites a 50-year-old romance. Townsend's vivid evocation of place and of the interaction among characters demonstrates that even the colloquial, approachable 12-year-old voice can narrate a tale that leaves the reader wiser about the human condition.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1986
Page count: 166pp
Publisher: Lippincott