THE HOUSE ON THE HILL by Shirley Gudmundson


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When seen with only the cover illustration, this reads like a timeless idyll of house building on a Caribbean island except that John and Peter and their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Grant (Mummy and Father), are somehow different from Ebbie and Laurel and their parents (Moses and Pansy), and it's not just that the Grants are newcomers. Only once, when Ebbie and Peter wander into old Giddo who's ""funny in the head,"" is the statement enunciated: ""a black and a white."" Otherwise it's just the natives helping the new residents get settled, punctuated by a few fuzzy references. ""I like the way you talk here. I can feel what you mean. It's all so different."" Ebbie (The Turtle Net, 1965, The Hurricane, 1966) patiently orients the Grant boys to the perils and pleasures of island life--when to avoid slingrays, how to catch land-crabs -- and everyone pitches in to transport cement blocks and other building supplies to the hilltop site of the Grant's house. Even the (miner) earthquake does not intrude upon the scenic quiet. Because they never refer to a previous life the Grants contribute little except the central diversion and blank slates, and the simple life is too full of ""good ideas"" and tutorials for kids to join in.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1968
Publisher: Braziller-Venture