A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS by Wolf Mankowitz

A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A kid named Joe, of London's East End, with his dreams of a unicorn, meshes the world of reality and of imagination when he buys one for a pet. That the little unicorn is a baby goat, crippled, sick and too quiet a playmate, means nothing to Joe or to his good friend, Mr. Kandinsky, who makes trousers and who wants a mechanical steam presser to insure business, for the old man knows the importance of make-believe. There is Schmule, Kandinsky's helper, whose aim is to beat Python Macklin in wrestling so that he can buy his girl a proper ring; Joe's mother who wants to join his father in Africa; the terrifying cannibal king whose efforts to steal the unicorn Joe must circumvent -- but death intervenes; and this is the story of how, in a world of barrows, shops, poverty and a rotten winter, dreams do come true. Joe learns, too, that a ""unicorn can't grow up in Fashion Street but boys have to"", as he watches a new pattern assemble when Kandinsky achieves his steam presser, when Schmule bests the Python and when he loses the little unicorn. There's a touchstone of sentimental feeling under the drab life, of humor and a sense of the area that softens the grimness and lights the story. Woollcott might have gone ""quietly mad"" over this.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1953
Publisher: Dutton