Of Birds and Flowers

Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge
Grade: B+

Elizabeth Goudge wrote The Little White Horse, a magical book that has long been a favorite of mine (and J.K. Rowling’s), so when Linnets and Valerians, came back into print, I had to get a copy of it. Did it meet my high expectations? Not quite.

Linnets and Valerians is about a four children who are left in the care of their grandmother while their father, a military man, heads off to Egypt. The children hate living with their grandmother, so they run away and end up at their uncle’s house. He agrees to be their guardian and teacher. The children amuse themselves by exploring their new neighborhood, getting into all sorts of places they’re not supposed to be, and in the process they solve a couple of mysteries and help bring about some positive changes.

Linnets and Valerians is a lovely book, well written and quite readable, but the answers to its mysteries were too obvious and its magic degenerated into witchcraft. It just wasn’t as good as The Little White Horse, so it was a disappointment for me, but it came so close to being great that I still recommend it for avid fans of children’s books.

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