Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"Rather than hit Miss Cadell-Twittenâ€™s gate at forty miles per hour, he did the wisest thing he could have done. He steered the careering and leaping bicycle on to the grass verge. He bounced madly up and down on the sprung saddle, lost his grip with his left hand, lurched into the ditch and hit the unrelenting thorn hedge at high speed."
Arthur Ramsgill, Peter Beckford and David Hughes are all pupils at the King Charles II Grammar School. The trio of hapless friends find themselves caught in all manner of hijinks in this unexpected novel which captures farcical humour, invention and imagination and a true sense of camaraderie. Behind this, however, there is also a wonderful depth in the way the geography and landscape of Darnley Mills and its environs are depicted and in the means through which this landscape has been shaped by history and past happenings.
Light hearted fun and an irreverent mood pervade from the outset as the boys engage in Operation Bird Nest, seeking to oust a pigeon from the church following its opportunistic roosting after the boys tested their handmade ballista – with devastating consequences. The adventures are spirited and youthful in their zest and zeal and there’s a fateful sense of the inevitable which leads to much merriment and mirth.
The novel brilliantly evokes the sense of whimsy in the community and its bizarre collection of highly eccentric characters, but there’s a gentle warmth which makes it hard not to break forth into spontaneous smiles.