The Wouldbegoods by E.Nesbit


Want to slip back to your childhood? I know Enid Blyton always beckons but give this book by E.Nesbit a read once. Hers is a style completely unlike Enid Blyton. The author is a master at bringing alive the characters of children, when you read her books you can easily enter their world, their joys, their trials, their fears. Coming back to The Wouldbegoods, this book is a part of a three book series on the Bastable children. The Treasure Seekers is the first book in the series, if you are one of those people who can’t bear to jump straight to the second book in any series. The first and third books are nice but this one is my all time favourite. There is Oswald, who is the oldest boy and so the representative of the family. He is a kind, well meaning, mischievious and intensely aware of the Bastable Family Honour. Oswald is the voice which relates the Bastable adventures in this particular book. You can easily guess he is the one doing the narrating by the way, he slips up and praises himself on more than one occasion and the lengths to which he goes in narration to absolve himself of anything for which he has been blamed. Then there is Dora who is actually the oldest, a prim and ‘girly’ girl. Dicky is another of the Bastable boys who dreams of being a sailor. Next comes Alice who is something of a tomboy and who as per Oswald always becomes everyone’s favourite. (She is mine too but only after Oswald!). Noel and HO or Horace Octavius are the two youngest. Noel, the poet, is actually Alice’s twin but he always seems to be a little younger. Oswald never includes his name when he talks of the older Bastables. The kids do not have a mother but they have a wonderful father, a gorgeous Indian Uncle (whose blood can run cold and hot at the same time because of his having spend time in India!) and Albert’s Uncle, the writer uncle of their neighbour Albert who always has time for the Bastables. Give this one a try next time you feel nostalgic about your childhood and the good old days!

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