And so it was time for me to try my third of The Bloomsbury Group. I don’t know what the deal with these has been outside of the UK but last year Bloomsbury re-issued some books from the early twentieth century partially on the advice of bloggers, though not this one as it’s an era I am only just getting to know better. So far though I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these books would it be the case with Wolf Mankowitz’s ‘A Kid For Two Farthings’ a book that was even made into a film, neither of which I had heard of before this release.
We are introduced with ‘A Kid For Two Farthings’ to the hustle and bustle of the East End in London at some point in the 1950’s. Six year old Joe’s father has gone to Africa and is soon to send for Joe and his mother. In the meantime life must go on for them. In the case of Joe, like many a six year old, his life is a mixture of the real and the imagination. After unsuccessfully trying to raise a chick each week Joe decides to buy something bigger, so when he see’s a man in the market selling a unicorn how can he not buy one?
You might be wondering how a young boy would know what a unicorn looked like and the answer is Joe’s neighbour Mr Kandinsky. Mr Kandinsky is a wonderful character, knowing Joe is missing his father he almost takes on a Grandfatherly role for the young man, also filling his head with magic and adventure. So when Joe brings home a goat he believes is a unicorn how can Mr Kandinsky tell him its not, well he doesn’t. But then strange things start to happen, could it be the belief of a young boy in his unicorn bring luck to these people and those around them?
I couldn’t work out whether it was originally a children’s book or not as it had that sort of tone about it which confused me a little. Actually with some of the wrestling scenes involved maybe not. I also thought the ending was a bit sudden, but I don’t want to give anything away, it just felt a little unfinished. Having said those small gripes with the book I did enjoy this book.
I think I was possibly expecting a little bit more but then that might be because I have overhyped this series in my head, and also because Henrietta’s War was just so brilliant. It’s a quirky short novel/novella that I would recommend people give a go if you like things that celebrate London, give you a delightful tale from a child’s eyes and are a little different from everything else out there. This is a wonderful series and if you haven’t tried on of the titles then I really recommend you do. Either pop to their website and see the whole series or you can see my thoughts on two of the other titles I have read so far here. Have I told you how amazing I thought Henrietta’s War was at all ha, ha, ha!
Have you read this book, if so what did you think? Has anyone seen the movie? Which of the other Bloomsbury Group titles have you tried and which would you recommend I read next?