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The Children who Lived in a Barn

by Eleanor Graham
Persephone book no:

26 27 28

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The Far Cry
A Well Full of Leaves
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ISBN 9781903155196

This 1938 novel became a children's literature classic when it was reissued as a Puffin paperback in 1955 (with the delightful cover partly reproduced here); but we have published it for both adults and children to read. It shows five children successfully looking after themselves when their parents go away and fail to return; and 'it is partly because of modern curtailment of childhood independence that Persephone Books (which has a cult following for its elegant resurrection of novels by women writers) has reissued the novel,' wrote Rachel Johnson on the Daily Telegraph Education page.

Jacqueline Wilson observes in her Preface: 'Back in the fifties the book seemed entirely convincing. Reading it now I'm in my fifties it seems extraordinary... that the Dunnett children in the book were deliberately left on their own... Yet in spite of all her enormous household responsibilities the eldest girl, Sue, experiences a freedom and a sense of achievement not available to most Western teenage girls. She could certainly teach the teenage girls in my books a valuable lesson.'

A starring role in the book is played by the haybox, which makes a lasting impression on every reader...


'Arrowhead' is a fabric with a fresh, pastoral feel showing leaves and climbing columbines and hollyhocks; it dates from 1938, yet is timeless enough for 1955.

Picture Caption

Original Puffin cover of 'The Children who Lived in a Barn'

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Categories: Childhood Country Life Education Family Teenagers (books for)

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