When Bet is first asked to go into the meadow and read a passage aloud from a book - apparently to no-one - she wonders why. But then she realises that her audience is a little mole, who listens attentively. This isn't just any mole. This mole can speak, he is more than 300 years old and he has an amazing tale to tell. So begins an extraordinary friendship between a lonely little girl and The Little Gentleman in Black Velvet.
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Philippa Peace has worked as a scriptwiter-producer for the BBC, a children's book editor, a book reviewer, a lecturer, a storyteller and as a freelance writer for radio and newspapers. Her now classic books in Puffin include Carnegie Medal winner Tom's Midnight Garden and The Battle of Bubble and Squeak which won the Whitbread Award. Philippa Pearce lives in Cambridgeshire.From Booklist:
Gr. 4-6. Pearce writes intelligently, stretching her readers, yet providing stories that intrigue them at their own level. That's certainly true in this case, which finds Bet, who lives in the British countryside, communing with a talking mole, whose brush with witchcraft has given him memory, speech, and everlasting life. The book walks the line between pure fantasy and magic realism. Bet is asked by her grandmother's employer, Mr. Franklin, to read aloud in the garden to an unseen creature. By the time the mole, Little Gentleman, makes himself known, children will be caught up in the mystery of who the mole is and where he came from. Unfortunately, that's the stumbling block for U.S. readers. A rather long reading by Bet explains how this mole was responsible for the death of King William in the eighteenth century and reconstructs the plot to restore King James III to the British crown. This discourse breaks the story's flow, and though the tale has much enchantment and energy, some kids will put it down. That's too bad because Pearce's elegant writing smooths other flaws. Who else can slip in a word like chthonic with grace and ease? Ilene Cooper
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Book Description Puffin Books, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 014138090X