Future Reflections April/May/June 1985, Vol. 4 No. 2

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by Nina Bawden

(Published by J.B. Lippincott, 1966 Reviewed by Doris M. Willoughby.)

The first good thing about this book is that the child called the "witch's daughter" is not the blind child.

The book jacket describes: Janey Hoggart was Perdita's first friend. Because she was blind, Janey did not stare in fright at the unusual girl with the glinting green eyes and the odd-looking clothes. It was to Janey and her brother Tim that Perdita showed the clear, glowing stone that Mr. Smith's visitor had given her, and Tim was astounded that Perdita did not know what a diamond was. Tim himself had found a ruby like stone in tin island cave...

Soon. the three children are caught up in a first-rate adventure involving danger and mystery.

Good attitudes toward blindness are demonstrated by Janey and her family, as they make it clear that she is not a "poor little thing," as some think she must be. Janey's skills as a blind person play a major role in solving the mystery and its problem, in ways that do not seem contrived or far-fetched. I would have wished for Janey to use a cane, but that would no doubt have been unrealistic in the British Isles 20 or so years ago.

There are a few British expressions which may need interpretation--for example, Janey asks Perdita, "Are you dumb?" meaning, "Can't you talk?" Also, in the fourth chapter I became very confused as to who was who and where they all were staying, despite my having read rather slowly for review purposes. However, after rereading a few passage I remained straightened out for the rest of the book--except for certain confusions deliberately planted by the author.

The book is suitable for fifth grade and up. As an adult, I found it extremely interesting and enjoyable.

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