Visitors from London by Kitty Barne for #1940club

Visitors from London by Kitty Barne

The following is a guest review from my 11 year old daughter, Meli. As part of the #1940club (from Simon at stuckinabook.com and Karen at kaggsysbookishramblings.wordpress.com), readers are selecting books published in the year as part of a group reading and reviewing collective. This rare children’s book by author Kitty Barnes, is the second in the Farrar Family, after ‘Family Footlights’, series, and won the prestigious Carnegie award.
We hope you enjoy Meli’s review. Please leave her a comment below about your favourite children’s book. She will be so thrilled.

Meli’s Book Review for Visitors From London

The story of the ‘Visitors from London’ is about four children who live in London and have come to stay in the country with their Aunt Myra for the holidays.

Aunt Myra is a very easy-going person, so the children, Gerda, David, Jimmy and Sally think they will have a wonderful time in the country, just relaxing and spending time with her. Little do they know – they are in for a surprise!
The children and Aunt Myra also have a friend, Roly Martingale, who happens to be an author, and lives in the country. But, due to the war, Roly is not staying in his large, beautiful, country home – Steadings.
Hoping to do his bit to help with the war, Roly has leant Steadings to the Women’s Voluntary Services for evacuated children.

However this means he has to rely on his young friends the Farrars, to help him with cleaning the old house from top to bottom.

The children and Aunt Myra leap bravely to the front with dusters and buckets, and Aunt Myra makes all the arrangements for the evacuated children. All preparations are made for the young evacuees, because Roly absentmindedly told them that children were coming to stay at Steadings.

Instead, when the children clattered into Steadings, the Farrars were amazed! There were different families with children and grown ups mixed!!

However the Farrars accept this challenge and work to make life pleasant for the new people. But there is a slight problem. The new people are not willing to give up their town ways.

Fred, a difficult young boy, who likes disrupting people and plans, finds peace and comfort in being with the shepherd.

Queenie is at the height of her youth, and dislikes manual labour, and is horrified to find that she is expected to pitch in and do her share of the dirty work.

These are just two of the problems. What with hot tempered Lily and sly Mrs Fell, the children must juggle a lot of problems.

Will they be able to cope with the challenge – or will they have to face ignominious defeat?

‘Visitors from London’ is about how four children and their friends accepted a challenge, to make a home in the country for evacuated people from London. This book is written and set in 1940 and portrays what life must have been like for people during that time, when many suffered due to the war.

This delightful family story is the second book in this series of fun-filled books. I got to read the first book in the series, Family Footlights, when I was 9 years old.
Kitty Barne’s books are always a favourite with me, because I appreciate family stories with a hint of adventure. The illustrations in this wonderful book are all done by Ruth Gervis.

22 thoughts on “Visitors from London by Kitty Barne for #1940club

  1. Lovely review! I’m adding Kitty Barne to my list of authors I want to try.
    One of my favorite authors that I first read when I was 11 is Lloyd Alexander. I loved the adventures of assistant pig keeper Taran and his new friends Princess Eilonwy and the hapless harper Fflewddur Fflam, that begin in The Book of Three. It was published in 1964.

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  2. What a lovely review from Meli, and please thank her for taking part in the #1940Club! I’ve not heard of this book before, but it sounds marvellous and I love the cover illustrations! If I had to pick one favourite book from my childhood, it would be very hard but would definitely be an Enid Blyton. And I would probably go for “The Secret Valley” because I remember the plot haunted me for a long time. My other favourite was “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew” by Dr. Seuss because I loved the strange illustrations!

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  3. What a fun sounding book, just the sort my siblings and I would have adored when we were young. One of our favorite authors was Elizabeth Enright, who excelled at family stories with a dash of adventure.

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  4. Dear Meli,

    This was a wonderful review. I think I would love reading these books . The plot sounds like there will be some funny (or exasperating!) moments with these visitors. Maybe the books will get republished. Let’s hope!

    I am a former English teacher and mostly taught your age . You have a gift for writing . I’d like to read more from you.

    Ps. I was reading mostly Phyliss Whitney I think at your age. 🙂

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  5. Thank you for your review, Meli! This sounds like a book I would love. I love your description of how the children and Aunt Myra step up to the challenge of cleaning the house and of coping with the evacuees. My favorite book as a child was Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary. It’s a good book for those of us who love to read!

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    • This book was one of my most favourites of Kitty Barne’s and I’m glad you enjoyed reading my review! I will have to look into your recommendation!- Meli

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  6. Thank you so much adding this to the 1940 Club, Meli. I hadn’t heard of the author or book but it sounds lovely. My favourite children’s book is probably The House at Pooh Corner – a classic for a reason!

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  7. Meli, this is a wonderful review! I loved reading your thoughts about ‘Visitors from London’ and your writing style is lovely and clear. I’ve had this book on my shelf for a while and your review has inspired me to take it off the shelf and read it next! I hope you’ll share more book reviews soon. I enjoyed it so much! 🤗💕🌸

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  8. Very nice and well written review, makes me want to read this book (even though I’m an adult), so I do hope somebody will republish the series.
    My favourite books in childhood were Heidi, then Emil and the Detectives, then Little Women (and the sequels), and Agatha Christie when I was a bit older. But my absolute favourite book from that period is The Lord of the Rings, it’s pure magic. It is still my favourite book ever.
    Keep reading, have fun, it’s one of the great joys in life. Best regards from Bosnia.

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    • Thank you for writing your favourite books. I like those too. I just recently took an Agatha Christie from the school library.

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