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Beware of Children

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Ace, London, 1961
(originally published by Rupert Hart-Davis, 1958)
price: 2/6; 192 pages

dedication: TO MY IMMORTAL
One noisy night in the Blitz, he said: 'Stick by me darling, and we'll both be all right. I'm immortal.' And he is.

The blurb on the back:

A rollicking comedy about a young couple who open their stately manor home in Sussex as a holiday home for children. In dealing with the problems of pneumonia, a boy with homicidal instincts, a too well-developed Persian schoolgirl and the two charming shop-lifting sons of an Arab sheik, they discover that not all children are necessarily innocent.

opening lines:
'What shall we call ourselves?' I asked Donald, when we were drawing up a prospectus for our new venture. 'A Children's Home? A Holiday Camp?'

Sorry about the condition of the cover, but I couldn't resist including it on the basis that you don't get too many novels with a drawing of Leslie Phillips as part of the design.

As far as I know, I've never seen the film No Kidding based on this, but given that it includes not only Mr Phillips but also Irene Handl and Joan Hickson, it should be adequate. As indeed is the book: adequate, but far from inspired. I can't imagine anyone wanting to read the whole thing, but just in case: it's about a children's holiday home for the ultra-wealthy and it seems to be mining the same sort of cosy vein as the Darling Buds of May epic. There are additional strands, including a class-conflict between the rich holiday-makers and the locals, but it doesn't exactly approach the stature of a hill of beans. The most modern thing about it is probably the anti-Arab stereotyping.

Ms Anderson also wrote a whole shelf of Brownies books and several volumes of reminiscences, including the wonderfully titled Spam Tomorrow and Scrambled Egg For Christmas.

ballad of a boy and a girl