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A Stranger at Green Knowe (Green Knowe #4)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  705 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
L. M. Boston's thrilling and chilling tales of Green Knowe, a haunted manor deep in an overgrown garden in the English countryside, have been entertaining readers for half a century. Now the children of Green Knowe--both alive and ghostly--are back in appealing new editions.
The spooky original illustrations have been retained, but dramatic new cover art by Brett Helquist
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 1st 2002 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1961)
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Northern Lights by Philip PullmanWatership Down by Richard AdamsThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Borrowers by Mary NortonThe Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
Carnegie Medal Winners
19th out of 78 books — 80 voters
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan AikenA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe Phantom Tollbooth by Norton JusterJames and the Giant Peach by Roald DahlCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Children's Fantasy of the 1960s
18th out of 62 books — 12 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,172)
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Jan 12, 2012 wychwood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sff, childrens
Boston is kind of amazing; I didn't read the Green Knowe books until I was in my late teens, and I always forget how good they are because they're not part of my childhood. Her prose is astonishing and subtle, and her stories are sharply insightful. This one, in particular - it falls into a bunch of racist traps, but for something written in 1961 it's so aware of Ping as an individual, and of the issues of exile and entrapment that it deals with. It doesn't pull its punches; for all the strong s ...more
C.E. Murphy
Dec 31, 2013 C.E. Murphy rated it it was amazing
I re-read all of the Green Knowe books repeatedly as a child, but reading them again as an adult has been a revelation. The descriptions and the ability to reveal the world the way a child sees it are unparalleled throughout, even in RIVER, which is less a novel than a series of vignettes strung together on the back of a river.

STRANGER is the most powerful and heartbreaking of the four I've re-read so far; it's the story of Hanno the gorilla, captured in the Congo as a baby, and Ping, an orphan
Mar 04, 2016 Kailey rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
In this story, a gorilla escapes from the zoo and hides in the thicket behind Green Knowe, where Ping befriends and hides him.

This is not my favorite of the Green Knowe books, because I'm very "meh" about monkey stories, especially when monkeys are constantly being compared to men. Monkeys, gorillas, or any other primate are NOT like men. Seriously? They are animals. They work on instinct. That's pretty much it. Are they interesting and majestic? Yes, sure! But it gets so annoying after the firs
Jul 03, 2013 Ivan rated it it was amazing
Boston is a very fine writer. At the same time I was reading this I was reading something else as well and I was struck by the difference in good writing and great writing. Boston's prose is lyrical and seemingly effortless. Once again she communicates the special relationship between the older woman and the child with pathos and eloquence. This is a theme that my emotions are susceptible to - ever since A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, and right on through to The Witches by Roald Dahl. I do ...more
Austen to Zafón
Apr 02, 2009 Austen to Zafón rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2016 Verena rated it liked it
A Stranger at Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston is one of the six Green Knowe fantasy novels written for children and published between 1954 and 1976. These were a family reading favorite that we discovered in the 1980's. However, we did not read this title, so I was interested in finding out if it held the same charm as those I remembered.

The book has excellent descriptions of the rain forest in the Congo and a gorilla's life there. A young gorilla is captured and taken to the London Zoo. Hanno esc
Dec 02, 2015 Hiroki rated it really liked it
Lucy M. Boston/level2
Ping,Hanno,green knowe,Oldknow,gorilla,Africa,zoo
"It was Hanno!"
The main character named Ping met the gorilla named Hanno in the London zoo for the first time, and Ping liked Hanno. One day, Hanno ran away from the zoo. Then, Ping played in the forest, and Ping met the gorilla in the zoo. This was Hanno. This line appeared then. I thought awesome that Ping who was the general people could met Hanno which was object of longing of P
Rikako Onogi
Apr 21, 2016 Rikako Onogi rated it liked it
1. OXFORD, Level 2
2. 4/13=80minutes; 4/15=20minutes
3. gorilla, boy, animal, escape, strange, sad, danger
4. I like this book.
a. A gorilla lived in African forest with his mother. His name is Hanno. Suddenly, a breeding staff came and caught Hanno. In the zoo, Chinese little boy met the gorilla. The boy liked that gorilla. Long years later, the boy and gorilla lived together. They lived together happily.
b. I like scene that the boy met the gorilla in the zoo. The boy didn't have many friends,
P.D.R. Lindsay
I love this book. It well deserved that Carnegie medal and is relevant today when we have all those millions of refugees desperate for a home. The novel makes one think about displaced people, what they have lost and what they need. Although Lucy Boston is talking about the 1950s and not the 21st century.

Ping is a displaced boy. Returning to his jungle home in Burma from a morning's adventuring he finds it burnt, his family killed or vanished and nothing of their little community left except one
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 04, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has ever loved an animal
The eponymous stranger may be a primate, but he’s no human.

A Stranger at Green Knowe begins in equatorial Africa amongst a family of gorillas, far from the beloved mansion of Green Knowe. There, a 2-year-old gorilla and his sister are captured and their parents and baby brother killed. The gorilla, named Hanno by his captors, lost his sister, too, who wasted away on their journey from the Belgian Congo to England. Poor Hanno ends up, alone and lonely, at the Monkey House in a zoo near London’s R

Number 4 of the six-part Green Knowe series...Green Knowe is based upon an actual English house where author Lucy Boston lived: The Manor at Hemingford Grey built in the 1130s complete with moat and gardens; it is one of the oldest continuously occupied houses in Britain -- there are wonderful photos online for the curious: search using the name of the house (The manor at Hemingford Grey) or the village (Hemingford Grey.)

Number 4 a bit unusual...a book with compassionate nature writing...a MES
May 15, 2009 Allison rated it liked it
I read this book for a Young Adult Book challenge. The task was to read two books that won award each from a different country's list. Stranger at Green Knowe won the Carnegie Medal.

I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would after reading the first twenty pages or so. I wasn't fond of the section told from the point of view of the Gorilla. Perhaps I'm too literal, but I'm not a huge fan of the anthropomorphizing of animal thought as narration.

Once Ping became the primary narrator
Beth Bonini
Mar 06, 2012 Beth Bonini rated it liked it
I haven't read any of the other Green Knowe books, but scanning through the comments made on this one suggests it is an anomaly. Green Knowe is meant to be an ancient house in the English countryside (near Cambridge?) where all sorts of magical things happen. Magic of a sort does happen in this book; at least "magic" in the sense of something extraordinary and highly unlikely. A gorilla (who has escaped from Regent's Park Zoo) and a boy named Ping (himself a refugee, and thus displaced) meet in ...more
This has always been my least favorite of the Green Knowe books. It is divided into three parts, the first of which I still find surprisingly boring as it datedly and sentimentally follows the family life of a tribe of gorillas. The tone of this book is much sadder and less magical than the others in the series, though it is pleasant and heartwarming to watch the growth of the companionship between Ping and Mrs. Oldknowe.
Momoka Yamaguchi
Nov 26, 2014 Momoka Yamaguchi rated it liked it
1. Oxford level2
2. 11/23=85minutes
3. A gorilla- a boy-a stranger-escape- zoo- refugee-help-
4. A) Ping lay down on his back like a dog, to show that he was only a small, friendly animal.
B) The scene was surprising me. If I was the boy, I thought I would die.
5. I was moved by the love between the gorilla and the boy. I think animals which are in the zoo are not happy. Animals should live feely.
Mar 23, 2008 iamtedae rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young fans of fantasy
Shelves: favorites
Part of a six-book series, this book is uniquely entertaining: magical, surprising, and a little, just a little, frightening, it capitalizes on the feeling that the oldest houses keep some of their history within their walls. This book actually departs somewhat from this very successful strategy; there is little to no supernatural interaction or fantasy elements such as time travel. Instead, we have the exotic... a Chinese "orphan" and a displaced gorilla striking up an unusual relationship on t ...more
Denise Spicer
Nov 18, 2015 Denise Spicer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults, fantasy fans, older children
Ping returns to Green Knowe as Mrs. Oldknow’s guest for the summer holidays. This time an escaped gorilla is hiding in the thicket and Ping befriends it.

As usual the author has lovely (and loving) descriptions of the fantastic old house and its garden. But it is a sad book, even for, or maybe especially, for adults. Not really appropriate for younger children.
Arisa Shimokawa
Jun 10, 2014 Arisa Shimokawa rated it liked it
1.Oxford level2

2. 6/9=85minutes

3. Gorilla, boy, refugee, zoo, escape, secret, help

4.(a)The scene which the gorilla, Hanno, tried to help the boy.
(b)I like this scene because Hanno was placed dangerous position, but he tried to help the boy. I was deeply impressed by his kindness.

5. I felt the love between human and animal.
Elinor  Loredan
Feb 03, 2012 Elinor Loredan rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
None of the subtle development of the first two books. And I miss Tolly and Mrs. Oldknow's stories too much. There are some lovely descriptions and it starts out promisingly, especially with Boston's characterization of the forest and gorilla family, but the rest is unsatisfying. So disappointing after my hopes for the series beyond the first two books!

Some quotes I like:

'Ping had the kind of imagination that never dismisses anything as ordinary. Nothing was ordinary to him. What was always mos
Aug 14, 2015 Josephine rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
As a child, I ws rather disappointed in this one, as it had no magic, no ghosts, no sense of history. Philistine that I was, I just could not dredge up the interest in gorillas, or animal rights! Coming back to it as an adult, I am now quite glad that Ping/Hsu got his very own book--he didn't seem terribly fleshed out in "River"--not to mention reading of Hanno's joyous flight to the freedom he's not known for ten years.

I don't know how much scientists' take on gorillas has changed since "Strang
Apr 04, 2014 Heffalumpi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Although this is a children's book it is so well written. I'm not sure that today's children would find it so engaging as there are no wizards, magic or vampires, this is such a tragedy as the prose puts many adult books to shame.
Virginia Walter
Mar 28, 2009 Virginia Walter rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I first read this classic British novel more than 40 years ago when I was in library school. Winner of the Carnegie Medal in 1961 and an ALA Notable Book for Children, it is a haunting story of a Chinese refuge boy, displaced from his home far away, who discovers a strong empathy with Hanno, a gorilla in the London Zoo who has also been displaced from his home far away. When Hanno escapes from the zoo and shows up at Green Knowe, the country estate where Ping is visiting, he tries to keep him sa ...more
May 11, 2013 Belinda rated it really liked it
I enjoyed having a book all about Ping.
This is possibly the saddest of the series, the theme of being homeless and snatched from native lands is strong.
I liked that the plight of gorillas is explored too.
My bugbear? Some of the writing seems a bit racist and Ping is the little, different Chinese boy. But I believe it is fondly done, the grandmother makes her comments as a compliment not a put down, or perhaps because she is of a generation where difference was noticed.
Still a very good book an
Jan 22, 2015 Maggie rated it it was amazing
I love all the Green Knowe books, for all their datedness. Reading them felt like going home.
Feb 16, 2016 LeAnne rated it liked it
This one has a whole different feel to it and didn't fit as far as I was concerned. Not a bad book, just not what I expected.
Jun 26, 2013 Kyohei rated it liked it

1. OXFORD Level.2

2. 80 minutes 6/25/2013

3. 1. gorilla 2. zoo 3. a boy 4. kill 5. cow 6. forest 7. refugee

4. Q-What do you have memories in the zoo?
A-I went to the zoo when I was a child so I didn't remember about zoo. I liked watching monkeys.

5. I tried to read this book because a cover of this book had a gorilla so I was interested in this book. The story of this book is nice but people killed gorillas. I thought people kill often wild animals so we should protect wild animals. I like this boo
Yuval Amir
Dec 25, 2014 Yuval Amir rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Takahiko Masuda
Jun 19, 2013 Takahiko Masuda rated it liked it
1.Lucy M.Boston, Oxford, Level 2
3.gorilla, zoo, cage, wood, wild, cow, keeper
4.Do you have experiences of being helped by animals? What?
No,I don't.
5.This is the good animal story but I think that there are a lot of books which is similar to this book. The story is written about the friendship between animals and person. The main animal of this book is a gorilla, and he helped a boy from a cow. He broke the cow’s neck like a stick. He is strong and very kind. I respect the gorilla.
Jul 17, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, juvenile, green, knowe
This is an anomaly among the Green Knowe books; it's the only one that contains no magic in the strictest sense of the word. But it's Lucy Boston and Green Knowe and it has its own special magic in the tale of Ping, a Chinese orphan, and the unlikely bond he forms with Hanno, a runaway gorilla. Neither of these characters are exactly what you would expect to find in the heart of the English countryside, and yet Green Knowe takes them both into itself and makes them its own.
Alaina Sloo
May 19, 2013 Alaina Sloo rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-grade3-to-5
Fourth book in the wonderfully spooky Green Knowe series, though this book in the series is missing the spooky elements common to the other books. Originally published in the 1950s, these books are great for grades 3-5.Read the first book in the series, The Children of Green Knowe first. The Children of Green Knowe ...more
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Also published as Lucy M. Boston. Full name: Lucy Maria Boston, born Lucy Wood.

Boston was a British author noted for her longevity; she did not have her first book published until she was over 60. She is best known for her Green Knowe books, inspired by her home The Manor in Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire, one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Britain. B

Boston was educated at a Susse
More about L.M. Boston...

Other Books in the Series

Green Knowe (6 books)
  • The Children of Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #1)
  • Treasure of Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #2)
  • The River at Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #3)
  • An Enemy at Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #5)
  • The Stones of Green Knowe (Green Knowe, #6)

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