The first time I read this book was about 20 years ago, and I have loved the book ever since. Probably apart from my textbooks which, whether I like oThe first time I read this book was about 20 years ago, and I have loved the book ever since. Probably apart from my textbooks which, whether I like or not, I had to read repeatedly in high school and college, this is the book that I’ve been reading again and again from the first to the last page for most times.
The story is set in an all-male boarding school – or to be exact a Gymnasium called Johann-Sigismund in Germany. Unlike many other books about teens living in dorms, the story does not last a term, but instead only portrays a couple of days in the life of five Obertertia students. They’re preparing for their Christmas musical performance, but at the same time they also have to face several important events, from school-brawls over silly reasons against the student of the local Realschule (isn’t that big!) and personal troubles.
Although written in a relaxed, funny manner, the book also deals with problems like self-confidence, self-esteem, poverty, loneliness, doubts about the education system – the things that have been, and will always be, haunting teens of every age. And the teens in DFK, although they may live tens of years ago, are characters that we can still relate to in this time and age. There’s the poetic, dreamy Johnny; there’s the sharp, lone-wolf Sebastian; there’s the intelligent, proud Martin; there’s timid, ‘cowardly’ Uli; there’s rough but basically kind-hearted Matz.
There are a lot of things that we can learn and ponder from the book, although the book itself does not feel patronizing. Kastner carried out his main purpose as an author of books such as Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer: he told a story, and he did it well. He built characters, without wasting too many words trying to describe them all; as we follow the dialogues and the events, we can understand the characters involved in the book.
Truly a gem.
(By the way, if you try to Wiki this book, some of the information in the page was provided by yours truly. Yes, I love the book that much.) ...more
This is one of the most unforgettable books that I read in my childhood. I have only read three Les six compagnons book, but this one is definitely thThis is one of the most unforgettable books that I read in my childhood. I have only read three Les six compagnons book, but this one is definitely the best. The first of the series, the book heart-breakingly tells the story of a boy ('I') being forced to leave his peaceful rural area (where he might keep his dog Kafi) to dirty, cold, industrial Lyon - and that means he must abandon his dog too. So begins days full of hardship and loneliness when he has to adapt to his new environment and his new friends, while his mind keeps on thinking of how to reunite with Kafi. But his efforts lead to a surprising adventure...
The other two books in the series I read was more of the usual teen adventure style, though. Not as brilliant as this one And maybe I felt that I could relate with the main character because we too moved around a couple of times when I was younger; hence I could understand his feeling of being in a place completely new to him....more
Astrid Lindgren was a fantastic author of children books – I think we all know that. In our childhood, we must have read, or at least seen or heard, hAstrid Lindgren was a fantastic author of children books – I think we all know that. In our childhood, we must have read, or at least seen or heard, her books – either the Pippi Longstocking series, or Emil series, or some others of her vast array of work. Kalle Blomquist (or Blomkvist) may not be as popular as Pippi or Emil, but the three books starred by him and his two bestfriends, Anders and Eva-Lotta, are some of the most fascinating children books I’ve ever come across.
Kalle Blomquist books are geared more towards the young adults, a bit older than the children who may read Pippi and Emil. The main character is Kalle, a dreamy young boy who imagines himself a great detective, but people, including his friends, understandably, only laugh at him. Come on, nothing happens in a town as sleepy and peaceful as theirs, except for the playful Wars of the Roses fought nobly by Kalle, Anders and Eva-Lotta against some of their other friends.
Turned out that the other people are wrong – but that’s predictable, isn’t it? Or else we wouldn’t read anything about Kalle and the other lively characters in the book. What I loved the most of these books is how Lindgren portrayed the lives of the characters as children growing up in a small town. She wonderfully, skillfully spun words to show us how the kids feel, running barefeet under a summer sun, playing in the ruins of a castle near their town, wind sweeping their hair, feeling so alive; they brought back my memories of the innocent times when I too enjoyed games like theirs.
And Kalle should not worry – there are mysteries to solve by the Great Detective Kalle Blomquist, even when he has to do his daily chores in his little, remote town. ...more
While having to adapt to his new environment - moving from mountainous Montana to flat Florida - Roy Eberhardt encountered two strange kids that leadWhile having to adapt to his new environment - moving from mountainous Montana to flat Florida - Roy Eberhardt encountered two strange kids that lead him to a local environmental rescue effort.
Entertaining and educating at the same time, without being, like my friend said, "educative like Big Bird". The film's also worth watching....more
Urm, yeah, when I came across this book, it looked promising. Wow! Science, detective story, and art meshing into one book for children! But I was notUrm, yeah, when I came across this book, it looked promising. Wow! Science, detective story, and art meshing into one book for children! But I was not impressed by the mystery solving that leaned more on mere hunches than true logical reasoning....more
I didn't even know that this book had been re-released (I've read this when I was a child, and I still have my old, battered copy with me!). It deservI didn't even know that this book had been re-released (I've read this when I was a child, and I still have my old, battered copy with me!). It deserves it, because it's truly entertaining, and outstanding because it's not really about children going happily on a vacation and get involved in an unexpected adventure, or of unfortunate children under pressure who suddenly find that there's some Destiny waiting for them... anyway.
The story is about some poor children living in a slum area, who don't even care about what poverty is, and who think everyone past 12 years old has lost their intelligence for good. One of their major fun was a headless rocking horse, now given wheels to slide adventurously from the top of hilly roads. One day they find that they are not the only people interested in the ugly horse...
One thing about Whyteleafe, the school The Naughtiest Girl (namely Elizabeth Allen) goes to: it's not a single-sexed school like other boarding schoolOne thing about Whyteleafe, the school The Naughtiest Girl (namely Elizabeth Allen) goes to: it's not a single-sexed school like other boarding schools in other series made by Enid Blyton (except for St. Rollo, but then it's a standalone, not a series). When boys and girls go to the same school, there can be different types of drama. No, non-platonic/non-familial love and sex are of course virtually non-existent from Blyton's work, but the way the characters interact just makes me grin, as if there are more in there than just care between friends. That's what make stories of Whyteleafe cute.
But now let's talk about the main character first: Elizabeth Allen. Elizabeth is a fortunate, charming girl; but here's what's so interesting about her: Blyton installed her with many flaws (just like she did to many of her main characters). Elizabeth makes mistakes; she easily loses temper; but that's why readers love her. Because she's just like us - not a Mary Sue (that many of us pretend or wish to be).
This semester, Elizabeth's still struggling to shake the title 'The Naughtiest Girl' off her. She's a monitor now, so she must behave even better! But things are not so easy, because there are new students that can make Elizabeth's semester another hell: one of them is Julian, the green-eyed boy who is one of the most fascinating characters boarding school series have ever known. As a young girl I was in love with Julian. How can't one?
Elizabeth and Julian laugh and fight and cry and face their own problems and their own demons, and we follow them trying to make themselves better and each other better.