As a child, I adored the Uncle books, which chronicle the adventures of a fabulously wealthy and endearingly pompous elephant who rules over the vast and ramshackle kingdom of Homeward while wearing a purple dressing gown.
J.P. Martin’s descriptions of the ongoing battles between Uncle’s loyal followers and their enemies at Badfort capture perfectly the spirit of English schoolboys in which one side is continuously waging war against the other side, simply because they are the other side — and no...more
I had forgotten how funny this book is (I last read it when I was about eight). Other people may also appreciate the letter Uncle receives in Chapter 3 from the citizens of Badfort:
To Uncle, the arch-humbug, impostor, and bully....more
Yesterday your worst deeds were out-don
Have you ever seen an eight-year-old create a story? They come up with an idea, then expound upon it, adding details in an emerging narrative stream of consciousness. Logic and reality take a backseat to the flow of the story and all those silly details.
J.P. Martin managed to channel his inner eight-year-old for this entertaining book.
It's about a fabulously wealthy elephant named Uncle who rules his house named Homeward, which is also a sky-scraper city. He is rich because of all the dwarves wh ...more
Uncle is a fabulously wealthy elephant whose home (appropriately called Homeward) is too big to be called a mansion, or even a castle; it is a city unto itself where some of the smaller towers are only thirty stories high. Uncles' wealth seems to come mainly from the rent he charges the inhabitants of Homeward- one shilling monthly, which isn't much but considering how many dwarfs a ...more
I think I lack the English Nonsense Appreciation Gene because I can't bear Spike Milligan's children's books either.
Perhaps it's the lack of actual connection between characters and way the seeming randomness of plot and detail suggest an absence of the writing craft that I admire in someone like Aiken.
Philip Ardagh has the eccentric nonsense flavour but uses it together w ...more
In Uncle's realm, you will meet eccentric villains who need the Hero, our beloved Uncle-- to fill their time with plans for mayhem and marauding-as much as the Hero needs them in order to conquer, vanquish and be heroic.
One of my standards for a fine children's book is, does the book begin with a map and or list of characters? Uncle has both. This is possibly the finest read-aloud ever for mult ...more
I found out that there was plenty not to like about _Uncle_. All the way to the ending I was busy trying to pinpoint why it didn't meet with my expectations. I was supposed to enjoy this, and I didn't. Why?! What went wrong?
At first I thought it was me. Maybe I couldn't really get into the story, because I wasn't focused enough.
But then I realized that the fault is in ...more
I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters and didn't really find any of the adventures particularly interesting.
Uncle himself is a outsized English co ...more
J.P. Martin (1879-1966) was born in Yorkshire into a family of Methodist ministers. He took up the family vocation, serving when young as a missionary to a community of South African diamond miners and then, during the First World War, as an Army chaplain in Palestine and Egypt, before returning to minister to ...more