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Thursday's Child

(Margaret Thursday #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,145 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Story of irrepressible Margaret Thursday, an orphan determined to go far, and the friends she makes along the way.
Published September 6th 1999 by HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (first published 1970)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,145 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who love orphan stories and strong female characters
Margaret Thursday is an orphan who was found with three of everything, of the best quality, and had money left each year to keep and educate her. However one day this money runs out. Margaret is sent to an orphanage where she endures hardship, hunger, and punishment, but her ebullient personality triumphs. This is an un-put-downable book. So readable we discovered that we could walk our dog and read aloud at the same time ! Lovely descriptions of life on a barge and a travelling theatre. Learnt ...more
I finally got my hands on this favourite from my childhood. I didn't actually remember the plot, other than there being an orphan on a train with a basket containing her things, but I remembered being quite passionate about it when I was 8 or 9 or so. It's out of print now, and the library copy was missing for months after I put it on hold, then suddenly turned up. Lots of glorious details I'd forgotten - not only a plucky orphan, but also a terrible orphanage with an evil Matron, some kind and ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Streatfeild seems always to drift to her strengths - quasi-orphans, kindly adults, and kids on the stage - but she does it so absolutely beautifully.

Having just finished Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight, I was struck to find "rough music" in this one too.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger
This is a plucky-and-reasonably-high-class-orphans-run-away-from-cruel-institution story, which is pretty much its own subgenre. I think I read it as a child (the part where they hide out on the canal boat seems really familiar) but didn't find it as memorable as her more famous "Shoes" books, even though she does work in some theater.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long. Too much of the other family of children, not enough of Margaret, and nearly nothing of the other orphans... no effort to being concise and therefore not much well-explored. A fair bit of time was spent with other adults, but then they're all dropped, discarded. Abrupt ending, but despite that I have no interest in the sequel.

I don't recall any other other wicked orphanage head being punished, even any other orphans being rescued after the hero makes good her escape, so that bit was satisf
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It gives your memory a strange jolt to see books from when you were 8,9,10.
Recommended for: All Ages, lovers of orphan stories

Rating: G

I've always loved orphan stories. Something about that nature of hard luck story, the hardships they endure, the adventure of running away, the "rags to riches" of some nature that so often follows, just grabs my imagination. Thursday's Child by Noel Streatfeild claims the title of my favorite orphan story. It has everything one could wish for in such a story: a spunky protagonist, intriguing secondary characters, a cruel orphanage Matr
Cleo Bannister
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
Thursday’s Child by Noel Streatfeild was ‘my book’, I think I was initially drawn to it partly because I was born on a Thursday and secondly because I had loved Ballet Shoes. Thursdays Child tells the story of Margaret who was left on Church Steps in a basket with three of everything of the very best quality and a note

“This is Margaret whom I entrust to your care. Each year fifty-two pounds will be sent for her keep and schooling. She has not yet been christened”

The year Margaret turned ten the
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
That's better.

Having just read and been crashingly disappointed in two different "Shoes" books, I was more than ready for this classic rags-to-riches tale of the not-quite orphans and the foundling who leads them home. Jane Eyre meets Oliver Twist and The Little Princess in this wishfulfillment tale of the fiesty young foundling who knows (like the Fossils before her) that she will have to make her own way in the world, and is determined to make it big. The Countess' attitude to her servants is
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There seemed to be plenty of stock issues in this book: the orphan who runs away from the mean orphanage-keeper, the long-lost orphans who are really aristocrats, the kind teacher / lady who fixes things. But that doesn't include the lovely interpolation (I think that's the word I mean) of Jem's family with his parents' boat and his aunt-and-uncle's theatrical troupe. His family and the adventures with him really made everything come quite alive, and kept the story going much longer than I thoug ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrensnovels
An interesting story about eleven-year-old Margaret who is sent to an orphanage and has adventures with friends she meets there. Has a happy ending that I enjoyed.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly improbable, but good escapist fun.
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this many times as a child, but returned to it reluctantly as an adult, because I dimly remembered it as wall-to-wall child cruelty and hardship. Well, it’s not quite that bad, and it has a cracking plot, but it’s not one for the faint-hearted.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful Christmas gift when I was ten
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jolly-good

A bit ridiculous but very Dickensian.
Summary: Margaret was found on the church stepson a Thursday in a basket with three of the best of everything -- the kind rector gave her the last name Thursday and set out to make sure she had a good life with two older ladies with a big house. But when the ladies have gotten to old to take care of her, it is time for another place to live and when nothing is found she is sent to the orphanage. Little do they know how bad off the children at the orphanage are under the rule of a cruel matron th ...more
Pamela Hatch
I had heard the author's name for years but never read anything by her. I came across this title in a free box of discards at the local library. It took me a while to start it because it was an old hardback that looked very old-fashioned and the type font was very small and the there was 276 pages.

The story itself is about an orphan named Margaret who cannot stay where she is and thinking it is in her best interest is sent to the orphanage. But the orphanage is not what it seems to be but is rat
Clover White
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read of a childhood favorite. I went hunting for a copy of it because I thought I remembered it being thrilling, and thought my kids would enjoy it as a read aloud. Well, I couldn't wait long enough to read it to my kids. Rereading it as an adult, I found the plot a little more thin than I remembered, but it was a fantastic soap opera for kids. Mean orphanages, children with mysterious births, coincidences-- it has it all! It is definitely a product of its time, in that children of ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good story. The parallel between the Beresford children and Little Lord Fauntleroy was pretty engaging. I feel like Streatfeild really missed a chance to tell us the most interesting story of all: the mystery behind Margaret's "three of everything of the best quality" and the fifty-two pounds every Christmas in the garden. I wonder if those questions get addressed in a sequel, though I'm not sure I was captured enough to go look.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Suomeksi Torstain lapsi. Ihana orpotarina, näistä tykkään. Luonteikas orpotyttö lähetetään kasvattiperheensä luota orpokotiin ja monien sattumusten kautta hän päättää karata ja ottaa mukaansa kaksi pientä poikaa. Karkumatka on vaihteikas ja yllättäen lopussa käy ilmi että joku orvoista saattaakin olla aika rikkaasta perheestä :)
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a Thursday child myself I loved this book when I read it as a girl.
It started out really good but about halfway through went downhill. Skimmed to end. Meh.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Thursday’s Child’, set shortly after the start of the 20th century, is the story of ten-year-old Margaret, who was left on a vicarage doorstep as a baby. It was written in 1970 so is a historical rather than contemporary novel, and it paints a good picture of life in various contexts from the point of view of a child.

This isn’t a typical Streatfeild book: there are no highly gifted children, at least not until Margaret discovers a talent towards the end. There’s a somewhat unlikely coincidence
Dec 15, 2006 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids and grown-up kids
My favorite book when I was a child. This is the story of a girl (Margaret) who runs a way from an orphanage in England in the early 1900s because they beat her and punish her. She works as a scullery maid until she can get her friend/(brother?) out. Then she works on a boat pushing the boats through the locks with her feet--I guess this was how they brought boats up and down channels--before becoming discovered and working as an actress in Little Lord Faunteroy. I remember this book vividly alt ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
Re-read. An old favorite. Set towards the end of Victoria's reign, this is the story of Margaret Thursday, a foundling. The vicar who found her gave her that surname since she was found on Thursday. He also found her a home with two local spinster sisters. But now that they are growing older, and no money arrives for Margaret this year, new arrangements must be made. So she is sent to an orphanage, where she meets the Beresford family. Adventures ensue. The story is very much character-driven as ...more
Tatianna Tibbitts
Jun 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book used from the library when I was about eleven, and it's still one of my favorites. Set in Victorian England, it seems to have all the earmarks of a children's adventure story, right down to the part where the children discover they are really heirs to millions (that isn't what happens, but it's close). But the characters, especially Thursday's child herself, Margaret, are so real and so vibrant (with the possible exception of the evil orphanage Matron) that I would recommend t ...more
I foolishly assumed that just because this book was about the horrors of a turn-of-the-century orphanage & stuff that there wouldn't be any theatre or dancing involved...HAHAHA HOW WRONG I WAS. This is Streatfeild, people, and she won't let you forget it. (Not that I mind either of those things, but her attachment to them in amuses me.) Also, it's super predictable and the pacing is weird. But she has some good characters--yay Peter!--and I'm a sucker for orphanage/school s ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
My favourite, favourite when I was nine or ten. I managed to destroy a copy with excessive reading and had to be bought a hardback copy! ANd what is more, it stands rereading, strong characters, fast pace, multiple setting which appeal to the romantic notions of small girls - orphanage, canal boat, theatre. Vintage Stretfeild.
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thursday's Child might be full of cliched characters and plot, but the impact it had on me was the value of the self: every person in the world is worth something, even if he or she is just an orphan. We should be proud of ourselves, especially when we have done something we thought we could never do. Try reading this book again using that point of view.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
My grandchildren are too young for this yet but when they're older I hope that they'll love it as much as I do. It's a wonderful lesson in determination, self belief and loyalty but without preaching or pushing it down the reader's throat. It's also a terrible indictment of orphanage life in late Victorian times - not all were like that I'm sure but it must have been fairly accurate.
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Mary Noel Streatfeild, known as Noel Streatfeild, was an author best known and loved for her children's books, including Ballet Shoes and Circus Shoes. She was born on Christmas Eve, 1895, the daughter of William Champion Streatfeild and Janet Venn and the second of six children to be born to the couple. Sister Ruth was the oldest, after Noel came Barbara, William ('Bill'), Joyce (who died of TB p ...more

Other books in the series

Margaret Thursday (2 books)
  • Far to Go (Margaret Thursday, #2)