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The Twelve and the Genii
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The Twelve and the Genii

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In his new home a young boy finds twelve old wooden soldiers with definite personalities and a fascinating history that once belonged to the famous Bronte children.
206 pages
Published April 28th 1977 by Puffin Books (first published 1962)
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  261 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Miriam
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miriam by: Megan Whalen Turner
Shelves: younger

I'm sorry I didn't know about this book as a child, I think it would have been a favorite. It is very much in the tradition of classic British children's fantasy, a la E Nesbit and Edward Eager.

Moving to a new house near Haworth, young Max finds a set of wooden soldiers hidden in the attic. Once the possession of the Bronte children, the soldiers have taken on the identities from the Brontes' youthful stories and come to life.

The plot is charming and gentle, and Clarke portrays the modern chil
...more
Lori
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a dear little book, that I read because of the Brontë connection and loved because of Butter Crashey.
rhea
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with imagination
Recommended to rhea by: Teresa Brader
Shelves: favorites
I wish I had known this book my whole life, or at least the semester I took Children's Literature. I would have voted for this book when we were deciding what our last book for the semester should be. I was hooked the moment the first wooden soldier said his name was Butter Crashey. Max, the young boy in the story who finds the soldiers, was perfect he didn't overly annoy me or seem too grown-up like in some children's books. He invented words, got sad when people teased or didn't believe him, b ...more
Ivan
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the very best children's books I've ever read. Beautifully conceived and written, and the author has done a splendid job of bringing the twelve to life in a way that never once panders or condescends to it's targeted child audience. The English countryside - a small village - toy soldiers that come to life - the Bronte's - there is something for everyone. This story is endearing, suspenseful and humorous. I didn't want it to end. I thought the young protagonist "Max" was a perfectly reali
...more
Ivan
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the very best children's books I've ever read. Beautifully conceived and written, and the author has done a splendid job of bringing the twelve to life in a way that never once panders or condescends to it's targeted child audience. The English countryside - a small village - toy soldiers that come to life - the Bronte's - there is something for everyone. This story is endearing, suspenseful and humorous. I didn't want it to end. I thought the young protagonist "Max" was a perfectly reali ...more
Margaret
Branwell Brontë's father once gave him a set of wooden toy soldiers, which Branwell and his sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne played with and wrote stories about, which eventually became masses of childhood writing about the kingdoms of Angria and Gondal.

In The Return of the Twelves, a boy named Max discovers the soldiers and finds out that they're alive; the imagination of the Brontës endowed the toys with names, personalities, and histories of their own. Max and his sister Jane cherish the so
...more
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Max Morley has just moved into an old farmhouse when he discovers a set of twelve wooden soldiers hidden beneath a floorboard. At first, he thinks they are just old toys, but when he begins to hear them speak and see them move, he realizes there is nothing ordinary about them. In discussions with Butter Crashey, their leader, Max learns that the twelves were once owned by four genii, whose imaginations gave them a long history of adventure an
...more
Emily
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, fiction
Exactly what a children's book should be: extraordinarily imaginative, includes interesting historical facts without hitting the reader over the head, and magical. I only wish I'd gotten to read it as a child!
Sandra
This is an incredible book! I even went to Haworth, England to see the house that the Bronte's lived in hoping to see the soldiers. Imagination is a wonderful thing.
Katherine
I'd never heard of this book before reading about it in How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children's Books. It's a delightful story about a young boy discovering the twelve wooden soldiers of the Bronte children. Sure to charm a reader, of any age, who enjoyed books like Mistress Masham's Repose, The Borrowers and The Indian in the Cupboard. Particularly appealing for those who have an interest in the Bronte juvenilia.

4.5 stars
Desertisland
Quotes:
(Page 66) He unbolted the back door and stepped out into the moon. His sharp eyes searched the yard. There he was. It was certainly Stumps, standing still, his shadow like a little clothespin. Max wondered whether it felt terrifying to be so little in such a huge world, under such an enormous moon-washed sky! He thought of all the other small creatures, mice, toads, beetles, some much tinier than Stumps, ants and spiders and furry caterpillars. No doubt to God, he, Max seemed quite as sma
...more
Kathryn
Mar 28, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, middle-grade
Do NOT get 1st American Edition; lots of typos.
Dianna
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for any Brontë fan (brontyfan).
Amy
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm thinking this lovely book is one I'd want to read to children. The story of the twelve toy soldiers trying to make their way back to Haworth, where their stories were actually created by Branwell Bronte, was such adventure. I wasn't sure how the author was going to work it, but she did it so well. It's reminiscent of the Indian in the Cupboard and now I want to read about Branni Bronte myself. A thank you to the author for bringing this story to me.
Dixie
This is such a sweet story, especially for a "brontyfan" (Brontë fan). I loved it as a child and now, fifty years later, it holds up beautifully.
Jean
Apr 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, europe-awards
I loved the soldiers. And getting to learn something about the Brontes. Very suspenseful at times.
Sue
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the very best children’s books I’ve ever read. How I wish it didn’t end.
Ada Sevener
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like the book because it has a lot of ADVENTURE! It is a great book for 7, 8, and 9 year old kids.
Valerie
By the time I read this, I was in no doubt as to who the 'Twelves' were. I was expecting that the invention would be of the caliber of the juvenalia of the Bronte children. I hadn't read the juvenalia at the time; only Charlotte's History of The Year 1829. Since then I have read what portions of the juvenile manuscripts survive. And it's much different from this, which is a children's story.

In many senses the Brontes were never really children. They didn't have a nursery: it was 'the children's
...more
Gale
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE POWER OF GENIUS

When 8-year-old Max discovers a box of 12 wooden soldiers
in Napoleonic uniforms, hidden in the attic of their new home,
he is naturally delighted. But is there a link between this old house and the Bronte museum nearby? His find becomes a rare
treasure when he realizes that The Twelves are alive, having
been endowed by their four genii (the literary Bronte children)
with incredible abilities: to think, speak, behave and regenerate their lives at will! Each man has his own name, a
...more
Jennifer Heise
This was recommended to me as a classic, and a classic it is indeed. The interactions between the young man and the aged toy figures, granted life by the extraordinary creativity of their first owners, is at the same time childish and also mature, in the peculiar way of British children's books of its day, but the storyline, and the characters, are right up there with those of Mistress Masham's Repose
Wordwizard
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another should've-read-years-ago book. Just delightful. I want to read the Bronte's stories of the Young Men now.

All these books I've been reading--good, well-written British children's books published forty or more years ago--have been making me feel like writing fiction again. I don't know why it is, but I really like it!
Steven Drachman
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this over and over again when I was in second grade; I even searched far and wide for The History of the Young Men, the book purportedly written by Branwell Bronte about his toy soldiers, which inspired this novel. Now my daughters are reading it, and loving it as much as I did.
Eileen
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this children's book!!! Brought back the good old days of "The Velvet Room" and "The Borrowers" and "Mary Poppins" and "Pippi Longstockings" and all the other books about kids finding secret treasures. Well, it was a little hard to get, I had to interlibrary loan it, but it was very good.
Marjorie
This is a wonderful story about Branwell Bronte's 12 toy soldiers ( they are magical, if you remember).... I won't say more! Very good children's book. I recommend it to be read aloud or just read....by children and adults alike.
Julia
Reminded me strongly of some of my favorite books from childhood, I bet my star rating would have been higher if I had read it at a different time in life. I believe this book is best read aloud to fairly young children, perhaps in the 4-7 age range.
Elizabeth Meadows
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
I read this book many years ago and loved it! Highly imaginative and well-told story. I became obsessed with the original owner of the Twelves and enjoyed exploring the history of the Bronte family.
Margaret
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten about this book till I saw a mention of the Bronte family on a blog today. This isn't about the Brontes, exactly, but there is a connection, and this is a great kids' novel (9-12 age group, I think) that shouldn't be forgotten.
Mckinley
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy, family
Small people alive - liked the Borrowers books much better.
Su-Lin Lye
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
It had so much potential
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“It did not seem odd to Max that what he had imagined about Stumps was really true, because this was exactly how games you made up worked. Of course they were true. In your mind.” 6 likes
“Oh, Mr. Rochester, I'm sorry," gasped Jane.

For he had turned around and was looking at her without seeing her, it seemed, his eyes dark in his pale face. At least, that was what Jane thought.

Come in, come in, Jane," he said, and he laughed. "What did you call me?" Jane walked into the room very gently and gracefully, as she always did, and not knowing quite what to say. She looked at her feet and then up at Mr. Howson.

Mr. Rochester," she said very softly. "We call you Mr. Rochester at home, because I think you're like him, and I'm sorry, I got muddled up.

And do you know who I think you're like?" he said. "I think you're like Jane Eyre."

Have you just been reading it?" he asked.

"Yes. I love it. I love Mr. Rochester. I'm going begin reading it again."

"Most girls like Mr. Rochester," he said. "I suppose because he's so mysterious?"

Jane nodded. She did not know why she like him, but this might be one reason. Her face was flushed from racing around the garden, and glowing with her ideas about Mr. Rochester. And Mr. Howson thought to himself that Jane would grow up soon into a beautiful girl and have to marry a quite ordinary man, like himself, like any man, and not all all like the amazing Mr. Rochester. Whereupon he prayed to God there and then to send her a good, true one who would value the flame inside her and not dim it.”
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