“Children are like jam: all very well in the proper place, but you can’t stand them all over the shop — eh, what?” These were the dreadful words of our Indian uncle. They made us feel very young and angry; and yet we could not be comforted by calling him names to ourselves, as you do when nasty grown-ups say nasty things, because he is not nasty, but quite the exact opposite when not irritated. And we could not think it ungentlemanly of him to say we were like jam, because, as Alice says, jam is very nice indeed — only not on furniture and improper places like that.
The Wouldbegoods is the further adventures of the Bastable children: Dora, Oswald, Dicky, Alice, Noel, and H.O. Add in a few neighbors for a recipe of trouble and mishap. It is not that the Bastable children set out to be bad, to make trouble for themselves and for their father, far from it. The children intend to be really, really good, which is why they form a club about being good, recording and rewarding their good deeds. The chapters read more like a collection of stories than a novel. Each chapter contains an adventure or misadventure!
For readers looking for old-fashioned family-oriented stories, this one is a quick, fun read. It is not my favorite E. Nesbit novel. But. Oswald is a good friend.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews