Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Bagthorpe Saga

The Bagthorpe Saga
by Helen Cresswell

This series, although written for children, will appeal to anyone with a taste for the outre, the eccentric, the slightly off the wall, the outrageously funny. The titles are: Ordinary Jack, Absolute Zero, Bagthorpe's Unlimited, Bagthorpes v the World, Bagthorpes Abroad, Bagthorpes Haunted, Bagthorpes Liberated (plus two more our library does not own; use your interlibrary loan privileges and ask for Bagthorpes Besieged and The Bagthorpe Triangle) Meet the wacky Bagthorpe clan: Grandpa, who is selectively deaf. Grandma who loves in order: herself; her dead and often lamented cat Thomas; and that shining jewel of a child, her granddaughter Daisy Parker. Henry Parker, Grandpa and Grandma's son, who becomes easily irate at the antics of his family. He is a script writer and often disappears into his study to work--although he often listens at the keyhole to the antics going on outside. Laura Bagthorpe, Henry's wife, who attempts, and usually fails, to keep sanity in the family. Her alter ego is Stella Bright, advice columnist. Rosie Bagthorpe, Henry and Laura's precocious daughter. William Bagthorpe, Henry and Laura's eldest son. Jack Bagthorpe, Henry and Laura's youngest son and the Ordinary Jack of one of the titles. His attempts to break out of his "ordinary" rut in Ordinary Jack end in his (faked) reputation as a prophet. Celia Bagthorpe Parker, Henry's fey and elfin sister. Russell "Uncle" Parker, Celia's husband, who drives sports cars, often spewing gravel as he drives up to the Bagthorpe home; he is wealthy and there is some mystery about the source of his income. He needs the money to pay for the havoc his daughter wrecks. He is totally devoted to Celia and will do anything to further her comfort. Daisy Parker, the only child (thank goodness) of Celia and Russell. Daisy owns a beribboned goat named Billy Goat Gruff. She talks to an invisible friend named 'Arry 'Awk. She delights in setting fires. She calls Grandma Bagthorpe Grandma Bag and Henry is Uncle Bag. In Bagthorpe's Unlimited she becomes charmed by her cousins' plot to grow maggots. In Bagthorpes v the World Daisy holds a number of funerals. Aunt Celia calls it her "Intimations of Mortality phase." Daisy is an enfant terrible. Mrs. Fosdyke, the Bagthorpe cook, who fascinates her friends the Mesdames Pye and Bates down at the local pub, the Fiddler's Arms with her tales of the family. Zero, Jack's dog, who becomes a dog food commercial sensation in Absolute Zero. Will the Bagthorpes win more contests? (They enter a great many in Absolute Zero.) Will they establish the record for the world's longest daisy chain (in Bagthorpe's Unlimited). The television program Night Court is not a book, but if you were a fan of that program, you will undoubtedly enjoy this irrepressible Bagthorpe series. -- recommended by Rianne S. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Bagthorpe Saga page on Wikipedia ] [ Helen Cresswell's Literary Legacy on the BBC web site ]
Have you read any of these? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

No comments: