The Children of the New Forest

Frederick Marryat
Published by:
Puffin Classics
Suitable for ages:

This book was written as a historical children's novel, but given that it was written in the 1840's, it has now become a historic novel in another sense.

The theme of the book is the English civil war between the Royalists and the Parlimentarians in the days of Oliver Cromwell. It is told from the perspective of four siblings from a Royalist household. It is full of adventure, hard work and bushcraft, so that it will excite any reader that likes stories of survival, ingenuity or war.

I believe that time has made the book something other than what the author intended when he published it. It's political opinions have become so distant from the modern reader, that the reader can now enjoy the views expressed in the book in more objective, fun and philosophic way.

The book is long and rich in content. It has many wonderful things to offer. The storyline is gripping, full of action and adventure. The characters achieve impressive things that children will be excited by. There is a lot to please those who like scouting, bushcraft, forest life and survival. The book contains many passages of interesting philosophy, well thought-out sociological observations, and great insight into human nature.

Many of the characters are heroic and admirable. Readers will also get a better idea of historical British politics, social and economic organisation.

Several things show the age of the book. For example, it is unashamed of speaking openly about cultural differences, or of embracing class distinction. The book comes from a past time, before political correctness, and it allows us to see something of how people of the past thought about themselves. Many readers will love this book and become enthused by it, others will take issue with its opinions - but it is well-written and interesting, with many remarkable passages. It offers much food for thought.

This book is a well-written multifaceted captivating adventure story from the past that children (especially boys) will love. A wholesome book. Perfect for those who like bushcraft.

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