'At last she reached the brow of the hill ... now the country opened out below her and she looked down into a wide and lovely valley ... Still patched with snow the little fields spread like a carpet below her and here and there a farmhouse with barns and golden ricks was clearly seen. Across the plain ran, straight as a ruler, a railway line and she saw a toy train puffing and crawling across the picture.Malcolm Saville's classic novel from 1946 is about eleven-year old Jane's discovery of nature and country life during a year spent convalescing on her uncle's farm, after having been dangerously ill in post-war London. This deeply-felt novel was written while Saville was extending his range as a writer, alongside his very successful Lone Pine adventure series, and nature anthologies for children. Inspired by the experiences of Saville's own god-daughter, this marvellous novel is full of the wonder of discovery, as well the happiness of regaining health, making friends, and learning to love the natural world. The novel is also a record of rural England eighty years ago, written by one of the great twentieth century English nature writers. The Introduction is written by Hazel Sheeky Bird of the University of Newcastle. The illustrations by Bernard Bowerman have been reproduced from the first edition.
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