How the Heather Looks
|I love the fake vintage cover!
In 1957, a little family came into some money, enough to spend a summer abroad. Both husband and wife were half-English and had grown up on the British classics, and they wanted to introduce their young children to the real places that had inspired the literature. So they spent a summer traveling around England, finding Caldecott's villages and farms, Christopher Robin's woods, Mrs. Tiggywinkle's farmhouse, Rat's house on the river, and King Arthur's castle. Or as close as they could get, anyway.
Each chapter is dedicated to one author and a section of the trip. Bodger casts these episodes as quests, while keeping the real-life frustrations that befell them. She is a marvelous writer and manages to evoke the atmosphere of each classic story and each landscape. She also packs a lot in; this is not a short book, and she lingers over each section, describing everything in wonderful detail. Lovers of children's classic literature will be satisfied.
How the Heather Looks was originally published in the 1960s, but happily there is now a reprint available. It was one of those books that hardly anyone knew, but those who did guarded their copies jealously.
The major drawback of reading this is that it makes you want to drop everything and head off to the UK so you, too, can boat on the Thames and play Poohsticks on the original bridge. So, beware!