Friday, September 25, 2015

Betty MacDonald's favourite books and writers

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

I'm writing a Betty MacDonald Fan Club story about Betty MacDonald's favourite books and writers. 

I'd need your support. 

Thank you so much. 

Write to my email account, please. ( see Betty MacDonald Fan Club Newsletter Page 1 )

I'm sure Betty MacDonald would like Ingrid Noll's and Gwen Grant's books. 

Both are wonderful writers.

We hope you'll enjoy the reviews of books by Gwen Grant. 

Betty MacDonald Fan Club honor member Gwen Grant belongs to my favourite writers.

It's such a joy to read her unique books.

Have a very nice Saturday,


Vita Magica

Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 



'Publishers speak of books which will make you want to both laugh and cry, for once this one really does. Gwen Grant's completely authentic recreation of her native North Nottinghamshire speech, thought and humour, unifies the everyday events of a year in the life of a girl, the youngest of five, growing up in the poor area of a market town with a colliery nearby. The pathos comes unsought in the hardships of family life on a low income and the frustrations of the youngest trying to assert her identity in constant clashes with her older brothers and sisters, and the parents who must discipline her. The reader senses the underlying bond of affection which ties together the family, even the older members who attempt to break away into adulthood.
PRIVATE-KEEP OUT is what the heroine writes on her box of treasures, including this book, written on clean paper bought for her by her mother at a jumble sale for three pence and therefore not to be wasted. The characters are bursting with life, cheerfulness and a sense of humour constantly breaks through, and there is compassionate understanding of the adults, the chorus of the neighbours and above all, the narrator herself, dogged, naive, accident prone and delightful. Children will enjoy the escapades of this female William but it is the adults who will see the significance of the picture painted and appreciate the minute observation which makes adventures out of little.


Review from PRIMARY HISTORY 16

'Gwen Grant's PRIVATE-KEEP OUT is the story of a high spirited girl, the youngest of six children, growing up in the Midlands just after the war. First published in 1978, the book is well worth seeking out - not solely because its plot centres around the device of the author's diary. However, if you are looking for a counterpoint to ADRIAN MOLE, ANNE FRANK or SAMUEL PEPYS, look no further than this. KNOCK AND WAIT sees the return of the heroine of PRIVATE-KEEP OUT, this time sent off to hospital in the first days of the NHS. Again the text is simple and appealing and will be well within the compass of many upper KS2 pupils.'


A second book about the heroine of the author's previous story 'Private-Keep Out.' The child (whose Christian name the reader never knows as the book is told in the first person), is sent away from her home in a Nottinghamshire mining village to an open-air school in Kent for a year. This is the chronicle of her life there. It is never dull, often hilarious, and at times moving. The 'Dreadful child' as the autocratic Sister Sweet calls her is obstinate, prickly, accident-prone - and devastatingly homesick. Golda, her Jewish friend, her enemies Beryl 'Bighead' and Doreen 'the Death Watch Beetle' kind Nurse Pretty, are all there for the reader to meet. But it is her family - 'our Joe', 'our Lucy and Rose', 'our Mam', and 'our Prince', (her dearly loved dog), who are most real to her and for whom she longs.
A delightful book, genuine and heartfelt, ungrammatical, but the authentic voice of a child who speaks for all children condemned to stay away from home and fearing they are no longer loved.



Two ordinary boys have extraordinary adventures in a deserted quarry. They come across ruthless criminals engaged not only in cockfighting but also in stealing priceless emeralds. They fall down precipices, encounter a savage dog, escape, get kidnapped, escape again and finally go home to their parents. It is very exciting - chiefly because the fear the boys feel in the face of these violent dangers is simply and intensely clear. The reader is pulled very closely into the experience of hiding from a large man bent on evil, or of not having the energy to run fast enough, or the strength to keep a foothold on the quarry face. All our worst nightmares are here but interspersed with considerable humour and wisdom, which allow us at the end to know the characters and foibles of the criminals as well as those of the heroes.'



The Superchamp Book series adds Gwen Grant's lively tale to a growing list. The book is pocket-sized and well garnished with colour illustrations by Kate Aldous. In 66 pages the author relates the adventures of Kenneth Grey who goes with his Grandad on a camping expedition to escape the grime and grimness of living on a grotty housing estate. It is not long before Mincer Muggs and his gang of juvenile punks appear in all their nastiness. Aggro rules, and it takes Grandad's 'walnut walloping stick' to win the day.
The writing is direct and licks along at a fast rate of knots. Characterisation is easily achieved on the page and overall there is a real feel of the streets about the story. The potential violence is realised without excess while the final come-uppance means that all works out in the end.
A pacy, exciting read for readers gaining in self-confidence.