Charlotte Sometimes

Granny, what a good book you wrote! Now, I’m not trying to be impertinent here, as Penelope Farmer, author of Charlotte Sometimes, goes under the name of granny p when writing her blog. It’s only very recently that she owned up to being Penelope.

The bookwitch got curious when she read other blog visitors’ comments about how much they had enjoyed Charlotte Sometimes when they were children. Never having heard of either the book or its author, it was time to investigate.

Charlotte Sometimes, now a Red Fox Classic, was first published in 1969. Sometimes I feel that books from that era (and how long ago that was) don’t travel well into the next century. But that was certainly not a problem with Charlotte, who apart from the fact that she is politer than children of today, could easily pass as a heroine of the present.

Though, in actual fact, the story is about passing into the past, even then, by slipping back to 1918. Charlotte alternates between the last months of world war one and some time over forty years later. You couldn’t explain it, but it works so well and is so plausible. It reminded me a little of Mary Hoffman’s Stravaganza series, where children also go to bed and wake up in a different era.

Granny, I had to delay my kitchen chores until I had finished the book. And I almost had a little cry at the end. Wish I had read it in 1969.

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