Before video games and television and tablets, children used to come up with their own adventures. Many of these were based on the books they read–they mimicked heroes and heroines from stories of mystery and wonder. Dirt wasn’t an enemy, but a tool, to be washed off at the end of the day in time for dinner. Anything that could be found in the environment became a prop–sticks, stones, leaves, a broken piece of brick.
I’m not saying it’s better or worse…it was just simpler, maybe. Kids are always going to be kids and will always find ways to feed their imaginations, no matter what tools they have available.
The unnamed narrator of The Story of the Treasure Seekers (unnamed because he wants you to figure it out on your own) tells us about several adventures that he and his brothers and sisters concocted. Their mother has died, leaving a mourning father and The Fall of the Fortune of the Bastables. Obviously, it is up to the six Bastable children to raise money so that their devastated father’s happiness will return. The sentiment is very sweet, but they get up to so much trouble. Every single plot they come up with goes horribly awry, and the adults in their universe pity them so completely that you just want to smother them with hugs. Not that they would ever accept that, of course.
I imagined our brave little narrator as a sort of Gavroche character–rebellious, ornery, but definitely the leader of the clan. Every child had his/her own personality, but I think my favorite was Noel, the solemn little poet. Some of them were quite good!
E. Nesbit wrote this is the late 1800s, and it’s one I can see a group of siblings cuddling around in the nursery to read before bed. It’s going on the list to buy my nephew when he gets old enough–technology or not, I think any 7-10 year old would love these old-fashioned silly little adventures.