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Bedknob and Broomstick by Mary Norton : Illustrated by Erik Blegvad

Bedknob and Broomstick by Mary Norton : Illustrated by Erik Blegvad


New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971. Book club edition. Hardcover. 189 pages ; illustrated ; 22 cm. In original dust jacket with firm binding, clean and unmarked pages.


With the publication of The Borrowers and its sequel The Borrowers Afield, Mary Norton was established as one of the most distinguished and best-loved writers of our time and a writer whose books will be cherished by generations of children to come.

But before the Borrowers had made their place in our literature and in our hearts, there was The Magic Bed-Knob and Bonfires and Broomsticks, two delightful books about the Wilson children—Charles, Carey, and Paul. On a never-to-be-forgotten visit to the country one summer they discovered Miss Price; discovered her, moreover, riding on a broomstick—though somewhat uncertainly! Miss Price, a prim and rather lonely spinster, was studying to become a witch and was nearly ready for the advanced course. To be certain the children would keep her secret, Miss Price gave magic power to the brass bed-knob of one of the big old beds in which they slept, a power that would end if they betrayed her. Thus their voyaging began—not as well ordered as they had anticipated, but much more exciting, for the "flying bed" landed them on a cannibal island, as well as in a London police court. Two years later, when almost miraculously they were able to visit Miss Price again, it landed them— by a backward twist of the knob—right in the middle of "history."

Now, for the first time, these two enchanting books are brought together in one volume, brilliantly illustrated by Erik Blegvad, whose pen has caught the very essence of the tales. Once again Mary Norton, who has woven humor, imagination, common sense, and kindness into these magical adventures, will bring all readers, young and old, under her spell.

Mary Norton's first love was the theatre, and in the days of Lilian Baylis she was a member of the "Old Vic" Shakespeare Company. She gave up acting, however, upon her marriage with Robert C. Norton, whose fam-ily—shipowners—had been resident in Portugal since the end of the Napoleonic wars. There, where her home was in the depths of the country and rather isolated by bad roads, she began to write. There, too, her children—two boys and two girls—were born. Until a recent move to the country,' Mrs. Norton lived in a little eighteenth-century house in the Chelsea district of London. She still acts occasionally but spends more time with her writing—for the theatre and radio as well as for children. The Borrowers, first published in England, was awarded their Library Association Carnegie Medal as the most distinguished book of 1952. Mrs. Norton tells the further adventures of Pod and Homily and Arrietty in The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, and The Borrowers Aloft.

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