Lovely book :). Honestly, this was an absolutely enjoyable read. The first couple of chapters were a little bit slow and boring, admittedly but from chapter 3 it was exciting and adorable and really funny. And here's why:
- The author's imagination. The games he invents for his two main characters are so enjoyable and funny. Like when he has them pretend they're Christopher Columbus on their way to America - and then they turn over a table in order to make a boat, get all kinds of provisions from the kitchen cupboard and have to battle imaginative storms etc. in order to reach their destination. :)
- The range of topics. This is a book not only about poverty, but also about friendship, about parents and children, about honesty, even about gender stereotypes - which is pretty impressive considering this was written in the 1930s.
- The characters. I love how imaginative and brave Dot (the female character) is - in that she can turn even the most boring or desperate of situations into a fun one. Like when the two children are at the hairdressers and she pretends to shave her dog. Or when she secretly pays a visit to Anton's teacher, to explain to him why her friend has not been doing his homework recently (as his mother was deathly sick, which he was too proud to tell his teacher). And Anton is just a sweetheart in the way that he cares for his mother while she is ill, and how protective he feels of Dot. :)
Two points of criticism though: the bad guys in all this may seem a bit one-dimensional in that their motivations are never revealed. For instance:
- Why was the nanny even engaged to this burglar? Why didn't she break it off?
- Where did the burglar even come from? And why did he need the money? (I'm just saying that evil usually doesn't come from noting ...)
Also, the character of the mother seems a bit one-dimensional and perhaps a bit dated - in that she is neglecting her "duty" to look after her child while the father is out earning money for the family. I'm a bit split about judging the book badly about this though, because thankfully she doesn't have a sudden epiphany in the end that she should be there for her daughter 24/7 ... but all the same she is portrayed as a pretty selfish and stupid character in the book. A sort of socialite upper class woman who has no time for her family because she would rather be in the spotlight of society. And I'm not much in favour of a portrayal like that. (This shouldn't put you off reading the book though because a) the mother has a really, really minor role in the book and b) the book WAS published in 1931 ... so I feel like I should cut the author some slack here :).)
All in all, I would definitely recommend this book to everyone - children and grown-ups alike. :)