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THE LITTLE GREY MEN

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Denys Watkins-Pitchford was born in Lamport, Northamptonshire on the 25th July 1905. He was the second son of the Revd. Walter Watkins-Pitchford and his wife, Edith. His elder brother, Engel, died at the age of thirteen. Denys was himself considered to be delicate as a child, and because of this was educated at home, while his younger twin, Roger, was sent away to school. He spent a great deal of time on his own, wandering through the fields, and developed a love of the outdoors, which was to influence his writing. He had a great love of the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, fishing and drawing, all these things were to influence his writing greatly. At the age of fifteen, he left home and went to study at the Northampton School of Art. He won several prizes while there, but was irked by the dry, academic approach, and longed to be able to draw from life. It's also an adventure story to rival 'The Hobbit'. The language is sublime, but it’s not a book for children alone; as with the great works of fantasy associated with younger readers, mature readers may also find the books transporting.

For yes and in my opinion, The Little Grey Men is first an foremost B.B.'s, is Denys Watkins-Pitchford's both textual and visual celebration of the bucolic green and tree covered heart of England, although there is also below the surface quite a bit of featured melancholy as there most definitely exists in The Little Grey Men a massive feeling of nostalgia and also of regret for a landscape that is slowly but surely disappearing and being changed, being pushed into modernity (as throughout the story of the last gnomes of England searching for their brother, B.B. balances sweetness and descriptive glory with the harsh realities of civilisation encroaching on the gnomes and destroying or at least irrevocably changing their magically green and delightful existence). And while some readers might well and easily consider the storyline of The Little Grey Men, as B.B., as Denys Watkins-Pitchford has it unfold a bit tedious and rather endless with its constant descriptions of landscape, of vegetation and scenery, for me personally, this is precisely why I have simply loved loved loved The Little Grey Men (and that I also do think there is still more than enough excitement and adventure textually present).Would I recommend it? No. Certainly, for the basic storyline alone, it stands up fairly well despite the main characters being somewhat two-dimensional and twee, and it's nowhere near Salar The Salmon or Tarka The Otter in its narrative, but it has its merits. For example I enjoyed the meandering nature of the storyline which for me reflected the route of the stream they followed; a nice, if not deliberate, touch. The response of BB’s gnomes to the drying up of their stream is a perfect expression of the oikophilia — love of home — described by Scruton. This book was about the three gnomes in England (Baldmoney, Dodder, and Sneezewort) searching for the fourth-last-gnome-in-England, their brother, Cloudberry. They decide to built a boat to find their brother (seriously, no sibling would do this for each other nowadays 😭), which leads them to so many new friends and adventures.

Access-restricted-item true Addeddate 2013-01-28 20:02:59 Boxid IA158323 Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark II City London Donor For The Little Grey Men, published by Eyre & Spottiswoode in 1942, BB won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. [1] Incredible. Just mind-blowing. Really reminds me of The Hobbit 😭 (Though I'd still rather live in the Shire). A children's book (nothing to do with aliens) and the epic story of the last gnomes in England, who explore upstream in search of their missing brother. The story finishes with Dodder producing a shell of his precious Elderberry 1905 wine and lots of high revelry and fun being enjoyed by all the Stream People who could squeeze into their tiny little house!And, one other thing, in one instance the illustration was out of place in the book, as it showed accidentally what would happen (ie: the 3 gnomes would be reunited) before it happens in the story!! The Little Grey Men established (Denys Watkins-Pitchford, A.K.A. ‘B.B.’) at the forefront of children’s literature. He was an active conservationist, and according to Matthew Oates, the author of His Imperial Majesty: A natural history of the Purple Emperor butterfly (to be published by Bloomsbury), he played a significant part in rescuing the Purple Emperor from local extinction by nurturing its larvae in his garden and fighting the Forestry Commission who kept removing its food source, the sallow. Marcus Crouch, Treasure Seekers and Borrowers: Children's Books in Britain 1900–1960, The Library Association, 1962, p. 92.

Sneezewort is the youngest, most sensitive gnome who follows the lead of his older brothers and is usually assigned the less interesting tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Its stature was recognised by the award of the Carnegie Medal in 1942 and it is the very best and the most well known of all his children’s books. It was probably inspired by his own childhood sighting of one of the little people in his bedroom. As ever, the book is full of BB’s superb scraperboard and colour illustrations. The exciting adventure captures the imagination using detailed descriptions of English fields, streams, and woodland which beguile the reader into thinking that under the root of any tree in the dappled shade beside a running brook there might well be a whole other world.I love adventure stories, especially ones that take you on boat journeys. And now I love those that are piloted by wee little gnomes that are thousands of years old. There’s lots of stuff to love about this book; it’s an exploration of wildlife, and a celebration of biodiversity and communality.

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