The Children of the New Forest, Paperback
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Cavalier and Roundhead battle it out in the turbulent setting of the English Civil war and provide the background for this classic tale of four orphans as they face adversity, survival in the forest, reconciliation and eventual forgiveness. This is the first enduring historical novel for children, which conjures up as much magic today as it did on first publication.

The freedom from adult constraint allied with the necessary disciplines to survive in a hostile world make for a gripping read.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic
  • ISBN: 9781853261107


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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

When I first read this, I adored this and thought it was pretty much perfection. I read it over and over again, until the covers fell off my copy. I had that reaction to a lot of children's books, and I can't quite find the enchantment again in this one, which makes me sad. I decided to reread it after I came across a reference to it in one of the books I read for Introduction to Children's Literature.<br/><br/>It isn't really a very easily accessible text in some respects: rather biased, sometimes dry, rather didactic. Historical fiction is a turn-off in itself for some people. I remember being drawn in by the characters, though -- some of them are a little too good to be true, but Edward is at least a bit of an idiot sometimes, overly impetuous and jumping to conclusions. Alice and Edith are somewhat non-characters -- indeed, so is Patience, actually -- so I'm surprised I found so much to relate to, as a child. I suppose I didn't really care about whether the characters were male or female. Now I found the story surprisingly short on everything I was more interested in, in the later part of the book -- how exactly Edward gets on in the fighting, for example, and a more satisfying way of bringing all the characters together at the end. The ending paragraph or so is quite an irritating dry summary.<br/><br/>Still, there is still some of the magic in learning how they become so self-sufficient, in how clever Humphrey and Pablo are, and in the forest adventures. The stuff outside of the forest doesn't ring as true, though.

Review by

There's nothing like a child's book to put you in the midst of history while understanding what children did when faced with adversity. Marryat did a phenomenal job, but then anyone who knows this period of time as well as he did couldn't help but do a phenomenal job.