The Children Who Lived in a Barn, Paperback
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 248 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General
  • ISBN: 9781903155196



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

I first read this book when I was a child and was very taken with the idea of living in a barn with no parents. Reading it as an adult I find the whole premise of it quite amazing - parents just disappear and children pretty much left to get on with it. Worth reading for its curiosity value.

Review by

My Mother recommended that I read this book when I was younger, but warned me that the final two pages had been ripped out. It took me 14 years to source another copy and I am so glad I did. It is a fabulous book that I would recommend to anyone, particularly as it is a tale without violence and hate that so many contemporary stories have.

Review by

The Children Who Lived in a Barn is a children’s novel, set in an English village. When Mr. and Mrs. Dunnet are called away to be with a sick relative, they leave their five children (Susan, Bob, Joseph and Samuel the twins—called Jumbo and Sambo—and Alice) at home to manage by themselves. When the children are evicted, they move into a local barn, which they quickly make into a cozy home.It’s a charming story. Of course, the logical side of my brain keeps poking holes in the story line—there’s no way in real life that these children, the oldest of whom is 14, would ever be allowed to stay at home by themselves or live in a barn. But the fantasy is part of the charm of this novel, and I’m sure that if I’d read this growing up, I would have enjoyed it much more. The novel kid of reminds me of the Bobbsey twins, mixed with the Boxcar Children series that I read when I was younger.I liked watching how the five children managed, particularly under the direction of Susan, who seems so much older than 14, and Bob, who seems much older than 13 (it’s always in novels that children seem older than they really are!). The ending is of course completely implausible, a bit of a dues ex machina with a heavy number of coincidences in order to wrap up the story, but I kind of liked it, in an odd way. Part of the fun of children’s books is how escapist they are; things don’t have to make sense, which is something I tend to forget when I’m reading! In all, an enjoyable book, but since I’m out of practice in reading children’s books,I didn’t like this one as much as some of the pther Persephones I’ve read.

Review by

(25 December 2011 – from Ali)A charming book, half-remembered as I read it, so I must have absorbed the Puffin edition as a younger reader, about five siblings whose parents disappear. Set in the 1930s, a more innocent time, although obviously with more freedom, too, we see what happens when the village pulls together, in various ways, to support them when they move into a local barn. Sue struggles with the housework, her 11 year old brother does all the DIY, and the twins and youngest girl cause all sorts of mischief. I love it because it tells you exactly how they go about doing things, something reminiscent of the Swallows and Amazons books and very satisfying (not that I will ever feel the need to construct a haybox or cook a rabbit), and for the emotional sincerity. As other reviewers have mentioned, the part of the plot involving the parents is a little clunky, but it really doesn’t matter, as the book does what it sets out to do, and there are some great scenes and character development, as well as the excellently portrayed sibling relationships. A great read.