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Children of Winter

Children Of Winter - Berlie Doherty Ever since I was a child I've loved survival stories, and I remember really enjoying this one. On a second reading as an adult I still found it a nice read. The story follows three children in 1666 as they survive a Winter in an old barn where their parents have sent them to avoid the plague ravaging their village. If you're looking for action and lots of things going on then this isn't the book for you. What it does give is a realistic insight into the time and the situation, and with the three children of varying ages you get to experience with them a variety of emotions from childish innocence in Dan, to the worries of Catherine, thrust into adult responsibilities.

I thought the idea of using a modern family as a link to the corresponding family in 1666 was a neat idea, but that it wasn't utilised to full effect. We only got the first chapter and a very brief final chapter with the 'modern day' Tebbutts, and I think a few more encounters with them would have fleshed out the connections nicely. I also found the ending to be a bit too ambiguous.

There are a few potential issues for younger readers. Firstly, it may be difficult for children unfamiliar with Yorkshire dialects - there's a lot of 'thees' and 'thas' thrown around. Also, when a writer is presenting characters from a different time period it's still important to make them relatable to a modern audience, but with this book being written in the 1980s I feel that it may no longer be successful with that.

On the whole I would recommend it for any kids who are interesting in survival stories or learning a bit about what life was like in the 1600s. It's an easy enough read if they can handle the dialect.