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The Wouldbegoods

E. Nesbit

Book Overview: 

The Bastable children, first met in The Treasure Seekers, are sent to stay in the countryside; is it large enough to contain their exuberant activities? They (and Pincher the dog) have every intention of being good…

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Denny did the words on it.

It was something like this:

Dead for Queen & Country
Honor to his name and all
other brave soldiers."
[Pg 59]

We could not get in what we meant to at first, so we had to give up the poetry.

We fixed it up when it was dry. We had to dig jolly deep to get the posts to stand up, but the gardener helped us.

Then the girls made wreaths of white flowers, roses and canterbury bells, and lilies and pinks, and sweet pease and daisies, and put them over the posts, like you see in the picture. And I think if Bill Simpkins had known how sorry we were, he would have been glad. Oswald only hopes if he falls on the wild battle-field, which is his highest ambition, that somebody will be as sorry about him as he was about Bill, that's all!

When all was done, and what flowers there were over from the wreaths scattered under the tombstone between the posts. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Pleasant and charming.

I read a volume that included both The Story of the Treasure Seekers and The Wouldbegoods with an incredible introduction by Noel Streatfeild - if you can find this volume, do read it. I come to Nesbit quite late in life - she wasn't an author I enjoyed as a child. She's a very modern writer - sh...more

Proving once again that children need to be unsupervised to have adventures.

The second collection of so many hilarious misadventures of the Bastable children!

Back to my childhood - a re-read of a book first published in 1901. What 8 children did in the school holidays whilst trying to be good and failing miserably. The blurb at the front of this re-publication says that it's suitable from 8 years upwards to grandparents. This got me thinking - how man...more

Edith Nesbit’s life was certainly unconventional by late Victorian and Edwardian standards, and it’s not surprising that her own childhood experiences and adult observations find themselves thinly fictionalised in her novels, particularly those written for children. Typical is her re-use of names...more

The Edwardian-era children in all of Edith Nesbit's stories live life with zest. Unlike many of her other tales, the three books she wrote about the Bastable siblings do not involve magic. The six unquenchable Bastables don't need magic--they get into enough trouble all on their own. They rarely...more

Very good. At first I was slightly baffled: I never thought of the Bastables as naughty in the first book, but the kind of trouble they get into made sense. I really liked the idea of a "Would-be-good" society and it really gives the narrative a solid arc. There are some gems in this book. Oswald...more

Continuing the series about the Bastable children is The Wouldbegoods, in which the children discover that having money again and living in their Indian Uncle's fancy house in town does not make them automatically desire to be good.

I didn't find this nearly as much fun as The Treasure-Seekers....more

This book is the sequel of 'The Treasure Seekers', which is a brilliant book. In 'The Wouldbegoods', Dora, Oswald, Alice, Dicky, Noel and H.O. are banished to the countryside with Daisy and Denny to live with Albert's uncle, one of their friends. Dora, Alice and Daisy make up a society, and you c...more

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