The Complete Bostock and Harris

The Complete Bostock and Harris

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by Leon Garfield

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A New York Review Children's Collection Original

The Complete Bostock and Harris combines two delightful, suspenseful, and madly funny tales about two boys in eighteenth-century England, clever and mischievous Harris and sweet but not-so-bright Bostock, who in spite of their differences are the best of friends. 

In “The Strange Affair of

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A New York Review Children's Collection Original

The Complete Bostock and Harris combines two delightful, suspenseful, and madly funny tales about two boys in eighteenth-century England, clever and mischievous Harris and sweet but not-so-bright Bostock, who in spite of their differences are the best of friends. 

In “The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris,” the wily pair put their classical education to the test when they adopt the Spartan custom of exposing infants to the wild, leaving Harris’s infant sister, Adelaide, to the elements. The boys imagine a wolf will come to nourish her, but their plan backfires. 

It is springtime in “The Night of the Comet,” and in the days before Pigott’s comet will pass over their town, Harris’s and Bostock’s thoughts turn to love: Bostock swoons over Harris’s sister Mary; Harris longs for Captain Bostock’s telescope. The boys strike a deal: Bostock will make off with the telescope in exchange for Harris’s “expert” wooing advice. Unfortunately, that expertise is not quite what Bostock would have hoped.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It’s a fine thing that Leon Garfield’s rip-roaring and funny tales should be brought back into circulation for a new generation.” —Joan Aiken

“As an extravagant admirer for more than twenty-five years, it is hard for me to believe that Leon Garfield needs any introduction . . . He has given us books written clearly, vividly, truthfully and with great regard for language. But it is their outlaw quality that will both draw the young reader into the tale and, just possibly, impel him or her to new understandings of self, others, and the hypocrisy of the status quo.” —Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, in The Horn Book Magazine

“I am tempted to say that Garfield’s stories are the tallest, the deepest, the wildest, the most spine-chilling, the most humorous, the most energetic, the most extravagant, the most searching, the most everything.” —John Rowe Townsend, A Sense of Story: Essays on Contemporary Writers for Children

“[The Night of the Comet is] the most felicitous collection of mishaps since the author’s equally Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris.” —School Library Journal
“Garfield nimbly choreographs all the cross-purpose encounters and unexpected entrances and exits, bringing the various on-again/off-again relationships to a generally happy conclusion at the climactic comet watch.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Garfield’s ability to plot these tangled events clearly into a rollicking farce while maintaining his lofty but superb style makes this one of the most amusing romps of the year.” —Booklist
“A delicious literary concoction bubbling along with the author’s perfect sense of dramatic timing and with his mixture of earthy humor and effervescent wit.” —The Horn Book Magazine

Children's Literature - Greta Holt
Rip-roaring fun! Garfield wrote these two stories in the seventies, and they resonate today as near-Shakespearean farces. Poor twelve-year-old Bostock is not the sharpest tack in the box, but his best friend Harris is. In “The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris” the boys decide to test the myth of wolves nurturing babies in the woods. They place Harris’s little sister her in the woods and wait for a wolf to come, at which point they will rescue her. Needless to say, all does not go well. A cast of lovers, parents, and strangers skew the boys’ plan, as boarding school, young love, a shady inquiry agent, and a very missing baby complicate the boys’ innocent, if stupid, experiment. Characters run every which way, carrying their misconceptions with them. “The Night of the Comet” tells of love. Harris loves Bostock’s father’s telescope, and Bostock is head over heels for Harris’s sister. Harris comes up with the plan: Bostock will get Harris the telescope and Harris will get Bostock the sister. Pigott’s comet is nearing the skyline and all the town will be out to watch. Harris wishes to watch the comet, while Bostock and many others wish to watch their lovers watch the comet. The plan goes awry: friends misunderstand each another; a duel is challenged; and Irish fix-it men search for a lost love and money. Although some sources list the book for a younger set, it can be used by teachers from seventh grade to high school to introduce British romps. Reviewer: Greta Holt; Ages 10 to 14.

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Product Details

New York Review Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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The Complete Bostock and Harris 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Storywraps More than 1 year ago
The New York Review Children's Collection is such a wonderful and special grouping.  They are reinstating classic books from the past that a whole new generation now can enjoy.  I have loved every one of the books that I have reviewed from them.  Most of the books I did not have the pleasure of reading, so it is a treat for me to be able to discover these hidden treasures (and at my age who would have thought?) and in turn pass them along to you.   "The Complete Bostock and Harris" book is a combination of two stories in one book.  The setting is in eighteenth century England and the main characters are two boys, one with brawn and one with brains.  Harris is the brainy one, a doctor's son, who cooks up adventure and gets it rolling.  His rather dull friend, Bostock, idolizes his friend's genius and helps carry out the schemes that Harris conocts.  They are steady best friends and compliment each other in a very strange way.   The first story, "The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris," has the two boys put their classical education to the test when they decide to test the Spartan theory that if an infant is left in the wild, a wolf will appear, adopt her and be instrumental in her survival.  Well it worked in the text but in reality things went a little awry. Harris decides to use his baby sister in the experiment and learns very quickly it was not going to work out well.  Will that sweet baby survive?  Will she be brought safety to her family?  What are the consequences for the two boys?   Garfield's tale is full of humour and wit with many twists and turns to keep you turning the pages to find out what's next in this saga.  It is a story begging to be read again and again. In the second story, "The Night of the Comet," the two friends team one more time. It is springtime, just days before Pigott's comet will pay a visit high over their town.  Everyone knows that in spring love is in the air, and as it happens, Bostock is smitten by Harris's sister Mary.  Harris has his eyes fixed on a beautiful brass telescope belonging to Bostock's ailing dad, so the two make a bargain, a swap really, sister Mary, for the coveted telescope.  In theory it sounds wonderful, in reality, not so much.  The story weaves in and out with relational issues that are on and off, mishaps that will make you laugh out loud, and doses of wit and charm that will have you asking for more.  With Garfield's ability to spin a tale in his creative and unique style he has the reader in the palm of his hand all the way through.  The characters are loveable, believable and drive this playful comedy right up to the last paragraph.  I know it is a story you will truly enjoy and I highly recommend it.