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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Love from Nicky
by Hertha von Gebhardt
Age Range: 6-8
It is Nicky Turnerís eighth birthday. His mum, who is an actress, canít be with him on his special day because she is acting in a pantomime in another town. Dad is also an actor and is away most of the time rehearsing at the local theatre. Among the parcels delivered by the postman, there is a present from Granny. When Nicky opens it heís disappointed to discover that it contains only paper for writing letters. Soon he discovers the other half of his present, a name-stamp and ink pad that Birdie, the housekeeper had nearly thrown away by mistake. This will make writing letters much more fun as Nicky can stamp the envelope with his own name and address.
Nickyís best friend Pip (Phillip) Hammond is invited to his afternoon tea party and he brings along his seven year old sister Karen, which initially Nicky isnít pleased about but they soon become friends. Pip is taken ill during the birthday party and has to be taken to hospital.
Nicky starts writing and sending letters to everybody he can think of: to Pip in hospital, to a window cleaner to ask if he will do the windows so that Birdie wonít have to climb a ladder and to a business adviser to see if he can help advise on the situation of his mum working too so far from home.
Nicky is nothing if not enterprising, even ending up providing suggestions on what childrenís books to read after seeing a notice in the local bookshop window asking customers to vote for their favourite book. Nickyís dad is not best pleased when he discovers that all the stamps from his desk have been used up. Nevertheless, heís proud of his son when a reply is received from Mr Douglas (the Business Adviser) who helps to get the family reunited.
Love From Nicky is another winning formula from German author Hertha von Gebhardt (1896-1978) who has managed to construct a strong, sympathetic and believable character full of tenderness and compassion. Nickyís caring nature in wanting to help others by sending letters to anyone he believes can help makes this a truly delightful and highly original story.
The black and white drawings by Elfriede Stegemeyer (1908-1988) are charming and expressive and perfectly match the humorous tone of the story.
Other Hertha von Gebhardt titles on the website are: The Girl from Nowhere (1958) The River Post (1961), Toffee and the Small Car (1961) Ruthís New Friend (1963), The Building Site (1964) and The Boy in the Glasses (1967)