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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)
River Post (The)
by Hertha von Gebhardt
Age Range: 9-11
Stephen, Tom and Michael are pretending to be sailors who have been shipwrecked on an island. They come up with the idea of sending SOS messages inside bottles dropped into the river. Each boy writes a message including their name and address in the hope that it will travel to a destination far away. They only address their messages to boys only though, so itís a bit of a surprise when they discover that Michaelís bottle has been found by a girl! Stephenís message is found by Dick, who works at the railways station, and Tomís never receives a reply.
Tomís new next door neighbour is a girl called Mandy. She tries desperately to make friends with Tom but he is having none of it as he doesnít like playing with girls. Just like Michael, he is surprised too when he finds out that the message in the bottle he sent a while ago has finally ended up next door in Mandyís garden!
This is a highly entertaining story by German author Hertha von Gerbhardt where the protagonists have been cleverly painted with their respective idiosyncratic characteristics of assertiveness, reluctance and compassion. The illustrations by Irene Schreiber are appropriate to the story and the translation and adaptation by Oliver Coburn and Ursula Lehrburger has been superbly accomplished.
Other Hertha von Gebhardt titles on the website are: The Girl from Nowhere (1958), Love from Nicky (1960), Toffee and the Small Car (1961) Ruthís New Friend (1963), The Building Site (1964) and The Boy in the Glasses (1967)