Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay
|Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: The sequel to A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is surprisingly good - it wraps up all the loose ends neatly, and stays true to the original, whilst bringing a fresh and modern sensibility to proceedings. Hilary McKay was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: September 2009|
|Publisher: Hodder Children's Books|
Wishing For Tomorrow picks up where A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett left off. Avert your eyes if you've not read the first book - and if you haven't, why not?
Sara Crewe has riches beyond her wildest dreams and she is putting them to good use. However, she's skedaddled from Miss Minchin's Select Seminary For Young Ladies, leaving behind Melchisedec the rat, little Lottie, and most of all, her best friend Ermengarde. Sara's sent a couple of postcards, but everything has become quickly and horribly mundane for those she left behind at Miss Minchin's.
Sequels are dangerous things, particularly sequels written to classics so long after the original. Despite Hilary McKay's excellent reputation, I didn't have high expectations, simply because it is a sequel. I was proven completely wrong. Wishing For Tomorrow perfectly taps into the mindset of A Little Princess without being tepid and repetitious. It maintains a similar worldview, but brings the style up to date for a modern audience. It follows on impeccably from the first book, but has more than enough quality to stand alone. Revisiting a classic was a risky move, but it's certainly paid off.
My one criticism is... no, criticism is far too strong a word. Call it a difference in taste. Everything is a bit too neatly tied up this time round for my taste. I can see why - the main reason for writing the book was to tie up loose ends in the original, and settle some unanswered questions. However, this time round it means that everyone has a full explanation for their behaviour, taking the edge off some of the baddies. Yes, the characters are more nuanced, and maybe I'm far too long in the tooth to be thinking of people as goodies and baddies, but the neat package feels a little convenient. That's just nit-picking over a matter of taste, and it certainly doesn't affect the quality of the work.
There are plenty of nods to the first book, which fans will appreciate. You will benefit from reading them in order (most importantly because the original is an excellent read), but Wishing For Tomorrow could work as a standalone book if you so desired. It's crisply and fluidly written, with a clear and engaging vocabulary that's perfectly pitched at its young audience. It's a fantastic read and comes warmly recommended by Bookbag.
Thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag. We also have a review of Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay and Sarah Gibb and The Sticky Witch by Hilary McKay.
There are plenty of further reading choices in our Top Ten Classics of Children's Literature, but for something a little different, take a look at The Pirates' Treasure (Tumtum and Nutmeg) by Emily Bearn. Theme-wise there's little in common with Wishing For Tomorrow, but it has a similar old fashioned sensibility which warms the heart. Slightly older readers will love The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall.
Hilary McKay was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.