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Whistle Down the Wind
The Amazon Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
I found an old copy of this book in the stacks of a New Zealand library. I loved it. Unlike the musical version, the focus here is on Brat, and her relationship with the Man and with her world. The characters are so well-written and I feel that Swallow's acceptance of the Man as Jesus is more believable here than in the musical, because of her age (she's 12). Brat herself is hilarious, with a penchant for having Alka-Seltzer as a meal, and little Poor Baby rolls cigarettes and tries to fend off a 5-year-old admirer. All the while, the kids take care of the Man who might be Jesus, keeping him a secret from the adults. And then corny ol'Amos gets nosy...
The book is much better, I think, than the musical. Aside from the Man, the main characters are all self-reliant, impish children-- just the kind I've always liked to read about.
But good luck finding a copy. When the musical opened, there was renewed interest in the book, but as of this writing it's gone out of print again. Most available copies are upwards of $100. Yow! If Amazon.com has no copies available, try rare book dealers in the UK.
I loved the book even more (a lot more) than the movie. It's a little like "To Kill a Mockingbird" in that it has a child narrator with a wonderful voice, snarky and wise-[...] and yet ultimately young and innocent. Her voice keeps the story from ever becoming cloying. It reminds me a bit of "Huckleberry Finn" too, though it's set in rural England in the 1950s. Maybe that's why Lloyd Webber set his musical in the South in the USA.
Here's a sample of the little girl's narration:
I mean, these grown-ups are always on about the state of the world, but always. Well, aren't they? But watch as you can, they never do anything about it to put it right.
These newspapers drive them nuts.
'I'm going to write to The Times!' they shout.
But you know they never do.
Those bombs, and murders, and lunatics at large, and polio injections, constipation, and the doctors under the control of the drug-makers; all through lunch one day they blinded and cursed about them.
That's when they get at this golden bottle. Then they don't seem to be mad any more and just start laughing.
I give up. I do really.
The children find a ragged stranger in the barn, sick with fever, limping because he has wounds in his feet. They ask him who he is and he looks around at them and mutters "Jeeezus!Read more ›
get the music on DVD or iTunes. It's great. Don't miss "No Matter What", by Boy Zone.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed reading it as it reminded me of the film, which I love dearly. Certain things that the children said
gave me flashbacks of scenes from the film. Read more
One day, a strange man enters a barn in which some children are playing. When they ask him who he is, he replies "Jesus!" and passes out. Is he Jesus? Read morePublished on November 9, 2003