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Whistle Down the Wind

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

Mary Hayley Bell was born in Shanghai and spent most of her early youth in China. She was on the stage for some years, but when she married actor and producer John Mills, she gave up her stage career and devoted her time to raising her family of two daughters - Juliet and Hayley - and a son, Jonathan, Besides five plays produced in the West End, she has written her autobiography and three novels. Whistle Down the Wind is her most successful novel, with itss huge appeal for both adults and children. The 1961 film version starred her daughter, Hayley, as the sparky heroine, Brat. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chivers Large print (Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & C (November 30, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754030601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754030607
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,030,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
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?
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've long been fascinated by the story line of Whistle Down the Wind. My daughter purchased the original London soundtrack for me when she was in Europe in 1999. So I bought the book to try and finally read the original story that launched a broadway play. However, the book is very hard to read, at least for me. The story line is some kids find a man in their barn and they think he is Jesus. I won't give away any more than that, but you need to be an above-average reader to really enjoy this book. My opinion only based on my personal experience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Whistle Down the Wind" has long been one of my favorite movies, and I recently found out it was based on a short book, written by Mary Hayley Bell (the mother of Hayley Mills, who starred in the movie.) It was also made into a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which I haven't seen, though I'd dearly love to. I've ordered the CD and am looking forward to that.

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!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A simple story of small town, rural, community. But, great Musical Theater by Andrew Lloyd Webber with music and lyrics by Jim Steinman.

get the music on DVD or iTunes. It's great. Don't miss "No Matter What", by Boy Zone.
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