HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Village School: Book #1 in “The Fairacre Chronicles” Series
Author: Miss Read (Dora Jesse Saint)
Illustrator: John S. Goodall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, reprinted in 2001
Language level: 3 (an occasional “d” and “h” word)
Reading level: Ages 16+
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Read, Miss (Saint, Dora Jesse). Village School: Book #1 in "The Fairacre Chronicles" Series (originally published in 1955 in England by Michael Joseph and then in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Ave. S., New York City, NY 10003). Jan Karon is one of my wife, Karen’s, favorite authors, and her "Mitford" series is one of my wife’s favorite book sets. Jan Karon has recommended "The Fairacre Chronicles" saying, "If you’ve ever enjoyed a visit to Mitford, you’ll relish a visit to Fairacre." These books are carried by Christian Book Distributors. I purchased them for Karen, and she read them all. Then I read them. Though fiction, they are based upon Mrs. Saint’s experiences of living and teaching in a small English village. There are a little bad language (an occasional "d" or "h" word), some common euphemisms, a few occasions of drinking alcohol, references to the questionable parentage of a couple of the school children, and gossip about village "affairs" (I mean marital and unmarital ones).
As a result of such things, these books would not be suitable for younger children to read alone, but most of the offensive material could be edited out for family reading with some forethought and planning. There are six books in the series. After Village School come Village Centenary (1980), Summer at Fairacre (1984), Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre (1989), Changes at Fairacre (1991), and Farewell to Fairacre (1993). Mrs. Saint has also written other books related to Fairacre that are listed–Village Diary, Storm in the Village, Miss Clare Remembers, Village Christmas, The Fairacre Festival, Emily Davis, Tyler’s Row, Village Affairs, Mrs. Pringle (this might be the same as Mrs. Pringle of Fairacre—or at least most likely about the same person), and Tales from a Village School–but are not part of the Chronicles. She has also authored a similar set of "Thrush Green" books, carried by CBD as well. If you like stories about life in a quaint English village with a lot of dry British wit, you should enjoy these books.