American Book Publishers Savery icon

American Book Publishers

If success is measured by recommendations from librarians and total sales, Longmans, Green and Co. published Savery's most successful books. Others published the translations and reprints. The list is chronological.

LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.

Pippin's House. Illus. by Charlot Bowman. London : New York : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 55 Fifth Avenue, New York, 1931. 207 pp. Translated by Else Heise, 1936, into Danish in hard cover and paperback as Pippins Hus, København: Gyldendalske, Nordisk Forlag. 89 pp.

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After Savery's three previous publishers each returned Pippin's House, she entered it into a competition for children's books conducted by Longmans. The judges did not find it appropriate for the competition's age group, but Longmans liked the story and offered to publish. It was the beginning of a collaboration that would last for thirty years and include Savery's most successful children's books.

Ten-year-old Chris, a not-too-bright orphan, is pressed into service as mentor and guide for the younger, undisciplined Pippin, who is both blind and at the mercy of his guardian, an unbending great-aunt who is bitterly at law against Pippin's grandfather, stern Admiral Philip. The book is saved from sentimentality by Pippin's lack of self-pity and his strong-willed obstinacy, but Chris performs heroically, and there is a predictable happy ending for everyone. It is hard to dislike this book, although Alfred H. King sent this appraisal to Savery on April 17, 1930: Book coverBook cover
There is no doubt in my mind that you are able to write, and I think it only a question of time before you will do a book that is a success. All of which is a preamble to my saying that in my opinion Pippin's House is not such a book. Regarded as a juvenile I think the language above the head of the average child. Though there is neither the ugliness nor the gloom which some readers found in Tenthragon, neither is there the suspense which holds ones interest. To be sure, there is an insistent and continuous fragrance, a simple charm; but this is not enough.
Copies of Pippin's House are hard to come by, and I first perused it, dictionary in hand, in the Danish translation, available in the reading room of the New York Public Library. The Danish paperback is slightly taller than the hardcover, but they share the same attractive cover. There are no illustrations within the book itself. I was able to read Pippin's House subsequently in English through an Interlibrary Loan before locating a personal copy. The originals of Bowman's pen and ink drawings in the original edition are in the archives of Rochester Institute of Technology from which she graduated in 1926.

Moonshine in Candle Street. Illus. by Reginald Birch. New York : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 1937. 149 pp. Also issued, 1937, as a serial entitled Adventures in Candle Street. Chapters VI - XII were condensed and republished, 1953, as Adventure in Candle Street, illus. by Decie Merwin, in "Stories of Long Ago," Vol. 12 of "The Children's Hour," Marjorie Barrows, ed. New York: Grolier Inc. pp 179-226. "The Children's Hour" was reprinted in 1966 and 1969.

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Imperious Cynthia Delphine, known to all as Lady Moonshine, informs her India-bound parents that she must take up residence with fan-maker Ned Fane and his household. Her parents give in, as always, to the little girl's wishes, but her godmother, Ned's best customer, is offended and withdraws her custom. Although she is loved by everyone, Lady Moonshine's judgment leaves much to be desired, and no one is able to resist her irresponsible activities that leave Ned penniless. Critics praised this period piece for its "graceful tradition" and described it as "quietly charming," "wistful," and "fragile."

In 1973 Savery sent a fair copy of her work diary in four manuscript books to the Wright Library at the University of Oregon. Included in the fifth book was the transcript of a 1965 talk entitled Pleasures and Pains of Authorship, with these words:
But the pleasures of an author's life outweigh the pains... One never knows what will be found in the morning's mail. It may be a letter telling you that Reginald Birch, who in his youth illustrated Little Lord Fauntleroy is in extreme old age going to do the pictures for a book of yours.
It must have been quite a thrill to be remembered and described thirty years later.

Enemy Brothers. Illus. by Henry C. Pitz. New York : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., Aug. 1943. 313 pp. Reprinted many times including Jan., May, and Dec. 1944, Sep. 1946, Sep. 1951, Feb. 1955, and 1969. Previously issued, 1943, as a serial. New edition, March 2001. Bathgate, ND : San Francisco: Bethlehem Books * Ignatius Press, 10194 Garfield St. S., Bathgate, ND 58261. 287 pp. AudioBook published, Sep. 2002, as 90-min radio drama on two CD's by Bethlehem Books.

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Enemy Brothers established Savery as a serious children's author and was the first World War II book selected by Meigs et al. for review in A Critical History of Children's Literature (1953). Enemy Brothers was praised both for its characterizations and for its prophetic view of the effect of war upon children.
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According to T.W. Arkinson, who reviewed the book for the MONTREAL GAZETTE,
Perhaps better than any other book we have read on the war it explains in simple direct terms the real meaning of "what we are fighting for."
Wartime paper shortages required the publisher to make cuts in the narrative and to remove many of the illustrations that accompanied the serial publication. The cuts took place without Savery's assistance. In a letter to an Edinburgh publisher with an improved draft, she comments that
...these cuts were very well made, but inevitably certain small roughnesses showed through.
These she mitigated for a projected British edition, but the paper shortage and a perception that the book was no longer timely prevented a British publication.

I reviewed the Bethlehem Books edition for Amazon.com, and here, slightly edited, is that review:
I recommend this book without reservation. The author's long life coincided almost exactly with the 20th century, and this reissue, written during and set in the England of World War II, still speaks to us today.

A 12-year-old German boy, Max Eckermann, is taken to England against his will by patriots fleeing occupied Norway. Before the first chapter has ended, an English airman, Dymory Ingleford, has identified Max as his brother Tony, who was kidnapped as a toddler by a childless German woman.

Placed with Dym's family, Max's stubborn loyalty to his German citizenship pits him against his loving, but unsympathetic hosts. While the conflict centers on Max and Dym, Savery brings us back over and over to ordinary English citizens doing their bit cheerfully during the darkest hours of the war. Rationing, refugee housing, and widespread destruction, not to mention intermittent air attacks, remind us when this is taking place.

CD cover In choosing to personify the 'German evil' as 'blind obedience to ones nationality' rather than by, say, the horrors of the holocaust (not fully realized when Savery wrote), the book allows us to remain sympathetic with Max, while it still retains bite and relevancy.
There is no possible way to incorporate a 300-page book into a 90-minute radio play, but the adaptation from Bethlehem Books is well acted, sensibly abstracted, and professionally produced. A nitpick: the word 'row' (for a dispute) is pronounced to rhyme with 'tow' rather than with 'cow'.

The Good Ship Red Lily. Illus. by Nedda Walker. New York : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 1944. 197 pp. (Revised and republished, 1958, in England as Flight to Freedom)

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When Michael Ingram adopted the faith of his Puritan wife, he was imprisoned by Sir Timon, his autocratic father. Now free, but in hiding, Michael plans to sail with his large family to freedom in America. His profligate brother, Ingram, will prevent this if he can. Once Michael is safely off with his wife, it is eldest son Toby's responsibility to follow with his brothers and sisters and odious Violet Yellow, daughter of Michael's partner. Ingram wins the first round, but Toby remains determined to outwit the uncle he calls "Judas!" This is an exciting tale with finely drawn characters that brings history to life. The SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE greeted the new Savery book with the words "always a pleasure," and the NEW YORK TIMES spoke of its "genuine suspense." Other reviewers were pleased also, and the book earned a "Junior Gold Seal Award" (see Bowker's Literary Prizes).

Emeralds for the King (American edition of Green Emeralds for the King). Illus. by Victor Dowling. New York : Toronto: Longman's, Green & Co., 55 Fifth Avenue, New York 3, April 1945. 270 pp. Reprinted November 1946, 1955, 1958, and June 1961. Translated, 1947, by Allan Säfström into Swedish as Konungens smaragder, illus. by T. H. Robinson. Stockholm : London : New York: Ljus Ungdomsböcker XXX, AB Ljus Förlag. 299 pp. Printed by Klara Civiltryckeri AB, Esselte, Stockholm 47.

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Emeralds for the King was Savery's most successful book. Coupling a feeling for time and place -- the English Civil War -- with exciting adventures and a captivating cave-quest, she holds our attention and interest from the first page to the last. Book cover The disparate twins from Cromwell's army, Miles and Giles, play off well against their young Royalist halfbrother, Tosty, while the other players, from autocratic Aunt Sophia and the pedantic tutor Mr. Whernley to the austere King Charles, are lovingly drawn for our entertainment. This is a book for young and old to read again and again. It is not surprising that it was reprinted often, recommended for schools and libraries, and praised by reviewers from HORNBOOK, KIRKUS, and the LIBRARY JOURNAL to the NEW YORK TIMES, the SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE, and the WEEKLY BOOK REVIEW.

Copies of the American edition are often available to those willing to pay a premium price. Be aware that the typeface on the cover of some editions leads an occasional bookseller to list the author's name as Sabery. The Swedish translation, which I am informed is "a very good one," is based upon the American version, but uses illustrations from the English. Interestingly, the translation has two chapter-heading illustrations that are initialed by Robinson, but do not appear in the English edition, and a sketch of King Charles on horseback has been moved, appropriately, from the beginning of Chapter I in the English edition to the beginning of Chapter XXVI in the Swedish. The cover of the latter has a color picture of Tosty on horseback, but the Swedish illustrator's signature in the corner is unintelligible.

Savery wrote a prequel/sequel to Emeralds for the King when she was in her mid-eighties to entertain a sister during the latter's terminal illness. This manuscript, Haggiston Hall, was never published.

Dark House on the Moss. Illus. by Clifford N. Geary. New York : London : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., New York, 1948. 216 pp. Reprinted January 1950. Appeared Feb. through Apr. 1948 as a serial in GIRL'S TODAY, q.v. Translated, 1950, into German as Das düstere Haus am Moor, illus. by O.L. Haselmann. Nürnberg: Sebaldus-Verlag Nürnberg. 294 pp.

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If you read German, consider the translation, which is cheaper, easier to find, and has superior illustrations. Yet English is the right language for the dark, dangerous moor where Wilfred Lanthorn, the Will-o'-the-wisp, patrols its paths and plots against the Courtenay children's new guardian, Cousin Morville. Book coverWhat are the Courtenays to do about Wilfred, and what is the mystery that surrounds their new home? Is Morville the villain that the village thinks him to be, or is he merely eccentric and opinionated? Louis Courtenay and Wilfred, sometimes friends and sometimes enemies, seek for answers in an exciting book with surprises up to the next-to-the-last page. The New York Times called it a "junior Gothic." Other critics were divided about its merits. Personally, I shall read it again.

Welcome, Santza. Illus. by Helen Torrey. New York : London : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 55 Fifth Avenue, New York 3, 1956. 166 pp.

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The LIBRARY JOURNAL recommended this book and the NEW YORK TIMES found it "sympathetic," but the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR thought it "too idyllic," and other magazines did not review it. Savery never made the mistake of dating her books by dwelling on contemporary issues at the expense of her characters, but Welcome, Santza might have been improved by a sharper look at postwar Greece and its war-scattered children. Plucky Chrysantza engages our interest, but she acts and talks more like her English readers than a Greek orphan. We are glad when things work out for her, but we are not surprised. While the book is pleasant and easy to find, it will not motivate many to look for other Savery titles.

Magic in My Shoes. Illus. by Christine Price. New York : London : Toronto: Longmans, Green and Co., 55 Fifth Ave., New York 3, 1958. 152 pp. A nearly identical edition, published for The Junior Literary Guild, a book club, does not carry the First Edition identifier. My 1963 German translation by Waltraut Müller is titled Die verzauberten Schuhe and labeled Zweite Auflage, but it is not clear if the book is the second edition or the second German edition. Illus. by Ursula Walther. Mainz: Matthias - Grunewald - Verlag. 146 pp.

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Intended for a younger audience than the other books Savery wrote for Longmans, Magic in My Shoes is still a book that older readers will enjoy and learn from, although they won't be much challenged to anticipate the story's big surprise. Book cover When Sally goes to her aunt Persis for the summer, she finds the good woman distraught over her fleet apprentice, Jossett Laurence Alexander Ormond, who is eager to break out of his locked attic room to join his triplet brothers, Laurence Jossett Alexander and Alexander Jossett Laurence, who are hiding from their masters. Although the runaways remain on the loose, Jossett seems to settle down, but then Aunt Persis finds herself being criticized by the community for failing to feed her apprentice and niece properly, although both eat greedily at her table. Magic is available easily on the used book market for a reasonable price, and it received excellent reviews. Among the book's admirers was Eleanor Roosevelt:
Magic in My Shoes by Constance Savery is a perfectly charming story. I cannot imagine any child who would not enjoy reading it.

The Reb and the Redcoats. Illus. by Vera Bock. New York : London : Toronto: Longmans, Green, and Co., 119 West 40th Street, New York 18. October 1961. 241 pp. Reprinted February 1963, May 1966, and April 1968. New York: David McKay Company, Inc. Republished, May 1999, as a trade paperback with illus. by Lydia Halverson. Warsaw, ND : San Francisco : Living History Library, Bethlehem Books * Ignatius Press, 15605 County Road 15, Minto, ND 58261. 203 pp. Sound recording, Washington: DBPH; Recorded and distributed: Louisville: American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

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When Savery died, seven months before The Reb was republished by Bethlehem Books, she was 101 years old. Alert to the last, she supplied a couple sentences for the biographical sketch that concludes the book.
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This novel has found a modern niche as recommended reading for children being home-schooled by their parents. The Reb, a captured officer from the Continental Army, is very young for his former position, prompting the complaint: "Fifteen! Laurence, it is pitiful. It is altogether wrong." To which the reply is: "Blame General Washington, not me!" Captain Laurence Templeton has reason to be wrathful. Although the Atlantic Ocean separates them from America, it has not been easy to keep the uncooperative Reb under control, and Laurence seems to have a strong personal reason for disliking him; however, Laurence's nieces and nephews, the Redcoats, come under the spell of the personable young American, and they are pleased when he is appointed their temporary tutor. The teacher has his own troubles. Besides chafing under his status as a prisoner, the Reb is estranged from his American father, a Major in Washington's army, and he feels responsible for another prisoner, the hapless Tim Wingate, because of a promise made to Tim's mother.

The book received excellent reviews when it was published in 1961 and again when it returned to print in 1999. Both the older editions and the attractive reissued paperback are readily available.

DAVID McKAY COMPANY, INC

Longmans, Green and Company was acquired by David McKay, and it is the McKay label that appears in the 1968 reprint of The Reb and the Redcoats. There is very little difference otherwise.


This web site © 2010-16 by Eric Schonblom. Updated 12 April 2016. The unpublished works of Constance Savery are reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner, J. D. Hummerstone.