I Go by Sea, I Go by Land
By P. L. Travers
Illustrated by Gertrude Hermes
First published in 1941, this children's classic, by the author of Mary Poppins, has been unavailable for many years. A moving story of a little girl and her brother, who must leave their parents and home in the Sussex countryside for safety in America.
'James and I stayed on at home and everything was quiet and sunny and we got to thinking the war would never come after all . . . Just when we were so sure nothing would happen, the German plane came over. It came over one night at one o'clock in the morning and the sound was quite different from an English plane and we all woke up. You could hear it drumming and drumming like a big bee in a flower, buroom, buroom, buroom, round and round in the air above the house. Then suddenly there were five loud explosions. After that there was a terrible silence and I knew that Father and Mother were looking at each other in the darkness and I felt myself getting small and tight inside. Then Father said quietly, "Meg, they must go!"'
Now I am going to write a Diary because we are going to America because of the War. It has just been decided. I will write down everything about it because we shall be so much older when we come back that I will never remember it if I do not. So this is the beginning. Oh, please let us come back soon, please.'
This is the fictional diary of Sabrina Lind, an eleven-year-old English girl who, with her little brother James, is sent on the long voyage across the sea to her aunt in America.
P. L. Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff in 1899 in Queensland, Australia. She worked as a dancer and an actress, but writing was her real love and she turned to journalism. Travers set sail for England in 1924 and became an essayist, theatre and film critic, and scholar of folklore and myth. While recuperating from a serious illness Travers wrote Mary Poppins -'to while away the days, but also to put down something that had been in my mind for a long time,' she said. It was first published in 1934 and was an instant success. Mary Poppins has gone on to become one of the best-loved classics in children's literature and has enchanted generations. In addition to the Mary Poppins books, Travers wrote novels, poetry and non-fiction. She received an OBE in 1977 and died in 1996.
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- Publication date:
05 Mar 2015
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A pitch-perfect reissue . . . funny, touching and splendidly misspelled — New Statesman