As opening lines go, “Mr Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple to stay with him” is hard to beat.

This comic classic, written, astoundingly, by a 9-year-old in 1890, remains gloriously in print a full century later. Prefaced by J.M Barrie’s famous forward, in which its authenticity and author are confirmed first-hand, and sporting Posy Simmonds’ splendid drawings in its latest edition, it is a child’s eye view of the Victorian world like no other: acutely perceptive, pricelessly funny, and published verbatim, misspellings and all.

20-odd printings later, a timeless stocking-stuffer, still going strong.


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