Cover image for The Roundhill
The Roundhill
King-Smith, Dick.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Crown, 2000.

Physical Description:
84 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
While on summer holidays in 1936, fourteen-year-old Evan meets a mysterious girl who bears a striking resemblance to the Alice of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."
Reading Level:
850 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.4 2.0 44302.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.3 6 Quiz: 23392 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:

Format :


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FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From the author ofBabe: The Gallant Pigcomes a charming ghost story about a lonely boy who meets the real Alice in Wonderland--two years after she died! She was an intruder to him at first. After all, the Roundhill is Evan's secret place--the spot he escapes to on school holidays. He doesn't want to share it with a strange girl in such old-fashioned clothes. But Alice has an intriguing way of knowing things--about him, about his house--that he has never told her. Odder still is that the more she talks about herself, the more mysterious she becomes. And how did she get through that locked door? At last Alice leads Evan to a special book and an incredible discovery--and the Roundhill was at the heart of the mystery all along.

Author Notes

Dick King-Smith was born on March 27, 1922 in Bitten, Gloucestershire, England. Before becoming a full-time author, he was a farmer and a schoolteacher. He served in the Grenadier Guards during World War II and attended Marlborough College in Wiltshire.

He has written over 100 children's books including The Fox Busters, The Hodgeheg, and The Sheep Pig (aka Babe-The Gallant Pig), which was adapted as the 1995 film Babe. The 1995 TV miniseries The Queen's Nose was also based in one of his books. He was voted Children's Author of the Year at the 1991 British Book Awards. He died on January 4, 2011 at the age of 88.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-7. It is the summer of 1936, and 14-year-old Evan has returned from school to his somewhat distant parents and the family house in the English countryside that he loves. More than anything else, he's missed the nearby round hill--a tree-topped dome, visible from his bedroom window, which fills him with a calming certainty that approaches religious faith. On one of his frequent cycling trips to the hill, Evan meets a mysterious girl who appears from nowhere. Her clothes and language are old-fashioned and she speaks in riddles, but most unusual is her striking resemblance to the Alice in Wonderland pictured in Evan's book. On subsequent visits, Alice reveals details about her life, until, finally, after she's disappeared for good, Evan realizes that the unbelievable is indeed true. Steeped in nostalgia, the warm, intriguing story unfolds with a well-plotted, gentle suspense and precise, witty language that young readers, particularly young anglophiles, will enjoy. Charming detailed ink drawings by Sian Bailey illustrate the story. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

A 14-year-old boy meets up with mysterious Alice on the Roundhill. "The author imbues this leisurely tale, set in the summer of 1936, with a strong sense of time and place," wrote PW. "Sophisticated readers may be attuned to Alice's literary ties; even Bailey's drawings are a nod to Sir John Tenniel." Ages 10-13 (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Fourteen-year-old Evan has always considered the Roundhill his own magical place. Therefore, he is surprised and annoyed when he finds a young girl at this spot near his family's English country home in the summer of 1936. After the boy's initial displeasure, he becomes intrigued with Alice, as she calls herself, and wonders why her speech and clothing are so old-fashioned and how she can disappear without a sound. King-Smith's carefully measured prose, including period vocabulary and occasional long sentences, will be challenging for those interested in the fantasy. However, the gently suspenseful, episodic plot and Bailey's mysterious woodcut illustrations will draw them along as Evan gradually realizes his new companion's identity. In the end, it's the boy and Alice's mutual affection, sparked by their love of the Roundhill, that saves them both. Their companionship frees Alice's roaming spirit and forever changes Evan, who begins the story as an apparently friendless boy from a conventional, undemonstrative family and ends as a loving grandfather with a decidedly unconventional career. More than just a skillfully told ghost story, this is a thoughtful exploration of the transforming power of friendship, however unusual its circumstance.- Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.