Oooh, I love that book (I didn't even have to check, I knew the opening line). There is also a follow up - A Near Thing for Captain Najork - which is almost as good. Off to cook some greasy bloaters and cabbage sog and get my children to memorise 20 pages of the shipping almanac.
Thanks, hermoine, it's been preying on my mind since I saw the escalating prices of secondhand copies. DH is a very book-ish sort and would never stand for a curtailed copy.
(A ripped copy is quite bad enough! When we married, he went through all our books to look for duplicate copies and in each case kept the "better" copy, basing his decision in the event of a tie on the printing dates. This even for ratty paperbacks.)
Hello! It is wonderful, isn't it. The writing is perfect, and the deadpan descriptions of the made up games are hilarious. It does look like the beginning, but I can just see what might be a frame of a picture at the edge of the ripped up page...
Although attracted to the idea of a pedal boat, Dd is really far too young for this book, but I still feel like I'll be trying to get hold of the jam powered frog.
I have just bought an ex-library copy of this and the first page or pages have been ripped out! It is maybe just the title pages. If you have it, does it start "Tom lived with his maiden aunt, Miss Fidgett Wonkham-Strong"?