Line about lice NOT in the book. Book not at all smug either--woman with 3 adopted children so desperate for money that she sends them out to work from the age of 12. I love Emma Watson but she does lend an air of smugness to everything she's in.
I have read the book many times and of course it is infinitely better than the TV adaptations.
However, I have to say I quite liked that version when it was on. I know the romance for Sylvia was a bit superfluous but it didn't spoil it for me.
In the book the children do go to a local school at first but it is obviously a fee paying one because they are taken out when money gets tight. However,as DD and I have always said, their sort of "poor" is the sort where you still live in a five floor house and can afford a cook, a maid and a nanny.
But the house is Gum's, the 'nanny' isn't actually getting paid and cook and Clara (have I remembered her name right?) sound as if they are happy to work for peanuts in order to remain with Sylvia and the children. And without the lodgers they'd have been in a terrible position - no money, no way of earning money, not knowing when they may have to sell the house etc. Terrible for Sylvia because she had three dependents and no idea how to support them once Gum's money ran out.