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The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler

(26 Posts)
Wherearemyminions Sun 12-Jan-20 15:01:27

Thinking about children's books, prompted by Usbourne thread and remembered reading this in last year of primary school.

From what I remember (and happy to be corrected if I have rose tinted specs on, it was a very long time ago!) It challenged gender stereotyping in a clever well written and engaging way, not at all clumsy or preachy and ultimately celebrated what we might nowadays call a GNC child?

Not sure how it would be spun nowadays, poor Tyke would probably be whisked off to the clinic !

Ameanstreakamilewide Sun 12-Jan-20 15:06:12

I loved that book, as a kid.

No one sees the excellent plot twist coming, do they??

Mockers2020Vision Sun 12-Jan-20 15:07:52

Minnie the Minx. Beryl the Peril. Pansie Potter (the strongman's daughter, say it in a Dundonian accent and it rhymes.)

They'd all be packed off to Tavistock.

EverardDigby Sun 12-Jan-20 15:09:35

See also Five Go To Buy George A Binder

Imnobody4 Sun 12-Jan-20 15:19:52

Gene Kemp said quite explicitly that Tyke was based on the intrepid little northern working class girls she taught.
It's one of my favourite books. I've tried it with lots of classes when it came out and the flabbergasted indignation some of the boys was amusing.

Michelleoftheresistance Sun 12-Jan-20 15:20:57

I loved Tyke Tiler grin Girls who challenged feminine stereotypes abounded in fiction when I was a kid. Jo from Little Women, Bill in Malory Towers, George in the Famous Five, Tom from the Chalet School, even Joey Bettany. All females who wanted freedom from stereotypes and a wider meaning of what it meant to be female, at a time when women were escaping the home and the idea of a future for a female that held independence and a career and didn't automatically involve being someone's wife and mother.

Why would anyone want to return those girls to fitting their bodies to set stereotypes that should never be stretched or escaped from?

moonsmarshmellow Sun 12-Jan-20 23:38:44

Oh I completely forgot about this! We were read it in primary school and I remember the collective shock at the twist grin

HorseWithNoTimeForThis Mon 13-Jan-20 15:53:45

..* Five Go To Buy George A Binder*

Fucking A+

KatvonHostileExtremist Mon 13-Jan-20 21:35:35

I remember that. Brilliant stuff.

deydododatdodontdeydo Mon 13-Jan-20 22:09:53

I remember reading it at school, but don't remember a twist confused

HorseWithNoTimeForThis Mon 13-Jan-20 22:32:16

It turned out that george was just after a nice cover for holding magazines or loose sheets of paper together.

popehilarious Mon 13-Jan-20 23:21:42

I always saw this on the bookshelf at school but never read it. How did it read so as the twist (which I've just looked up) wasn't given away - didn't the prose get really awkward?

I think in my head I confused it with Tim Tyler, the Boy Who Lost His Laugh from off TV.

OccasionalNachos Tue 14-Jan-20 06:03:24

I remember this! The class focused on use of gendered language. I remember the dawning realisation & liking it because I was a tomboy.

@popehilarious I don’t remember it being awkwardly written but it was 25 years ago for me, would love to read again as an adult.

RiddleyW Tue 14-Jan-20 06:10:19

* How did it read so as the twist (which I've just looked up) wasn't given away - didn't the prose get really awkward?*

It must be 35 years since I read it but I think it was written in the first person. So no need for pronouns (just “I”) - the writer just needed to avoid anyone calling her a girl, which she does until right at the end.

HorseWithNoTimeForThis Tue 14-Jan-20 10:16:56

Spoiler City Arizona.

GlomOfNit Tue 14-Jan-20 11:00:50

I read it many, many times as a child and I still remember the jaw-dropping, gut punch of amazement with the denouement! grin Fantastic book and a great children's writer.

I read it to DS1 (then about 9) and I can tell you, it was VERY hard to keep the 'secret' when reading it out loud. Plus, we tend to discuss books as we read them together and it was really hard to keep saying 'Tyke does this' and 'why do you think Tyke said that?' rather than 'she'. grin So in many ways I did sort of treat Tyke as a gender neutral character until the very end. Which is sort of ironic, given the book's main intention is to challenge sexist gender stereotypes and confound expectations.

GlomOfNit Tue 14-Jan-20 11:09:53

Definitely not written in a contorted way, but as Riddley says, it's a first person narrative so our narrator controls how we see her. There are a couple of mentions of her name 'the one I hate' (which turns out to be Theodora) which makes her angry. The lovely thing about the book is, that even after you've read it once, it's worth enjoying again (it'll never be the same, of course) and as a child it helped me understand about sexist expectations of behaviour. That sounds really pompous but it did. If anyone said anything derisive about 'tomboys' I'd just mentally reference that with 'what, like Tyke Tyler, you mean? She was brilliant!'.

JanuaryIsNotTheOnlyMonth Tue 14-Jan-20 11:40:50

How did it read so as the twist (which I've just looked up) wasn't given away - didn't the prose get really awkward?

No, as others have said, it's first person. My mother used to read this to year after year of primary schoolchildren, and she said that after a while, you notice all the ordinary sexism towards Tyke as a girl anyway - expecting her to wash up while her brother (Spud?) slinks off without helping, for instance.

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 14-Jan-20 11:51:41

Oh, my poor memory. I remembered correctly the sex of the protagonist, but don't remember it being ambiguous at all, or there being a twist!

Endofthedays Tue 14-Jan-20 12:43:04

I remember reading it and not thinking about what sex she was. I just identified with her as a child.

I think it is more relevant now because young people aren’t being allowed to see people’s personality as just being them and are expected to see some gender manifestation.

FaintlyMacabre Tue 14-Jan-20 19:42:31

Aargh! I was a voracious reader as a child and I remember this book from the library but never fancied reading it because I thought it was about a naughty boy- not my usual thing (except William and Jennings). 30 years later I find out she was a girl! I missed out.

YesILikeItToo Tue 14-Jan-20 20:16:17

I read it to DX when she was 7 or 8. She was not astonished even a little bit. Progress?

YesILikeItToo Tue 14-Jan-20 20:16:50

Sorry, DD, not DX!

HandsOffMyRights Tue 14-Jan-20 20:26:45

I loved this book as a child!

Qcng Tue 14-Jan-20 20:28:21

Lol DX is so gender neutral!
MN should start using this!

Yes I remember Tyke Tyler, it was a long time ago I've forgotten all about it.

I almost despair how things have gone, adults literally telling their children they're born in the wrong body for liking xyz.

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