Penn State

Jennifer P. Nesbitt - associate professor of English, Penn State York

Book Title: No children, No Pets

Author: Marion Holland

Book Description:

Any novel that begins with four-year-old Betsy complaining that “It is not either hot enough to fry an egg” on the sidewalk promises well. No Children, No Pets is an icon in my childhood reading (and adult rereading), and I continue to be puzzled that so few people have even heard of it—let alone read it. Perhaps because in this novel adventure means taking a train from dusty, hot, overcrowded summertime Philadelphia to off-season Florida? Or because action means learning to repair a broken screen, building a ramp for a disabled tenant, or taking your sister on a walk to “find an ocean”? Marion Holland delights in the everyday and brilliantly evokes the lazy summertime mood created by bone-warming heat and a swift sea breeze. As the Sanders children meet, misjudge, and come to understand the tenants of the Florida apartment building their mother has inherited, readers might be reminded to judge neither the old nor the young as inconsequential. But the wonder of this novel lies in its enchanting depiction of the curiosity, independence and enthusiasm of children and adults alike.


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