Having finished The Cottage at Bantry Bay, my children immediately began agitating to read the next book in Hilda van Stockum's series about the O'Sullivan family, Francie on the Run. Like the previous book, this one tells a story that is clever, funny, and utterly charming from beginning to end.
Francie, one of the O'Sullivan children, was born with a club foot. At the end of The Cottage at Bantry Bay, the O'Sullivans come into enough money to send Francie to a hospital in far off Dublin to get an operation on his foot. Away from his family, seven year-old Francie is kept in the hospital several months as he recuperates. Eventually, he tires of waiting for the doctors to release him and decides to escape. This sets off a sequence of adventures that sends poor Francie the length and breadth of Ireland where he meets all sorts of interesting characters. Francie has an undeniable Little Lord Fauntleroy quality to him and successfully endears himself to most of those he meets--in particular, a girl his own age named Pegeen.
If possible, I think my children enjoyed this book more than the first one. They laughed again and again at Francie's adventures and enjoyed trying to figure out what would happen next. What I particularly liked about this book, as well as the previous one, is that the characters are good role models of childhood behavior. Francie is a noble little fellow and though he occasionally makes childishly foolish decisions or loses control of his tongue, his intentions are always good. I enjoyed listening to my kids laugh when Francie did something clever and groan when he did something that they knew would lead to trouble.
So Francie on the Run is another book we all recommend. Now, on to the final book in the O'Sullivan family series, which is about the girl Francie met on his journey--Pegeen.