book cover of Albeson and the Germans

Albeson and the Germans

(1977)
A novel by

 
 
Albeson and the Germans was the first of Jan Needle's books that challenged the notion that children needed to be somehow mollycoddled or written down to. Set very firmly in his own background as a slum kid in Portsmouth, it involves a cast of characters who have all, in various ways, been dealt a pretty bum hand in life. Jimmy Albeson is central, but he is at the mercy of people and things he does not really understand. His best "friend" Smithie is a much older boy with severe learning difficulties, and their "mentor" is a wayward girl called Pammy, whom they both think is a witch.

The event that puts Albeson on a helter-skelter of crime and danger is the announcement that two German children are coming to his crumbling, rundown school (in real life Church Street Infants, now reconstituted as Charles Dickens, in honour of the city's literary son). Whether he really believes it or not, Albeson chooses to treat this as a disaster, which he has to kick against. In the tender hands of Smithie and Pam it does indeed turn very bad, with a decision to run away to London leading to a chase, and a final act of stupidity that nearly kills him.

As in all Needle's "realist" children's books, the attitudes and opinions of the adults count for very little to the protagonists, who see them only through a haze of incomprehension and misunderstanding. Strangely, it is only the feared and hated Germans who offer Albeson any real hope for the future.

Gripping, lively and funny - it really grabs you. - Daily Mirror.

A swift, exciting read, full of good sense - Elaine Moss, Books of the Year.

Social realism for children - it made my eyes water, even while I was laughing fit to bust. - Portsmouth Evening News.



Used availability for Jan Needle's Albeson and the Germans

Hardback Editions

March 1984 : UK Hardback

Title: Albeson and the Germans (Cascades)
Author(s): Jan Needle
ISBN: 0-00-330019-6 / 978-0-00-330019-2 (UK edition)
Publisher: Collins Educational
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


September 1977 : UK Hardback
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Title: Albeson and the Germans
Author(s): Jan Needle
ISBN: 0-233-96900-4 / 978-0-233-96900-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: Andre Deutsch Ltd
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

September 1981 : UK Paperback
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Title: Albeson and the Germans (Cascades)
Author(s): Jan Needle
ISBN: 0-00-671900-7 / 978-0-00-671900-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Armada
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

November 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Albeson and the Germans
Author(s): Jan Needle
Publisher: Skinback Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA