Title: Crusade in Jeans
Original title: Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek
Author: Thea Beckman
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
My rating: ★★★★✫
When I was a kid I loved reading books by Thea Beckman. I think most of her books might be written for 12+, but I was reading so much at that age that I think I have read them all before I turned 12. The first Thea Beckman book I have read was ‘Crusade in Jeans’, I must have been 10 or 11 years old when I read it. And I loved it. Thea Beckman is an awesome storyteller. She has a way to make both history and her idea of the future so much nice and believable. I have read all of her books in Dutch, but I know that this one has been translated to English. So because of Children’s Book Week I have read this book again.
What the book is about
Crusade in Jeans is about Rudolf Wega, a teenage boy from Amstelveen, who happens to know two scientists who are working on a time machine. He tempts them into sending hem to the 13th century so he can spend one afternoon there and then let them know if the time machine is working. By accident someone he ends up in the wrong place and to make matters worse someone else takes his place when he is supposed to go back to his own time. He seems to be stuck in the past. He meets Leonardo, a student from Italy and together they join the crusade of children that is passing them that day. The children are on their way to Jerusalem to invade and conquer that city. Dolf thinks that something is off and he decides to join them and take care of as many children as he can. So where are those children really going and who told them to come along?
What I thought about the book
First of all I want to say that I instantly enjoyed reading this book again. It didn’t feel like reading a children’s book. The style of writing that Thea Beckman uses could please adults just as well. The story even contains some political and social factors that I must have missed as a kid. I just discovered new layers in the same story. That makes the book really interesting again and it makes me want to re-read all of her books in the future.
That being said, there are some things I want to say about Rudolf Wega. He is basically still a kid, and still he adjusts really easy to life in the 13th century. He doesn’t speak the language in the beginning but then he picks it up quite fast. He finds ways to hide that he is coming from the past and apparently he knows a lot about history that I sure as hell don’t. People don’t know that he is coming from the future and somehow they don’t even doubt that he is not from their time. They do notice the odd language and his clothes, his strange behavior but then again he is not German, he is from Holland. That explains it all in their eyes as they have never been to Holland. For me it was hard to believe that one can adjust so easily, but then again the book was written in 1973, way before my time and I do think that life was significantly different then.
As an adult I want more information sometimes, but I did keep in mind that this book was not written for a 30-year old. I remember that those things didn’t bother me 20 years ago. Over all Thea Beckman has a fantastic mind and a wonderful imagination, along with a ton of knowledge of history and that makes this story so good. If you haven’t read this story as a kid I would advise you to read it now. I promise you will love it.
This blog post is part of AJ’s Children’s Book Week.
When I was little we always spent our summers in our caravan near a lake. A wonderful place to relax, play and read. I remember that I was allowed to pick up eight books at our town library in summer, which was more than the usual four, but that wasn’t nearly enough as we would stay away from for six weeks. During school weeks I was always reading four books or even more so imagine how I felt when we were at the camping site. Sometimes my dad was nice enough to take me along on a ride back home to pick up the mail and then we’d stop at the library for a few minutes so I could switch my books real quick.
There were other ways to get books! Every summer there was a flea market at the camping site and there were a few stands with books there. I remember that there was a book store that sold damaged copies for half of the original price and my parents would buy me a few books there. I also took my pocket money with me then to check the other stands. Sometimes I would find a few books that were so old and damaged that they would hardly cost me any money. Those were often the ones that were read a million times and therefore they were usually very good.
One author that I found this way was Enid Blyton. One summer I found the first book of The famous five there, together with one of the books of The Twins / St. Clare’s. How I enjoyed reading those series. I obviously searched for the other parts of those series and I have read them all. I always imagined what it would be like to be part of the adventures of those five awesome kids or if I would have liked it at boarding school. I could never get enough of those books and I have read them many times. Therefore Enid Blyton will always pop up in my mind when I think back to those summer days.
This blog post is part of AJ’s Children’s Book Week.