Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman, a childhood favorite

Crusade in Jeans by
Thea Beckman
Published by Lemniscaat
Date Published: November 1st 2011 [first published in 1973]
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Dolf uses a prototype time machine and gets stuck in the Middle Ages. Trying to find his way back to the twentieth century, he joins a children's crusade of almost ten thousand children on their way to the Holy Land. Dolf helps the children defy the terrible mountains, conquer disease and fight evil knights. Slowly, Dolf begins to realize that the real danger does not lurk behind the next mountaintop, but rather within the crusade itself.

Crusade in Jeans was first published in 1973. It became an overnight success, making Thea Beckman one of the most popular authors of juvenile books in Europe. In 1974, Crusade in Jeans was awarded The Golden Pen (the most prestigious Dutch national award for children's books). In 1976, the Province of Trento, Italy, named it the Best European Historical Juvenile Book. In 2006, the book was turned in an award-winning movie picture featuring Emma Watson, Michael Culkin, Joe Flynn and Stephanie Leonidas. Awards included top honors at Toronto Sprockets (2008) and the Children’s Jury Award at the Chicago International Film Festival (2007).
the original Dutch Cover

My thoughts 

Cover: like the newly American better than the old nostalgic original version... [Correction the publication of 2003 by a imprint of is  lemniscaat s a favorite as well]

Book: This was one of the very first books I read when I was younger. Can you believe it’s almost 40 year old and published again this year in America. When I saw it on netgalley I had to request it , I had a rush of nostalgia.I Loved it in the past. My native tongue is Dutch by the way. Iwondered if I felt the same after 10 years later and in English. It’s a pretty decent translation and my growing up resulted in a 4 star rating.
2003 us cover

Rudolf Hefting, Dolf for short, our leading male from Holland. Who is smart, brave, courageous teenager and stand’s his ground which gets him in trouble in the 12th century.

When you begin to read the this novel, we find Dolf in the laboratory of the family friends , two loony ish professors after asking and persisting his parents to see the newly developed time machine. He persisted again while he was time with the Profs that he could be more useful than chimps, which they used for experiments.

Dolf is now in the 12 century france or so he thinks , but rather in germany. And meets a crusade formed completely by children ranging from the age of 4 to 14, 15, 16 to free Jerusalem from the Arabs.

He misses his ‘’ride back’’ to the present and is stuck in the 12th century. I would have panicked but he is calm and collected. And he takes part of the crusade.
Some secrets are being hidden , lies are being told in the whole [massa massa, local tongue,sranang tongo] congregation of the child crusade.

Liked Dolf interaction with the 12th era folk, everything is different for this 20th century teen. He is very skeptic of this religious area, Europe of that time period. This has no doubt Christian/religious influences but it’s not preachy. So not religious folk can enjoy it!! I hope

There’s no minor lead or secondary character I did not like.

A Couple of characters i really liked
Maria a 11 year old taking part in the crusade is from the beginning with Dolf and befriends him and sees her like a little sister.

Leonardo Fibonacci, 15, 16 or 17 I think is very first friend Dolf befriends


After the big reveal, the secrets have come to light. It dragged on a bit let say 40 ish pages but that’s a short amount of page space and quickly begins to exite again when Dolf finds a way to go home, to the present. Will say this it was emotional for Dolf to leave his friends behind after let say 3 to 4 months with them. Roro signing out.

 Limniscaat has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley,prior to its release on November 1st 2011

Virtual hangouts [ sad the author died in 04, so no virtual hangouts]

To order
Barnes & noble


  1. hmmm...this one sounds interesting (not that I'm a guy). I think I'll be reading this one soon. The characters and premise sound interesting!


  2. Wow! A classic read, for sure. Thanks for sharing. I, for one, needs the romance element in a book to keep me interested but the time traveling aspect is definitely a draw.




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