This is one of the best children's books I have ever read, and now that I am twenty-odd years old it is still an excellent book. Despite its Britishness it presents a picture of childhood that is universal and realistic, and even as an American I could always understand and empathize with the characters. Gene Kemp has done this in all of her books, by writing from the point of view of children, never speaking down to her audience, and avoiding the tidy conclusions and trite moralizing that one finds in other children's fiction.
Tyke Tiler is our narrator, and tells the story in a haphazard manner filled with slang, bad jokes, great dialogue, and internal thoughts and feelings that give the reader an incredible sense of what it's like to really be a child -- a little confused, not quite a part of the grown-up world, but with a strong personality regardless. Tyke can be a bit bossy, but doesn't hate school, and is a bit of an idol to best friend Danny Price. The pair of them get into a lot of trouble together, trying to collect a sheep's skeleton from a muddy leet, or disposing of a stolen ten pound note. Tyke's family, teachers, and fellow students are all clearly written.
This book would be suitable for children aged 8 to 12. It doesn't have the glamourous appeal of Harry Potter or the like, but it's closer to home and much more real. In Tyke Tiler kids would have a character they can relate to, whose problems and thoughts are the same as theirs. Too bad it's unavailable in America.