My Top Five Books #1: “The Secret Island” by Enid Blyton
I read this book repeatedly throughout my childhood, so that two copies disintegrated in my hands. I found a hardback for sale in recent years and I think this one will see me out!
It is just so sparklingly optimistic and unrealistic and English and sexist and … jolly.
“Heyho for a starry night and a heathery bed!”
They managed to get a cow and chickens to the island and to grow food and build a house. Poor old Peggy got landed with all the “women’s work” which was a shame. Jack was in charge and got to do all the sneaking about on the mainland, getting essentials in.
Self-sufficient children. (Now there’s an idea…)
Despite the level of detail give over to the hens’ yard, the cow’s milking arrangements and the children’s secrecy strategies, there was NO mention of toilets….
So, why was this book important to me? I think I liked the common sense, the hard work, the ingenuity and the sense of the threat of discovery that never left them… The book was first published in 1938 and the language is so twee, I love it.
“Well,” said Jack at last. “What do you think? Shall we run away, and live on the secret island?”
“Yes!” whispered all the children. “Let’s!”