Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

My Top Five Books #1: “The Secret Island” by Enid Blyton

In “The Secret Island”, four children escape their evil Aunt and Uncle and live the good life on an island for two years until, well, I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for you…

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!”

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9 thoughts on “My Top Five Books #1: “The Secret Island” by Enid Blyton

  1. It is amazing how certain books from childhood just stay with you and you know the book was loved when it is barely readable years later.

  2. Rickster on said:

    Whereas I started reading this to Rowan at bedtime a year or so back and absolutely hated every minute of it. This must have been apparent to Rowan as she got bored of the book quite quickly and we gave up after a few nights.

    I think the problem was that my first reading of it was as an adult (and a parent)…

  3. I loved this book as a child. There was a follow up as well, but I only read it once. Another favourite is ‘Six Bad Boys’, talking about what makes children delinquent. Working mothers, apparently. Must have been autobiographical, by all accounts 🙂

    • It was the first in a series of five – the others were “the secret of spiggy holes”, “the secret mountain”, “the secret of moon castle” and “the secret of killimooin” – But not necessarily in that order!

  4. eleanor on said:

    I loved this book and agree exactly with your review of it. I read it aloud last year or before to Son#1 and he loved it too.

    • My son seemed to love it too – but he never badgered me for Spiggy Holes, sadly. Maybe if he knew how delicious the Baronian chocolate Pilescu had, he’d want me to read on! 🙂

  5. Your post on this came to mind tonight as am reading this to Son #2 who predictably loves it. It is indeed so twee, but there’s something wonderfully innocent and optimistic about it all. What a rich fertile island for the owner to neglect and leave for children to find! And what a haphazard system of child protection that would leave a local lake unsearched for months. Even after so many readings I have forgotten how it all works out in the end so I too eagerly await the next chapter.

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