'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 15 March 2010

Review: Seven Little Australians

The Seven Little Australians are: Meg, who is experiencing the pains of growing from a child to a woman, fun-loving Pip, Judy - adventurous and wild, the beautiful and gentle Nell, cheeky Bunty - known for his lying ways, Baby - who is adorable but determined and, of course, the real baby of the family, affectionately known as ‘the General’.

The family, led by Captain Woolcot and his young wife, Esther (mother to the General, stepmother to the older six), is in understandable chaos.

At the first page, we are told that this is not a tale of well-behaved, model children. Turner informs us upfront that “not one of the seven is really good, for the very excellent reason that Australian children never are”. An intriguing manner in which to begin a story, this leads the path to tales of adventure, childhood and love.

From sixteen-year-old Meg’s introductions to romance right down to the General’s unfortunate tendency to be lost and thrown around by his siblings, we join the Woolcots as they grow and learn about themselves and the world around them. Their trouble, laughter and tragedy leave us wanting more of Turner’s beautiful narrative.

Readers will find they can relate to a number of the characters. Younger ones will understand the plight of the children, determined to be individuals and gain some independence and, in some cases, eager for just a little attention. An older audience will appreciate the choices faced by the Captain and feel for his wife, who experiences moments of despair at inheriting such a tribe by the tender age of twenty.

This story, first published in 1894, is timeless and easy to read. The characters will stay with you for years to come.

*This classic Australian book is available under several ISBNs and in several formats.

Title: Seven Little Australians
Author: Ethel Turner
Publisher: Angus & Robertson
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780207161629
Publication date: d
For ages: Teen to young adult
Type: Junior Fiction