Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner: Book 38, 2009

Title: Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner
Genre: Children's
Rating: 8/10
Comments: Written in 1894 and continuously in print until at least 1994, this is considered one of the classics of Australian literature. Although I was always a voracious reader there are some surprising gaps in my literary history.

It tells the tale of seven wild siblings living outside Sydney in the 1880s and the various scrapes they get up to, tormenting their army father and young step-mother (who at 20 is only four years older than the eldest sibling). For the most part it avoids the excessive moralising of most children's books of this era and it survives the test of time reasonably well. The writing style is that of a storyteller speaking directly to her audience. While I loved the Australian setting, I don't think it is quite as good (from an adult reader viewpoint) as Anne of Green Gables, which I think is a reasonable comparison.

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