Read Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner Online


Ethel Sybil Turner (1872-1958) was an Australian novelist and children's writer. She was educated at Paddington Public School and Sydney Girls High School. She started her writing career at eighteen with her sister Lilian. Her best-known work is her first novel, Seven Little Australians (1894), which is widely considered as a classic of Australian children's literature. ThEthel Sybil Turner (1872-1958) was an Australian novelist and children's writer. She was educated at Paddington Public School and Sydney Girls High School. She started her writing career at eighteen with her sister Lilian. Her best-known work is her first novel, Seven Little Australians (1894), which is widely considered as a classic of Australian children's literature. The book deals with the lives of the Woolcot family, particularly with its seven mischievous and rebellious children. It is the only Australian children's book that has been constantly in print over the last 100 years. The success of Seven Little Australians led to the popular sequel The Family at Misrule (1895). Other books followed such as Little Mother Meg (1902) and Judy and Punch (1928) which further chronicled the exploits of the Woolcot family. Ethel Turner has been awarded a number of prestigious literary awards and can easily be classed as one of Australia's best-loved authors. She wrote more than 40 novels. Some were about the mischievous Woolcots. Others were serialized like her books on the Cub and some were stand-alone....

Title : Seven Little Australians
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781406567892
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 148 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Seven Little Australians Reviews

  • MaryG2E
    2019-02-13 19:12

    This book has never been out of print since it was published in 1894. Undoubtedly the story holds a special place in the hearts of many generations of Australians. It is indeed a classic. Having said that, I must confess that I was a tad underwhelmed by it. While written in 1894, this is a surprisingly modern book in many ways. Turner's prose is lively, fresh, immediate and direct. Some of the passages could have been written yesterday. How like a 21st century family are the Woolcots, with their many issues, such as brilliant, headstrong children, determined to follow their own hearts, lax supervision by distracted parents, disregard for education, and deliberate deceptions? Yet in many other ways it is absolutely a product of its time, including the social mores and class structure which underpinned the management of middle class families in the Victorian era.There are some mixed values exposed in the story which rather perplexed me. There is a fine line being drawn between 'Aussie free-spirit', 'likeable rogue' and 'delinquent'. Are we supposed to like Bunty, when he is such an inveterate liar and thief, notwithstanding he is a little boy? Apart from the toddlers, all the children lie, all the time - which does not endear me to them, and makes me wonder about the messages going out to the Australian children who would read this book over the generations. The negative portrayal of the father, and the children’s obvious dislike and lack of respect for him appalled me, frankly. Yet, this is indeed a very modern matter, and is something frequently addressed by 21st century authors writing about dysfunctional families. Perhaps Turner was ahead of her time? I don't want this book to be all about 'happy families' either. But that whole aspect of the narrative, the relationship between the children and their father and step-mother seems underdone to me, could have been handled better.I also think there is a lack of balance in the narrative between events in Sydney and Yarrahappini, outback NSW. What happened on the station was a defining moment in the history of the Woolcot family. I think it deserved more in-depth treatment. It seems to be rushed, towards the end of the book, as if the author was in a hurry to get it finished. An example of that lack of balance: it seems to me many hundreds of words are devoted to the dialogues between Meg Woolcot and her world-wise friend Aldith about fashion and boys, while the major event at the rural property is dealt with in a few pages. And that is the rather abrupt end of the book. So, despite its status as a classic, I only gave this book 3 stars.

  • notgettingenough
    2019-01-29 19:45

    The book begins.Before you fairly start this story I should like to give you just a word of warning.If you imagine you are going to read of model children, with perhaps, a naughtily inclined one to point a moral, you had better lay down the book immediately and betake yourself to 'Sandford and Merton' or similar standard juvenile works. Not one of the seven is really good, for the very excellent reason that Australian children never are. Sigh. It's true, it's true.

  • Pop Bop
    2019-02-07 20:09

    Sparkling, Jolly, and TenderIf you're an American browsing through odd Kindle freebies, as I was, you might be surprised to discover that this book is a gem and a treat. Published in 1894, "Seven Little Australians" is considered a classic, if not the classic, of Australian children's novels. I understand that at least as of 1994 this book was the only novel by an Australian author to have been continuously in print for 100 years.So, does it live up to that intro? Yes.The story is simple enough. Captain Woolcot is a military man with no understanding of children, and with seven children. His young second wife is the mother of the seventh child, but is in way over her head with the other six. The seven children range down from romantic 16 year old Meg, through handsome Pip, lively Judy, beautiful Nell, fat and lazy Bunty, well-behaved Baby, and "The General", the actual baby. They all have individual devilish streaks and no instinct at all toward good behavior. Neither does the author, who dismisses good behavior out of hand, and dismisses moralizing as well.These are stories of pranks gone wrong, havoc and dismay. They are also good-humored, cheerful, and full of sibling support and affection. Often, when authors try to portray quirky characters or misbehaving children or mischievous hijinks they just can't get the tone or the pitch right, and you end up with precocious twits or meanness and nastiness. This book survives and prospers because the tone is always just right. The more manic parts are balanced by some very calm, sly, deadpan lines and observations that make it clear that this author is in control of her material and her characters.So, this is a wonderful find and a jolly read. Well done. (Spoiler Alert - very sad toward the end; be prepared.)Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to the publisher of this book.

  • Kathleen
    2019-02-18 22:00

    Seven Little Australians is an excellent children's novel that isn't just for children! I loved the characters because they were so real. The Woolcot family consists of Captain Woolcot, his six children from his first marriage (ages 4-16), his second wife (Esther, age 20), and their 1-year-old son. The step-mother's youthfulness added an interesting element to the family dynamic.I might have given this book five stars, but the ending is unnecessarily tragic, and it seemed like the author didn't really know how to end the story. Seven Little Australians was Ethel Turner's first novel, and she was only 22 years old when it was published, so I was still very impressed.Now that I've read the book, I really want to see the ABC mini-series from 1973, but the only good DVD of it seems to be out of print. I guess I'll have to be content with these video clips ( August 2013Watching the ABC series (thank you, YouTube!) made me want to read this again.

  • Marianne
    2019-02-14 23:07

    Seven Little Australians is the first of the Woolcot Family series by Australian novelist Ethel Turner. Set in the late 19th century, it details a few months in the lives of Captain John Woolcot, his young (20 years old) wife Esther and their family at their house, Misrule, up the Parramatta River. There were six children he had by his first, now dead, wife: Meg(Marguerite), 16, Pip (Phillip), 14, Judy (Helen), 13, Nellie, 10, Bunty, 6, and Baby, 4, and his and Esther’s baby, the General (Francis). The fact that these were not the children of a Minister, like those perfect March girls of Louisa Alcott’s, may well account for their mischievousness: they had a tendency to get into trouble, even if their hearts were essentially good. Nor was Captain Woolcot the perfect father. This novel has a very Aussie feel and is both funny and sad. Readers will look forward to the next instalment, The Family at Misrule.

  • Lisa
    2019-01-27 20:05

    No 2 in my attempt to get through some Australian kids' literature. This was an attempt to be highly realistic and was a bit tragic. No romanticization. Some lovely descriptions of both suburban and rural life in early 20th century.

  • Darcy
    2019-02-21 22:02

    I always get a feeling of injustice when I sense one author has piggybacked on the success of another. I’m not sure Turner is so much Alcott’s “successor” as her plunderer. Seven Little Australians was like a mishmash of Little Women and Alcott’s lesser known classic, Eight Cousins, with Australian names like Krangi-Bahtoo and Yarrahappini thrown in to maintain a semblance of Australian national identity. My thoughts on the characters: Captain Woolcot – I desperately wanted to see him resolve his issues with Judy. One moment would have sufficed for him to communicate to her that he actually loved her and wanted the best for her. The book is a bit ambiguous on this point, but reading between the lines you can see that he is a military man who has a hard time showing his feelings and obviously is not suited to raising children. Esther - She’s only 20 and being a step-mother to 6 rambunctious children and then having a baby of your own must be tough, but come on, make an effort at being their mother instead of their friend! Meg – It was like Meg from Little Women had an alternate life Down Under. She was that similar. Judy – Spirited, reckless, and passionate. Judy is the rightful heroine of the novel. I wanted to see Judy mature. The doctor predicts, “she’ll make a fine woman some day – ay, a grand woman” and reading about that process would have been fun. Did she do something great in the end? Yes, but it would have been a lot more interesting to let her live, as she was the only unique and truly compelling character in the novel. Pip - He was well-characterized, though I would have liked to see him stand up to his father.Nell – the angelic one. Think Turner borrowed that name and distinction from Dickens’ little Nell?Bunty - Of course, there’s always one greedy little fat boy. I would have liked to see him learn a real lesson from his lying, rather than just get whipped and then feel sorry for himself. Though, apparently death of a loved one is a great reformer of cowardly and habitually lying six-year-olds. Baby – too little to garner much enthusiasm. General – not interesting in the least, but cute. This is the first book I’ve read by Ethel Turner and I am interested to read more of her work to see if she eventually came into her own as a writer. The story was really cute in that wholesome, moralistic, Victorian way. Perhaps, as Turner grew as a writer, she developed more of her own voice and was able, like Alcott, to simultaneously moralize and enchant. I’m not a big fan of sad endings, though I wouldn’t think less of this book purely on the basis of disliking sadness. However, the conclusion seemed manufactured to me. It was as though Turner felt compelled to subdue this lively troupe of children and tragedy was the quickest route to the story’s moralistic destiny.

  • Natasha Lester
    2019-01-26 18:43

    I read this book aloud, a chapter a night, to my four and a half and six and a half year old daughters. When I began reading the first chapter, I thought that they might not choose the book again the following night. The language is obviously somewhat old-fashioned - the book was published in 1894 after all. But as Ethel Turner writes, she addresses the reader - she is telling the story to them. The book begins, 'Before you fairly start this story I should like to give you just a word of warning.' And she then proceeds to tell the reader that the tale she is about to unfold is one of very naughty children and that it is something about the Australian landscape - 'the sunny brilliancy of our atmosphere' - that contributes to their naughtiness.There are a few things about this introduction that I think children find so appealing. The first is the idea that they are going to read about naughty children. What will these naughty children do? Just how naughty will they be? And what will happen to them when their naughtiness is discovered? I could well imagine that these thoughts were running through my daughters' minds as we read.From there, the story traces all the mischief of the children - from Bunty laming his father's horse with a cricket ball, to Judy depositing the baby at her father's barracks so she can enjoy an afternoon of fun at the fair, to the children continually interrupting a dinner party in the hopes of taking plates of roast chicken up to the nursery, rather than bread and butter. It's all good, innocent fun and daring - apart from Bunty and the horse - but the consequence of it is that Judy is sent off to boarding school, a place she promptly runs away from, setting in train the tragic events at the end of the book.My daughters didn't cry at the end - they left that job to me. So, if you have children aged around 6 or 7 and want to enjoy a piece of classic Australian literature with them, then I thoroughly recommend Seven Little Australians to you. Just remember to have a box of tissues on the couch beside you!My full review is here: http://whilethekidsaresleeping.wordpr...

  • Jessica
    2019-02-22 17:45

    This is a charming little novel, but very much a product of its time. Chapters in the beginning read almost like a serial, with each chapter containing a small, self-contained little narrative with uncomplicated complications and neat resolutions that lead into the next chapter with ease. However, as the book progresses, the stories elongate and spread across multiple chapters leading to a tragic - but not unpredictable - end. With a large cast, she at times struggles to differentiate the characters. The younger ones, in particular, are distinguishable only by their sex. The elder ones are more fleshed out with failings and hopes - but the brevity of the story stops them from being realised in the same way that stories from similar eras (for example: Anne of Green Gables) have successfully realised unforgettable, dynamic characters. Turner discusses the plot with her readers, warning them of what is to come so nothing comes as a surprise. For this reason it would make a good story to read aloud to children at night. For adult readers, the most enjoyment comes from the values of Turner's Australia creeping into the text. It is a very rose-coloured tinted reminiscence of Australia at the turn of the century, with the children's naughtiness and their subsequent whippings tolerated and easily forgiven. I found the landscapes evocative of the dusty-country-town-to-outback childhood I was fortunate enough to share with the seven little protagonists, but a small part of this comes from my own fond memories, not just the skill of the author.

  • Thom Swennes
    2019-01-24 19:01

    The more the merrier I thought as I started reading Seven Little Australians. Six of the children are from the first marriage of an army captain. After his wife’s death he remarries a girl of nineteen. The soon have another child of their own and the family moved into a fine home and tried to lead a serine and peaceful life. I stress the word “tried” as the children (like probably most siblings) were constantly bickering among themselves. The children ranged in age from 17 years to under a year. Their father loved his family but couldn’t really identify with them and felt that a despotic and totalitarian upbringing but took little time to exercise his beliefs. The stepmother, little more than a girl herself, could identify with the children and formed more a sister figure than that of a mother. This is a sad and heartwarming tale that brought me back to my own youth and my life and relationship with my siblings; constantly bickering among us but a united front against outside forces. Religious belief and family values play a big role in this tale and the geographical descriptions are spot on. It could be a good read for everyone that still remember how it once was.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-30 21:53

    I re-read this today for my children's literature course and was surprised by what a brute the Captain (their father) is - I never really noticed it when I read it as a child. He's awful. He makes it perfectly clear that he doesn't like or understand his children and considers spending any time at all with them on par with having teeth pulled. When Judy makes him look after the youngest alone for an hour he's so mad he sends her off to boarding school despite the protests and tears of the entire family, including his second wife, and refuses to let her come home even when she's clearly miserable. Only when she gets sick from walking for a week to get home does he grudgingly relent. Her death at the end is awful and heartbreaking and still makes me cry, but it totally serves him right. It says at the end that it makes him love his remaining children more, although he still can't bear to let any of them see it, oh no.I suppose he is an accurate portrait of parents in those days, but STILL. Those poor kids.

  • Fatima Azhar
    2019-02-19 14:50

    Broke my heart.When I started reading this book, I had a sudden surge of nostalgia. It is very similar to books I used to read when I was a kid. This book focuses on family, sibling relationships and naughty children. (i.e. Naughtiest Girl, Nanny McPhee etc). And how the cleverest one among them "Judy" is considered to be the instigator of mischief (she usually is). All the kids have different personalities and different ways of dealing with things. The 19 year old wife seems to love the kids and tries to be the bridge between the father and the children but she fails to do so.The end though was kind of a shock and yet kind of predictable. Because nobody else would have had the presence of mind or the courage to save General. The saddest part probably is the fact that though Judy's death while saving General (her youngest brother) brings the siblings closer it does nothing of the sort to their relationship with their father. He continues to be as aloof as he had always been.Sad.

  • Sharni
    2019-02-21 20:48

    What a gorgeous story. I'm glad I didn't resist my urge to buy this edition at the bookshop the other day... I think I must have seen the miniseries when I was quite small because I remembered the ending (although absolutely nothing else).

  • Magda
    2019-02-10 14:43

    Somewhat like E. Nesbit's stories until the last couple of chapters in which Gloom and Despair replace the sweet little adventures (which are a bit boring, but still), causing the author, as he says, to simply give up in sorrow ... so not much of a denouement or ending. In fact, the ending reminded me of the opera Xerxes: everything is going along at a reasonable pace, and then it's like someone looked at his watch and said, "Okay, people, let's wrap this up in the next five minutes!" and that's the end of that.

  • Sean Kennedy
    2019-01-22 20:58

    Man, the father was an unsympathetic prick in this book. He singles out one of his daughters as being the chief instigator of troubles in the family, ships her off to boarding school, is going to send her back but then a tree falls on her and kills her, and then he's all "oh, this is terrible". Buddy, you were a terrible father and the six little Australians that are left should keep you in the dungeon and never let you out.

  • Amy
    2019-02-14 17:02

    Oh, I made myself sad.

  • CLM
    2019-01-22 15:03

    An Australian classic which is enjoyable despite the harsh father who is like Captain von Trapp without the charm.

  • Tessa
    2019-01-30 21:12

    A Victorian-era Australian classic, Seven Little Australians charts the trials, tribulations and other miscellaneous adventures of a group of siblings growing up in 1880s Sydney. This was another one that didn’t quite live up to my childhood memories. I loved the historical setting and the idea of the big, rowdy family of uncontrollable but loveable brats. In reality however the book isn’t long enough to do justice to all of the characters, and most of the little Australians are two-dimensional and have only filler roles. We hear a lot about the escapades of Judy, Meg and Bunty, but I found these fairly predictable and boring. This was probably added to by the fact that the author’s conception of “naughty behaviour” is of its time, and most of the things the kids did actually seemed fairly normal and understandable to me. The main thing that rankled me about this book was the clear messages about gender roles, which again are admittedly of the book’s time, but still annoying. The father of the family is a complete tyrant and bully and I find it kind of disturbing that I didn’t realise or remember this from when I read the book as a child. All the children live in terror of him, and he even takes it out on his poor teenage bride while she’s slaving away caring for his six children. The interactions between Meg and the young alcoholic station hand at the cattle property also don’t sit right. The moral appears to be that it’s unattractive for women to react with anger to men’s bad behaviour/broken promises and that you’ll get further by pitying and fawning on him instead. ….Um, no. Overall this was a light and mildly entertaining read but it’s very dated and I certainly won’t be going in for round three in another 20 years’ time.

  • Rachael
    2019-02-04 21:53

    Quotes:• 'Not one of the seven is really good, for the very excellent reason that Australian children never are.' - p7• '"Oh, don't the days seem lank and long When all goes right and nothing wrong; And isn't your life extremely flat With nothing whatever to grumble at?"' - p14• 'She was very miserable in these days, and yet it was a kind of exquisite misery that she hugged to her to keep it warm.' - on Meg's unrequited love for Alan, p68• 'Down behind the gum trees, across the river, there was a still whiter moon; a stretch of water near was beginning to smile up to it.' - p77• 'The sun began to smile and chase away the sky's heavy tears' - p144• 'To a girl just entering life there can be no purer, deeper feeling of pleasure than that brought by the knowledge that she is influencing for good some man or woman older than herself' - p169This is a book that's been sitting on my shelf for some time since my mum passed it down to me, thinking it's a little thing I'll probably enjoy. And she was definitely right. I read it over the weekend, interspersed between drawing sessions, to have a break and refresh my mind a little (which it did perfectly, being short but sweet).I fell in love right from the beginning, and not just because of the comforting smell of the old thick pages. The friendly way Ethel Turner tells the story makes it feel as if we're good pals, sitting together curled up by the fire with a warm cup of hot chocolate clasped in our hands.The characters were individual and unforgettable and a right laugh to read about. At first when they're introduced it seems like they're a large amount to take in, but within the first few pages I already knew their names and ages without trouble because their characters and appearances are so individual.(As a side note I was desperately trying (but struggling) to read the speech with an Australian accent, but I found it a tricky one.. And no matter how hard I tried they all sounded terribly British in my head.)I felt awfully sorry for Bunty at times, regardless of his cowardness and longing for forgiveness only to relieve himself of his guilt. But he reminded me of my brother a little when he was younger.. When Bunty blubbered and sobbed I wanted to forgive and forget whatever he had done and just spoil and hug him to see his chubby cheeks smile.As for Turner's language I really appreciated her use of colours to describe the scenery and lighting as the day went on - she described the blue horizon line of trees and 'hot purple shadows'. It was as if she was describing the landscape as colours in a painting.Overall the short novel was charming, but not without its tragedy. I had earlier expected Judy to pass away - but not from a falling tree! This was a shock and tragic and felt somewhat, to pardon my childish language, unfair. Her death scene was unusual but tugged at my heartstrings - the way she begged to stay alive and clung to life, frightened, sobbing over the thought of missing her siblings.. Often in death scenes the dying is seen calm and wise and somewhat content with letting go, but here was a child full of fear and longing for life, being taken against her will.The ending was quickly wrapped up, a sad summary of the aftermath of Judy's passing, and it made me want to ask for another story to hear tales of future happier times!(Star rating I guess is more of a 3.5 because it was short and quaint but I did enjoy it quite a lot. The compact little chapters provided nice short refreshing breaks from drawing over the weekend!)

  • Tien
    2019-01-28 16:04

    I think I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if I read this at a much younger age. This is, of course, one of those classic books that everyone (or at least most Aussies) would have read in school that I have missed out on, being an immigrant. But I am catching up!It was an easy story to read and enjoy on a fine weekend. In between, we went to a birthday picnic where children were indulged in sugar-y goodness and lots of play in the sun. So, I had the same sort of image in my head when I was reading this book. But… I have to say that those children were pretty tame in comparison to what these “Seven Little Australians” get up to!The book was evenly spread out between all children; what they are like, why they are so, their own brand of mischiefs but all imbued with their own innate goodness. There were some shocking things that they do but as a reader, you can’t help but laugh –although, if my child did any of those things, I would’ve been so… angry and disappointed. The ending was really unexpected but I would love to continue and follow their stories.Not one of the seven is really good, for the very excellent reason that Australian children never are…. But in Australia a model child is – I say it not without thankfulness – an unknown quantity. It may be that the miasmas of naughtiness develop best in the sunny brilliancy of our atmosphere. It may be that the land and the people are young-hearted together,… There is a lurking sparkle of joyousness and rebellion and mischief in the nature here, and therefore in children.If you enjoyed children classics such as What Katy Did / What Katy Did at School or even Little Women, I believe you may enjoy this tale too.

  • Ellen
    2019-02-02 16:53

    When my mother saw that I was reading this book, her first reaction was "Oh, I remember that. It's so sad!" But she did like it (as a TV miniseries, I don't know if she actually read the book). When I told my grandmother I just finished reading it, she said she loved the series as well.This book is not my genre. I'm a YA and/or sci-fi fantasy reader and writer. It felt like a comment on that particular time in Australia's history. Not that it gave a very Australian history lesson. It did however feel very Australian. The setting was very Australian. It felt like reading about the Old West (America), this is definately what Australia was like a hundred years ago.My main problem, no, not problem, but more reason for not loving the book is that it was a series of concidences that got the characters to the climax. The children had no part in it, besides being bad children. I didn't get the feeling of sadness, I believe I should have got from the book.It's a book I want to see the miniseries and then read the book. I think it would make a greater impact on me that way.Overall, I'd read it if you want to feel like you're living in Australia 80 years ago. (Although, my mother says her parents and all her friends parents were like the father in the book.) Or read it if you're under fourteen. It's not really for the YA crowd.

  • Ania
    2019-01-25 21:00

    I have to admit, I didn't like it.It was charming at first as the children are rambunctious and full of spirit. Nonetheless, the book didn't pull me into their world. The entire time I was envisioning the Von Trapp Family except without the singing: the military distant father, a bunch of children, a wife so young she's practically the older daughter's age and one of the children (the 8th little Australian?)....The Von Trapp family from "The Sound of Music"Don't get me wrong, I like the similarities between the two. Having so many characters thrown at you, it helps to borrow the faces of the Von Trapp family members for them, as to better distinguish them all. At one point I was even humming "I am 16... going on 17..." I think the point I was turned off was the spanking of one of the children. I do realize it was a different time, but beating a kid for simply trying to please you by shining your shoes (and making a mess, staining your uniform by accident ) just doesn't fly in my book.I was really hoping to like this book. Alas I was disappointed.

  • James Perkins
    2019-01-31 19:54

    As an Australian, I was supposed to read this book as a child. I didn't. I am also supposed to like it. I don't. There are too many people to follow to get any feel for characterisation. The writing style is antiquated and often hard to read because of the odd vocabulary and turns of phrase. After announcing the differences between Australians and the British at the start, the story then outlines the behaviour of any children, who only happen to live in the Australian countryside; they could be from any British children's novel of the early twentieth century. The landscape isn't even clearly described as distinctly Australian until they go north to visit their stepmother's old home, and I enjoyed the more evocative atmosphere of this country retreat. But I didn't see much distinctive Australian dialogue or dialect in the main characters - only in the speech of one Aboriginal man who lived on their grandparents' property. Their misbehaviour is hardly scandalous - what little rambunctiousness they show is beaten out of them by their father, when he isn't away, and by the end of the book, they are all rather meek and boring. Times have certainly changed, and probably tastes as well. Now 120 years since its first publication, this "classic" book no longer works.

  • Heather Pearson
    2019-02-05 18:13

    Set in Sydney, Australia in 1880's, seven children get into all sorts of mischief even though they are trying their best to behave. Ranging in ages from sixteen to one year, the Woolcot children are mostly left to their own devices. Their step-mother Esther, the birth mother of only the youngest, is just twenty and has no experience with children. Their father is a military man and expects his children to behave and only to show up when he expects them to.I have been wanting to read this book for several years. I was able to download a copy to my Playbook and read most of this adorable story in one sitting. I really don't want to start telling you about the events that happen in the childrens' days, but I can assure you that they didn't set out to get into trouble, those things just seem to happen in this family. I suppose it might have been different had they had a nanny to see to their needs.Author Ethel Turner wrote over 40 novels and has been the longest in print author in Australia. She also wrote further about the Woolcot children in: The Family at Misrule, Little Mother Meg, and Judy and Punch.

  • Janelle
    2019-02-07 17:12

    I read this over twenty years ago as a teenager. Didn't think much of it then, so I think it's time I had another look to see if I can change my mind.2015 Update Well apparently my reading tastes have changed little in the nearly thirty years since I was a teenager, although I now have a clearer idea why I don't enjoy certain books. In this case, my dislike of this book doesn't stem from the quality of writing, but rather the characterisations and plot. As a teen reader I think I found the children's constant "naughtiness" tiresome. Looking at it now, I can see that their "naughtiness" is more unfettered childishness and lack of proper parenting. I've reached the end of the third chapter and the fourth excessive punishment, two of them being thrashings. I can't take any more. I know parenting has changed in the last hundred years, but I just can't read a book with such incompetent parenting, even if it is a classic. I can't be sure if I finished this book as a teen. I think I did, so the teenage me did considerably better than the adult me.

  • Finitha Jose
    2019-02-11 16:50

    Thought I have grown out of reading children's books, but we never will be. More so when the story line concerns with seven naughty ones. But be warned, these are not the peppermint children of 'Sound of Music' for the "very excellent reason that Australian children never are". Even their house bears the name 'Misrule' and that is what the story is all about; the little anarchist kingdom that runs behind a military strict father and their subsequent growth to maturity through sometimes painful experiences.They might have shared a different century with the aboriginal-white discrepancy raging outside but not tampering with their blissful lives, but the delight the reading permeates remains same so much so that the sad fate of Judy wrings out hearts, and we may wish our best for Meg but surely we will miss the plump, little General from our drawing rooms.To know the full summary, visit

  • Lisa T
    2019-01-22 21:04

    A touching story plot. I cried when finally Judy died in peace, she had sacrified her life for her lovely Genie. The most heart breaking part ever!I can understand the feeling enough when I read Meg's part. We are in the same age, so her story told almost a hundred percent of mine. I'm pretty awed when finally Meg chose her own way to live her life, and just walking away from Aldith. Haha.The part when Pip was busy in the flock was entertaining, even when I read the monologue "Kimbriki and kimbriki..." and blah-blah-blah. It sounds cheesy in my ears, so when I tried to read it aloud, I almost cried in fun.The ending was pretty awesome. I shed my tears when I read the part when Mr.Woolcot reminiscing Judy mowing the grass with her pink frock. This old man must miss this girl so much due to the failure he had done in teaching her.

  • Lauren
    2019-02-04 23:10

    Well, it wasn't godawful, but it was still too Enid Blytony, let's get belted by father and then have a picnic type of book for me to ever want to read it again. Granted, I'm not the target audience, although I'd find it hard to believe that children of this era would really take to it either. But yeah ... not a lot to say about this one. The characters weren't interesting (wild-child Judy is okay, I guess), their shenanigans weren't amusing - actually, the dad yelling that everyone was "demented" for crying about one of the kids being sent to boarding school was pretty (unintentionally)funny. But that was it. Meg's little romance subplot was kinda cute but the attempted moralistic resolution was distinctly un-cute, and so that was disappointing. It was just disappointing all round.

  • Gwen
    2019-02-01 16:58

    This book feels like a cross between Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (for the descriptions of sibling relations), Freckles (for the ending), and The Sound of Music. I don't know nearly enough about Australian frontier life (although somehow I feel like it takes place close-ish to Sydney) in this time period to be able to judge the accuracy of Turner's take on Australian family life, but I'm not sure I'd either read more in the series or recommend it to other fans of children's/YA literature. A little too "historic" for my tastes...

  • Sasha
    2019-01-23 20:13

    This is an interesting short read and a classic of Australian children's literature. But it is most interesting as a look at the way family dynamics have changed. The father , captain Woolcott, is aloof. With no understanding of his own children. His 2nd wife is only 20. His 1st wife having died about 3 years before the story is set. He has 6 children from his first wife and 1 from his second. The kids range in age from 1 to 16. And all are used to doing pretty much whatever they please. All the adventures are pretty innocent by today's standards but reading this one to your kids would be a good way to open discussions about how society has changed, parental roles have expanded and technology has changed our lives.