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Well Done Secret SevenReview by Heather from Australia (July 5, 2005)
The Secret Seven abandon their meeting shed for this adventure—it is obviously summer, and they are all 'melting'. After drinking some orangeade (the forerunner of Fanta?), and taking the biscuit tin with them, they wander around Windy Woods in search of a likely-looking tree in which to build a tree house. They find one, and return the next day with the necessary boards, rope, cushions, rubber sheet (to keep the cushions dry at night) and plenty of sustenance in the form of chocolate, orangeade and biscuits. I love Janet's comment during their first meal up the tree: "It's funny how grown-ups don't like us to eat just before we have a meal...I could eat six of these super biscuits and still feel hungry for my lunch!"
During their second trip to their new meeting place, Scamper comes out of his "sentry-box" (a hole at the base of a nearby tree), barking at an intruder—a boy with a kitten. The boy hears the Seven up the tree, but retreats from the growling Scamper and vows to come back later when they are not there.
The next morning the Seven discover biscuits missing and a half-empty lemonade bottle. The girls, Colin and Jack seem to think it's a squirrel, but Peter and George can't believe a squirrel can open a lemonade bottle and replace the cork!
That night Colin and Peter return to the tree to retrieve a book that may be ruined with the rain. They discover the strange boy, whose name is Jeff, along with his kitten hidden in the tree house. They let the frightened boy stay the night and return with the rest of the Seven the next morning to hear his story. A strange story it is too—his uncle and a man called Mr Tizer were talking while he was half-asleep on the couch, and they are after him because they thought he heard something of their plans. He can't remember much though—they said something about MKX, a red pillow, a grating, the date Thursday the 25th, and Emma Lane.
The Seven can't make head nor tail of this, and Peter consults his father who is inclined to think that the boy, Jeff, is lying. When the Seven return to the treehouse he is missing, but has left the kitten and a note saying that Mr Tizer and his uncle have found him. Janet takes the kitten in, and the Seven begin to agree with Peter's father—the boy must be very bad to leave his poor kitten behind. They do begin investigating their strange clues regardless of what they think of Jeff, after Colin and George decide to meet at Ember Lane and mishear each other, thinking that they are saying "Emma Lane". This sets them on the track of puzzling out the other clues, and suddenly everything ties together nicely and the police are called in for a most thrilling finish!
The ending of the book is probably the most exciting of all the Secret Seven books—the children viewing the whole thing from a window of an abandoned building in Ember Lane—at the express invitation of the Inspector. Jeff's mother reappears from hospital, completely recovered, and Jeff can also live happily ever after.
Well Done Secret SevenReview by Keith Robinson (July 29, 2006)
I agree with Heather that this has a very exciting ending! I also liked the way the clues came together quickly once the Seven started on the right track. One of the great things about the Secret Seven books is how fast the plots steam along once they get going, with hardly any stopping time for non-plot-related scenes.
The idea of a secret treehouse in the woods is a great one, and will appeal to any normal child. But for those adult readers, don't think too hard about the dangers of dragging heavy boards up the tree and binding them together with rope. One hits Colin on the shoulder as it slides off the branch, and they all laugh merrily, but imagine if it had knocked him senseless, or taken his eye out. And any of the children might have fallen and broken a leg. But these little worries are for real life only (unless it's part of the plot) so let's just move on and enjoy the adventure. :-)
The weekly password for this novel is "Adventure"—the same password as used in the latter half of the previous book, Secret Seven Adventure. Perhaps this adventure follows closely behind the last, then? But this isn't true because Janet says, "Not that much has happened recently." So it seems Blyton forgot she used "Adventure" as a password and re-used it here. Or maybe passwords are recycled. Anyway...
I loved the idea that a squirrel might have been responsible for uncorking a bottle, drinking some of the lemonade, and putting the cork back in the bottle. Even after Peter points out this how silly this sounds, only George agrees with him. The others firmly believe in that clever little squirrel. It's a good thing Peter is in charge of the Secret Seven, although I'm a little disappointed in Jack.
I couldn't help thinking, several times in fact, that it was a bad idea to put Scamper at the foot of the tree on sentry duty. It seems like a good idea, but really, a dog sitting on a rug barking furiously at passers-by is likely to draw attention—as it does, when Jeff decides there must be something worth guarding and comes back later for a look-see. Far better to have some kind of silent warning system to forewarn the Seven; then they can hush and wait quietly while passers-by continue on through the woods. As it is, Scamper's enthusiasm tells first Jeff where the treehouse is, and then the two nasty men.
The ending is good, with each of the Seven arriving one by one at an old warehouse across from where the mailvan robbery is to take place. As each member arrives, a kind policeman leads him or her through the building to an upper floor, before returning to wait for the next member. Seven times the poor policeman has to do this! Still, the Seven deserve the VIP box in this interesting little mystery.
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