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Seven Little Australians (The Woolcots #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,035 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Judy's father, Captain Woolcot, found his vivacious, cheeky daughter impossible - but seven children were really too much for him and most of the time they ran wild at their rambling riverside home, Misrule. Step inside and meet them all - dreamy Meg, Pip, daring Judy, naughty Bunty, Nell, Baby and the youngest, 'the General'. Come and share in their lives, their laughter...more
Paperback, 177 pages
Published 2010 by Penguin (first published 1894)
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Cheryl in CC NV
Challenging, as there were cultural references & slang, etc., that made me feel often confused. I think I got enough of a sense of it, though, to see why it was influential and popular in its own place & time.
Kathleen
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...more
notgettingenough

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.

Thom Swennes
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....more
Natasha Lester
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...more
Magda
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...more
Pop Bop
Sparkling, Jolly, and Tender

If 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...more
Finitha Jose
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 e...more
James Perkins
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...more
CLM
An Australian classic which is enjoyable despite the harsh father who is like Captain von Trapp without the charm.
Sarah
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...more
Ellen
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...more
Heather Pearson
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 fo...more
Tien
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 w...more
Ania
Feb 16, 2012 Ania rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die hard aussie historical fiction fans, sad growing up stories fans,
Shelves: australia, abandoned
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?)....

description
The Von Trapp family from "The Sound of Music"

Don't get me wrong, I like the simila...more
Marianne
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 (Franci...more
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lauren
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 "demente...more
Jordan
Eh. The book was alright, nothing special. Started off a bit boring, then I started to get more involved in the story because it became more interesting, then it reached the part where they went on holidays. This whole part to me felt unnecessary and boring. There was nothing really driving the section and it felt like it had just been chucked in to make the book longer. Then the ending came which was a little bit of a shock, but development to any character except Meg and Bunty was pretty poor...more
Gwen
Sep 12, 2012 Gwen rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gwen by: website for Louisa May Alcott's house in Concord MA
Shelves: ya-fiction
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 literatur...more
Amy Seraphina
I liked this book, never would have really picked up off the shelves, except that we had to read it for class at Uni. It has been around for a hundred years and it doesn't truly portray aussie kids in the bush as they are more of an english upbringing, what really killed the book for me was going to the lecture and the lecturer pulling every sentence of the book apart and phallic symbols that were interpreted in there. I was horrified at my teacher, no way would Ethel Turner be thinking that whi...more
Sylvester
Although I do love quirky family stories, the thing I found most appealing about this story was the character Judy. Her fierce adventurous spirit set against the military harshness of her father might have been a little over-the-top, but I didn't care. (I found myself admiring her as if she were a real person.) I've known many people whose parents did not understand them, and on that level found the story to be quite true to life. There were a lot of things about this book that I found realistic...more
Book_lover
This is a book for people who like the past Australian scene and stories. It is about seven little Australians who have a step mother and it is about how they live together and the adventures and mistakes

Floriana
Not really my kind of read, although I did enjoy the depictions of the Australian bush, perhaps because I was travelling the country myself when I read it. The story in itself isn't bad, and the characters are easy enough to relate to, especially the children's sense of adventure, but I picked the book up out of lack of anything better to read, and would have likely not given it a go if anything else had caught my eye.
Dianne
I have fond memories as a child, watching the television series of Seven Little Australians on a Sunday evening. Until today I had never read this Australian classic and felt it was time I did so. The style of writing is so different to what I am used to reading and at times it was difficult to understand. The character of Captain Woolcot was harsh and unforgiving and I am once again happy that I did not grow up in these harsh times. The seven children were typical Australian larrikins - causing...more
Bhavika Tolani
It's so unique reading a 19th century novel that's not set in England but Australia and on top of that a children's book? Great for adults too.
Marianne Broadgate
Loved the programme series on this and read the book as a child. Now reading it to my daughter who is also enjoying it. Heartbreakingly sad ending.
Victoria Young
I was given a beautiful edition of this book when I was 8 years old and it became one of my favourite childhood stories. I used to love Judy and the terribles scrapes she got herself into!(Perhaps I was living a little vicariously here, I as was a pretty unrebelious, well behaved child, all things considered)

It's not an amazingly well written book, but it is a children's book telling uniquely Australian stories, which I think is culturally important, and it certainly contributes to that old myth...more
Ange
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Born in England in 1870, Ethel Turner came to Australia with her mother and sisters when she was 10 years old. She showed a great love of literature while at school and in her late teens launched a literary and social magazine in Sydney with her sister Lilian Turner. Ethel kept diaries for a remarkable 62 years, recording the details of her full and eventful life. In January 1893 she recorded in h...more
More about Ethel Turner...
The Family at Misrule (Woolcots, #2) Little Mother Meg (Woolcots, #3) Judy and Punch (Woolcots, #4) The diaries of Ethel Turner The Little Larrikin

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“None of the seven is really good, for the excellent reason that Australian children never are.” 10 likes
“and then ah God” 1 likes
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