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The Secret Staircase (Brambly Hedge)

4.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  315 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The Brambly Hedge mice are preparing for their traditional midwinter celebrations. Primrose Woodmouse and Wilfred Toadflax go up to the attic to practice their recital in peace, but when Primrose finds a key, all thoughts of rehearsing disappear.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1990 by Collins (first published October 14th 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 518)
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Lisa Vegan
I’m still waiting for the Spring Brambly Hedge book, so I read this one. I did not enjoy it as much as the Summer, Autumn, and Winter books. The illustrations weren’t quite as intricate or beautiful, and these books are all about the illustrations. The stories don’t do that much for me; the illustrations are outstanding. This is also a “season” book as the events take place at midwinter. I’ve loved miniature items my whole life, especially as a kid, so the paintings are wonderful. I thought I mi ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Primrose and Wilfred had decided to recite a poem for the Midwinter's celebration. The problem was that they needed someplace to practice. Primrose's mother, Lady Woodmouse, suggested they use the attic to practice. Exploring the attic turned out to be unexpected and just so much fun.

The book is rated for children ages 3-6, but should say ages 3-63. This is a beautifully written and illustrated children’s story, the Midwinter celebration has the atmosphere of a Christmas Yule log and decorations
May 21, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ella
Brambly Hedge books are very nice, but out of print. I got them from the library then tracked down some of them used. They are lovely stories about a community of mice who always seem to end up having some sort of celebration revolving around lovely food that they have all helped gather. Most of the books also center around the whole community helping one of them through some sort of crisis or difficulty. In this regard, it very much is a picture of what the Church should be for one another.
Saoirse Sterling
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shala Howell
Nov 18, 2011 Shala Howell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
For the story, think Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit stories with mice and without the sometimes surprising lapses into violence that forcibly remind you that Potter wrote in a different cultural context. In Potter's world, Mr. MacGregor has a distressing habit of stalking through the pages taking potshots at the cast with his shotgun. That sort of thing doesn't happen in the Brambly Hedge.

So a charming story, but it was the illustrations with their incredibly rich detail that won my heart. Small
Aug 16, 2014 Min rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After hearing about the Old Oak Palace through the Seasons, this adventure inside it, adds to the magical world that is Brambly Hedge. The charm deepens as Wilfred and Primrose explore areas that haven't been used in years. For what were they used? Who was here? Discovering these answers builds my love for this little world.
Aug 22, 2014 Kami rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun little book. My kids liked it and I loved the pictures and just the story in general. I mean it was nothing super exciting, but it was sweet in a Beatrix Potter sort of a way.
Apr 22, 2009 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I saw a recommendation for this book within another review (The 100 Cupboards). Before that, I had never heard of Brambly Hedge of Jill Barklem.

This book was a nice surprise, even if it is about mice. It's inventive and imagination inspiring. Makes me want to climb through all the tiny rooms in that tree! Read the book to see what I mean.

One of the other books we have checked out right now about Brambly Hedge has a picture at the end of Jill Barklem's art studio. Right in her drawing space is a
Oct 14, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a bit of story in this book -- more than some of the others in series -- but the illustrations, while very lovely and richly textured, aren't the best of the series, either.
Suzie Darlington
best book of my childhood! reminds me of my nan and is the best thing to pass on to my boys :)
May 14, 2016 Snufkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another lovely addition to these mice tales!
Beverly J.
Dec 27, 2014 Beverly J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything about these books <3
Nov 14, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Looking back on it, I think this story was my favourite of the Brambly Hedge stories. I blame this story for my love of poking about in old attics. As always, you find yourself lost in the illustrations. It makes you long for that joy of discovery in an old house, of finding the ultimate place to hide away on a rainy afternoon.
Mar 27, 2007 Rina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved this book ever since receiving it for my sixth birthday. What child doesn't relish the thought of a secret staircase from one's home leading up to the cobwebbed but still grand court of one's ancestors, with old costumes to dress-up in as well! I spent quite a while knocking walls in our rented house after reading this.
Dec 28, 2011 Dayna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really cute and I enjoyed reading it. It reminded me of the Peter Rabbit stories. I loved the pictures and found myself wanting to hang out with these two little mice running around the halls of the tree they live in. :)
Gave me a childhood obsession with secret rooms and hidden passages I'm not entirely over. I can still remember the beautifull illustrations and all they evoke.
Jan 24, 2008 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wishes they could find a secret room
Shelves: children-s-book
Who doesn't like reading about hidden/secret doors that hide somewhere cool? The illustrations are just as fun to look at as the book is to read!
Apr 05, 2010 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
What can I say? I'm a sucker for intelligent mice tales and this is one such. I read it to my son years ago and still remember it fondly.
Clare Holman-Hobbs
I remember being fascinated by the secret staircases. I was really jealous and wanted one for myself!
The story: a disappointing ending to a promising start. The richly detailed illustrations are lovely, though.
Jun 16, 2011 Feodora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
Who has not dreamt,as child, to find a hidden , long forgotten place. To find old things.
Apr 30, 2008 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book when I was 6 and it was my favorite forever! Now my kids love it too!
Dec 11, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best children's story ever. One can get lost in the illustrations.
Dianna Signs
Jul 20, 2011 Dianna Signs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably my favorite Brambley Hedge book. Love the hidden rooms.
More Brambly Hedge ...
Jul 01, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore these books!
Laura Molloy
Laura Molloy rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2016
Marian Thomas
Marian Thomas marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2016
Sarah marked it as to-read
Aug 22, 2016
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Aug 22, 2016
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After an accident when she was thirteen, Jill was unable to take part in PE or games at school and instead developed her talent for drawing and art. On leaving school, she studied illustration at St Martin's in London. Jill is now a full-time illustrator, working on the expanding series of books about the mice of Brambly Hedge. She spent five years on research before she started to write her first ...more
More about Jill Barklem...

Other Books in the Series

Brambly Hedge (8 books)
  • Spring Story
  • Summer Story
  • Autumn Story
  • Winter Story
  • The High Hills
  • Brambly Hedge - Sea Story: Primrose and Wilfred Sail to Sandy Bay
  • Poppy's Babies

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