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The Song of Seven

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,995 ratings  ·  73 reviews
At the end of every schoolday, new teacher Mr Van der Steg entertains his pupils with tall tales of incredible events, which he claims really happened to him - involving hungry lions and haunted castles, shipwrecks and desert islands. One day, when he can't think of anything suitably exciting to tell them, he invents a story about a very important letter which he's expecti ...more
Published November 3rd 2016 by Pushkin Press (first published 1966)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,995 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Frans van de Steg, teacher, devoted time at the end of each school day to telling tall tales. A born storyteller, he entranced his students with yarns about his adventures, shipwrecks and desert island escapades as hero, Frans the Red. One day, he told his class that he was expecting a letter and headed for home without weaving a story. An ensuing storm rattled windows, blew open doors and a mysterious letter drifted in requesting that he take a carriage provided by GrGr (signature illegible) at ...more
May 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, dutch
Loved this book!
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 I realized I prefer Dragt's fantasy stories. This one had a great writing style, but the story itself didn't quite captivate me. It had some interesting points, but after the Letter for the King series, this was a bit too plain. I really liked some of the characters, though. A nice book, but I expected more.
De Zevensprong is one of my childhood favourites that I still reread occasionally, even though I now know the story by heart. It’s a children’s book by the famous Dutch author Tonke Dragt, and has received general critical acclaim here in the Netherlands.

This children’s book can probably be described best as a mystery novel, in which schoolteacher Frans van der Steg almost hopelessly stumbles about, pulled into it all by what seems to be a simple accident (but is actually a well-concocted plan b
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is why I started writing
Mar 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
This is a Dutch children's classic, apparently; I suspect I came to it too late to really enjoy it. It's a mystery story about a young schoolteacher who gets involved in a search for missing treasure. I found it a bit slow and repetitive at the start, but overall quite charming.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-literature
I really enjoyed this book as a kid.
Bruce Gargoyle
I received a copy of this title from Allen and Unwin for review.

Ten Second Synopsis:
Frans is a reasonably content young school teacher who enjoys nothing more than sharing a tall tale (all featuring himself, of course) with the children he teaches. When one of his tales starts to permeate into his real life however, Frans is reluctantly drawn into a centuries old mystery and a plot to save a young boy from a fiendish foe.

After having put Dragt's The Letter for the King and The Secrets of the Wil
The second of Dragt's books that I have read and one which, unusually, has an adult protagonist in the guide of Frans van der Steg, a storytelling teacher. Although I enjoyed The Letter for the King more with its easier-to-follow narrative, there was still so much here to celebrate. The characters are complex, the set elusive and wild (reminding me of Wynne Jones and Aiken in a way) and the plot itself - super-smart.
When Frans van der Steg arrives at his new school, he falls on telling the child
Patrick Scheele
This book was turned into a tv series when I was young. I saw all the episodes, except for the last one. So when I bumped into the original book, I figured after 30 years it was time to find out how it ended.

Turns out it's not a bad book, at least for children, but it doesn't age with the reader, the way some children's books do (like Harry Potter). All the mystery and suspense I remember from my youth, turns out to be a bunch of weird characters doing weird things and so accidentally solving a
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books still. Every now and then I read it again. It's a clever, sligtly sinister, fun story where the good guys win.
Pop Bop
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Spare, Vintage Post-Modern (?), Whimsical, Strange, Fantasy Adventure

I very much enjoyed this book, and so want to do it justice in trying to describe it as a reading experience. It was first published in 1966, in Dutch, and has now been translated. Dragt was, and is, rightfully celebrated in the Netherlands and it is a real pleasure to have her available now to English readers. Because many of her books have sci-fi and fantasy elements and are set in near-future environments, and because of her
Juli Rahel
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, De Zevensprong, or The Song of Seven, was a major part of my childhood. Some of my favourite memories are of my father reading the book to me when I was young, or Skyping home while at University only to realize my family is binge-watching a Dutch TV adaptation of the book. When a novel is that close to your heart it becomes close to impossible to be objective about it. The same counts for the Harry Potter books, for example. I will defend those books to the death, simply because they have b ...more
Tonja Drecker
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an English translation of a well-known Dutch tale, one that was even made into a television show.

Mr. Van der Steg is a teacher, who loves to tell adventurous tales to his pupils the last minutes of school—something the pupils enjoy as well. When he announces one day that he's waiting for a letter, said letter is suddenly swept to him in a storm and signed Gr...Gr. He's sure it's a practical joke thought out by some students, but when a carriage arrives to take him to the mysterious Gr...
Amy Leigh
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I was drawn to the description I was given of this book initially even though it said it was geared towards middle schoolers. I'm so glad I took a chance with this one. What I found is a well written novel full of intrigue, mystery and magic.

Frans Van De Steg is a professor for ten and eleven year olds. When school started at the beginning of the summer semester he found by the end of the day the children were too rowdy. His solution to this was at the end of every day he started telling them of
Rosanne Lortz
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
School teacher Frans van der Steg amuses the children in his classroom with adventure stories about Frans the Red, but he never imagined that he would find himself in the middle of his own adventure story. Shortly after arriving in the quiet village, he receives a letter from a mysterious Count Gradus Grisenstein asking him to tutor his nephew Geert-Jan. But before he can meet the Count, Frans finds himself finagled into a conspiracy including two old spinsters, a magician, a motorcycle punk, an ...more
Thank you to NetGalley and Pushkin Children's Books for providing me with an e-copy to read and review.

The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt was a true joy to read. It is perhaps the most exciting fairytale mystery/adventure I have ever read.

Yes, it is that good.

So good that the only thing I felt compelled to do was sit back, relax, and read - and write down names here and there (there are a lot of names to remember!). I constantly had to know what would happen next.

The story is compelling right fr
Amber Linde
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I love Dragt's books, but this one was just a little disappointing ... The Letter for the King was good (4 stars) and Secrets of the Wild Wood even better (5 stars) so I had very high expectations. Contrary to Dragt's abovementioned books, this one was new to me. I've read the other two in Dutch before I read this translation, so maybe it has something to do with my rating, I don't know. The Song of Seven reads like it was intended for a younger audience than the stories about Tiuri. The bad guy ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t help but love Tonke Dragt her writing. This book evoked strong feelings of nostalgia within me, since I remember my teacher reading the first two chapters of this book -in Dutch- to my class when I was ten. Now, many years later, I can finally say that I have finished the story, even though it is in another language. This story is not necessarily very action-packed or fast-paced, but yet it has a feeling of tension weaved through it that makes you want to continue reading. Right from the ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was delightful! I didn't realize until I finished it that it's a translation of a 1960s Dutch book. I think I enjoyed it so much because it has the charm of older fantasy novels such as Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, Phantom Toll Booth, etc. It's quirky, funny, ridiculous, and whimsical! There isn't much else I can say about it that wouldn't spoil the story. It's a wonderful read if you want something laid back and just plain enjoyable.

I read this for free thanks to NetGalley.
Ryan Freeman
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enchanting. I feel like the voice is an old old story I read as a child- a sort of story I’ve always know but almost (not quite) forgotten over the years. Highly recommend!

I feel like I’ve already heard about the House of Stairs and wandered its halls, exploring it and hunting for treasure (as all true old houses inevitably conceal). - the rain on the panes and the roving black cat- the conspiracies and the secrets... Perfect.
A fun adventure tale originally published in 1966 and recently translated into English. Hardly the nail-biter described on the cover, I don't know if it would appeal to children today, but I enjoyed it. I would read more by this author and the translation was done very well (in my humble opinion!).
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the British Pushkin edition translated into English of The Song of Seven after enjoying the same of Letter for the King and Secrets of the Wild Wood. The stories are simple and lyrical in the most elegant way. I am evangelizing Tonke Dragt to friends and their kids here in America, where I hope they will become available.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Tonke Dragt’s best by far. She really out did herself with the riddles and mystery. It keeps you on the edge of your seat while Frans the Red shuffled ever so closer to the truth of the prophecy and the truth wont disappoint. Defiantly worth reading.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
3.5/5 I reckon.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly quirky fun story reminiscent to me of the Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland...
I highly recommend for anyone who wants something different.
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun and charming book. My only disappointment was that the treasure was not specified very clearly, or why this was so special. Not sure why...
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feb-2019
She's just the best storyteller.
LeAnne Christiansen
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fun story with an unusual hero.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it! First half especially!
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Tonke Dragt werd in 1930 geboren in Indonesië, en heeft daar het grootste deel van haar jeugd doorgebracht. In 1942 kwam ze met haar moeder en twee zusjes terecht in een Jappenkamp, en daar heeft ze ontdekt dat ze ze kon ‘ontsnappen’ door verhalen te verzinnen. Ze schreef en tekende in eerder gebruikte uitgegumde schriftjes en zelfs op wc-papier, want er was bijna niets. Samen met een vriendinnetj

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