The Enid Blyton Society
At Seaside Cottage
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Book Details...

First edition: 1947
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Janet and Peter (Secret Seven)
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Books

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Review by David Cook
Further Illustrations

Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

Endpapers from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

Title page from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper
This is the forgotten prequel to the Secret Seven series. A complete short story, beautifully illustrated throughout, mostly in full colour, by Eileen Soper, full of charm and beautifully observed description. It tells of the trip that Peter and Janet, 7 and 6 years old respectively, take with their parents to stay at their grandparents' cottage at Sandy Cove. They are accompanied by Scamper, "the little golden spaniel", a "mad little dog" with "silky ears" who tells next door's cat he has his own train ticket!

After "Daddy" has ensured that all the windows are closed and slammed the front door, they set off for the railway station where Scamper has to be kept off the railway line, and they observe a passing goods train with 34 trucks. Their faraway smoking train gradually arrives and whistles and puffs to a halt, frightening Scamper. The train departs, passing their own back garden and, from the window, they observe fields of cows, winding rivers with bridges over them and lots of back gardens, some neat and tidy and some badly kept and full of weeds!

The observation continues when they arrive at Seaside Cottage where the back garden, which runs to the beach via a little white gate, is prone to sea flooding in winter. Although it's not acknowledged as such, we are back in Blyton's beloved Dorset and the children indulge themselves as Enid's daughters must have done. They catch shrimps in nets, go fishing from Jock's boat, and build sandcastles. Granpa gives them swimming lessons at which Janet is better than Peter and then, as a reward for learning well, he takes them on the steam boat — with paddles, courtesy of Eileen Soper — across to the big, noisy seaside town of Pride's Bay where they have donkey rides and see the pierrot show. Scamper is revealed as a wonder dog, rescuing Peter's forgotten toy boat from where it has been left in the rock pools, and swimming for help when the children, exploring the caves, are cut off by the tide. A delightful tale for young children. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.