Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Secret Staircase

The Secret Staircase

Jill Barklem
Picture Book  Series
For ages 4 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2000   ISBN: 978-0689830907

In just a few short hours the Midwinter celebration is going to be held. All the Brambley Hedge mice are busy preparing for this big event. In the Old Oak Palace Primrose and her friend Wilfred are trying to find a quiet place where they can practice the recitation that they are going to give in the evening. They also need to find something to wear for their performance, something special.

Luckily Primrose's mother is very knowledgeable about such things and she advises the little mice to go up into the attics. There they will be able to practice in peace and it is very likely that they will find some good costumes to wear as well.

While they are exploring the attics, Primrose and Wilfred discover a hidden door and behind it there is a long winding staircase. At the top of the staircase the mice children find the most beautiful and elaborate room. In fact there are a whole set of rooms up there packed with fascinating things to look at. Wilfred and Primrose have their very own secret house to play in and to explore.

Young readers will be hard put not to feel very envious of this lucky pair of young mice and their wonderful secret. Most of us would be delighted to find a hidden set of rooms that are full of wonderful old things that everyone else has forgotten are there. For this book Jill Barklem has created a wonderful little winter adventure accompanied by plenty of her cunning and richly detailed illustrations.