The secret doorway by Catherine Sheridan. Illus. by Andrew Mcintosh

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The Secret Doorway, the first book in the Four Go On An Adventure series is reminiscent of Enid Blyton books read long ago. Sister and brother, nine year old Anna and eleven year old Peter, have travelled with their parents from Australia to Ireland for a holiday. Before they leave Anna has a vivid dream of places unknown, danger and an old key.

After settling in, Anna begins to experience unusual happenings which she and Peter respond to as they both know Anna has special gifts. After making friends with local siblings, Liam and Cara, the four children find lots in common and enjoy camping in the back garden of the holiday house which backs onto a forest.  After watching a mysterious fog roll in over a couple of nights and witnessing strange lights, the naturally curious group decide to investigate and with Anna’s old key, unlock a secret doorway that leads to a magical world full of crystals, mysteries and storybook folk including leprechauns, fairies and pixies. But there is trouble brewing and what danger will the children face as they try to help the folk in the enchanted forest?

The four children are certainly the heroes of this story. Each have their own unique personality and strengths to share when needed. The parents have a very minor role to play in the book and trust that the children will do the right thing at all times. All of the children are self-sufficient, reliable and responsible, and have impeccable manners! A wholesome story that will appeal to children looking for a gentle escape into a fantasy world all their own.

Themes: Children, Adventure, Magic, Secret Doorway, Magical Worlds, Curiosity, Special Gifts.

Kathryn Beilby