Author: Ethel Turner
Thought I have grown out of reading children's books, but we never will be. More so when the story line concerns with seven naughty ones. But be warned, these are not the peppermint children of 'Sound of Music' for the "very excellent reason that Australian children never are". Even their house bears the name 'Misrule' and that is what the story is all about; the little anarchist kingdom that runs behind a military strict father and their subsequent growth to maturity through sometimes painful experiences.
They might have shared a different century with the aboriginal-white discrepancy raging outside but not tampering with their blissful lives, but the delight the reading permeates remains same so much so that the sad fate of Judy wrings out hearts, and we may wish our best for Meg but surely we will miss the plump, little General from our drawing rooms. Now to the story:
As the title suggests the protagonists of the story are seven Woolcot children - Meg, Pip, Judy, Nell, Bunty, Baby and General. They live in Sydney in the house which goes by the name Misrule with their Captain father who has little understanding of them and stepmother Esther who is only twenty so lacks the experience to handle this herd.
They wreck havoc in the house and embarrass their parents in front of guests which of course never goes unpunished by the firm Captain. But once Judy's and Pip's little prank goes out of limits and Judy is sent to boarding school mercilessly.
Meg gets influenced by her friend Aldith at the sweet age of sixteen and is given due training in the art of flirting. Accordingly they make acquaintance with two young men but Meg falls in love with the older, clear headed Alan who is not in the group. When one of her letters are misdealt and is wrongly delivered to Alan, he strongly reprimands her recent behaviour and faulty friendship, thus putting an end to this coquettishness.
Meanwhile Judy runs away from school with a burning desire to be with her siblings and they conceal her in a deserted loft. Captain eventually finds out this 'spoilt' girl but her sick state prevents him from sending her back.
To assist Judy's recovery Esther's parents invite her with children to Yarrahappini where they spend some happy days. But an unexpected end comes all this when on a picnic day Judy is crushed to death by a falling tree, while saving the little General. Sobered by her death the family returns home wiser; Captain is determined to cherish his remaining children on account of Judy's sacrifice.