Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Secret Three

The Secret Three
Mildred Myrick
drawings by Arnold Lobel
Harper & Row, 1963

Have I given the love lately to the "An I Can Read Book" series? Such literary bliss. Opening a new one is always a treat, and the size (perfect for preschool and kinder hands) and spines of these titles, I always keep an eye out for when book shopping. Barring stories about birds, dragons or Harry Potter, this one might've had more influence on my son's make-believe play than any other book he's loved. It's about a lighthouse and boats and a secret club and writing things in code and messages in a bottle... really, all the little things little boys love. Even the title thrills him. The Secret Three. So mysterious and important. Total Huck Finn storyline here... bringing out the best of old-school child's play.

And so it begins that Mark and Billy are hanging at the beach when they come across a bottle with a message tucked inside and written in code by the lighthouse keeper's son, Tom. The three boys strike up a coded conversation back and forth using the bottle and the waves and decide to form a secret club. When they finally meet, all that is wonderful about being a boy on the brim of adventure comes to life. Though written in simple text for an early reader, the sentiment is heartfelt and true.The boys walked over the island. They found shells. They saw sea gulls. They saw sand dunes. "These dunes would be a good place to camp all night," said Tom. "Could we do that?" asked Mark. "Let's find out if we can bring a picnic supper next Tuesday and camp out," Tom said. "We can cook our food the next morning," said Billy. "I wish next Tuesday would come now," said Mark. "I wish every day would be Tuesday," said Tom.Kudos to Mildred and Arnold for creating a story with no wild mishaps or drastic endings, just simple discovery of the world and its secrets among friends. My son finds the whole thing wildly romantic and uses the club name again and again and again... building elaborate forts out of bedspreads and creating secret places all his own. If they could just stay little...

Also by:
The Terrible Tiger
Red Tag Comes Back
Oscar Otter
The Star Thief
Mouse Tales
Prince Bertram the Bad
Benny's Animals
Miss Suzy
Martha the Movie Mouse
Terry and the Caterpillars
The Strange Disappearance of Arthur Cluck
Ice Cream Cone Coot


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Antmusic said...

Yes, a great Arnold Lobel illustration filled book! Almost one of those "Science I Can Read Books"... but not quite.

vigilceo said...

Thanks for letting us know about this book. It looks fantastic, so I just purchased a copy for myself... ahem, I mean my daughter. Hee...hee.......I'm going to go broke if I keep visiting this blog!!

pussreboots said...

We have this book. It's been ages since we read it. Thanks for the reminder!

Kimberly said...

After reading your review, I, too, just purchased a copy of this book. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Would you do a review of Quentin Blake's Cockatoo book if you have a copy.

I have seen the cover but not the whole book.

Your blog is great, thanks for showing these books.

Christine said...

That looks so wonderful, I would have loved it when I was little... the idea, the illustrations and especially figuring out the code ; )


Burgin Streetman said...

I'm glad you reminded me of cockatoo. we got that from the library once when my son was really little, but that would be a perfect book to add into the mix for his birthday...

unfortunately that book was published in 1992, so two more years before it becomes officially vintage.

Unknown said...

Oh, I remember this book! Loved it! And with 3 boys, I'll have to find it in the library this week for sure!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this- I typed keywords into google of Tom, mirror, message, bottle, children's... And this came up!! That's all I could remember... And now thanks to you, I will be able to buy one of my favorites for my little boy. Thank you!!!!

NIVEK said...

One of my favorites as a kid, I've owned it for years and will pass it down to my kids to keep. Great story, great illustrations. Definitely a nostalgic book of when times were simpler .

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