The Island of Surprises (New Adventures of the Wishing Chair) by Enid Blyton
|The Island of Surprises (New Adventures of the Wishing Chair) by Enid Blyton|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Cashing in on the magic of Blyton's stories this is a modern-day re-working. It's an easy read for a younger child, but not a patch on the real Wishing-Chair books.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 128||Date: May 2009|
Jack and Jessica have just moved to a new house. They find an old rocking chair in the shed, and when they clean all the dust off it they discover a pixie, Wishler. He has been stuck with the chair for a long time and wants to go home to the Island of Surprises. The children decide to help Wishler get home, and go on an adventure there themselves, discovering that some surprises are nice, but others are not.
When I first saw this book I excitedly (foolishly!) thought perhaps it was a previously undiscovered story by Blyton. However I soon realised that it was, in fact, a new work based loosely around Blyton's creation, the wishing-chair. I personally think that it seems a bit cheeky that it's being marketed as an Enid Blyton novel and I think this would be a disappointing read for any child who was already a fan of Blyton's stories. If they haven't yet discovered the original stories though then perhaps this would whet their appetites.
The original Wishing-Chair stories are charming. There was something so magical about the idea of that old chair that sprouted wings upon its legs and could fly Molly and Peter to strange new worlds, and I used to read the stories over and over as a child. This new wishing-chair is a rocking chair, and it does not grow wings. You just rock backwards and forwards and tell the chair where to go. Wishler, the Pixie they find with the chair is a bit of a wishy-washy character I thought and as there is just one adventure in this story the book is short. The language used is fairly simple and the text is large, so this would be a good book for a younger child to try to read themselves as a first storybook, or perhaps as a bedtime story book for adults to read to older toddlers to introduce them to the world of stories with chapters.
I read the original wishing-chair books when I was around 7 or 8 years old, and continued to re-read them for many years. This book doesn't have that same appeal. The two children in the story don't seem very well formed as characters and everything is a little more simplistic than I'd thought it would be. Blyton was a wonderful storyteller. She has been endlessly critiqued and criticised, but putting all the controversy aside she had the knack of thinking like a child, creating realistic child characters and magical stories that captured the imaginations of children all over the world. This book is cashing in on her creations and trying to lift them into the modern world. I think I would feel more comfortable with this if perhaps the real author was clearly acknowledged rather than it seeming like they're trying to pass this off as another Blyton story. If you are going to offer this to a young child to read then please do be sure to also introduce them to the real wishing-chair stories as their reading skills progress as they are far superior.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Younger readers looking for something else magical to read might like to try The Rainbow Magic Treasury by Daisy Meadows.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Island of Surprises (New Adventures of the Wishing Chair) by Enid Blyton at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Island of Surprises (New Adventures of the Wishing Chair) by Enid Blyton at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.