This book by the Dutch author, Tonke Dragt, was originally published in 1967; it is a very well written adventure story for children (suitable for reading to children from 8+ and equally enjoyable for adults). It is set in a fantasy world where the schoolteacher hero (Frans), who tells his pupils stories to capture their interest, finds himself in a real adventure involving treasure, magical tricks, an intelligent cat, coded messages, a mysterious House of Stairs and the Secret of the Seven Ways. The plot whizzes along as our hero, with help from an interesting cast of characters, solves clues and helps to save Geert Jan from the machinations of his evil uncle.
It is a very good introduction to Tonke Draght’s other books for older readers: The Letter for the King and The Secrets of the Wild Wood, which are suitable for readers from 12+ to all ages. One can only wonder why these excellent children’s books were not available in English before now, but, three cheers for Pushkin Children’s Books which has published these and other gems of children’s literature from different countries and different cultures.