This Canadian classic has sold more than 200,000 copies in four editions.
Of his forty-seven books, this was Berton’s personal favourite, partly because the characters were inspired by his own children. The Secret World of Og brought the author more fan mail than anything else he wrote – at least a dozen letters a week from children across Canada.
In this fantasy adventure, four children — Penny, the leader; Pamela, her common-sense sister; Peter, whose life’s ambition is to become a garbageman; and Patsy, who collects frogs in her pockets — set out in search of their baby brother, Paul, better known as “The Pollywog,” who has vanished mysteriously from their playhouse. Accompanied by their fearless pets, the children descend through a secret trapdoor into a strange underground world of mushrooms, whose green inhabitants know only one word: “OG!”
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
The Secret World of Og served to inspire an animated action-adventure television series produced in 2006 and airing on CBC Television, Canada's national public broadcaster.
An animated special based on the book, also called The Secret World of Og, was broadcast in the 1980s in America ABC Weekend Special during its 5th Season.
The TV series extends the storyline of the original book, following the five Berton siblings as they descend through a hole in the floor of their playhouse to explore the underground world of Og. There, amid subterranean rivers, caverns and elaborate villages built of mushrooms, they interact with little green creatures called Ogs, and their myriad neighbors - trolls, ogres and fairies, and a mysterious sea monster named Nessie.
The Canadian Children's Opera Company (CCOC) will mount an operatic version of this beloved Canadian classic in May 2010 at the Enwave Theatre of the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. The Secret World of Og, with libretto and music by Dean Burry, is directed by Joel Ivany and conducted by Ann Cooper Gay. Founded in 1968 by Ruby Mercer and Lloyd Bradshaw, the CCOC is the only permanent children's opera company in Canada that commissions and produces operas for children on a regular basis.