One of our Superstar Guest Stars has agreed to a new challenge based on our chats relating to #LBCPuffins.
Can’t wait to read each review as they come! Huge thanks – as always – to Helen…though now I think on it…missing out on all these wonderful stories… Clearly we need each other!
Helen’s Enid Blyton Challenge
About the Author
In 2012 The Famous Five turned 70 years old.
The Famous Five are among Enid Blyton’s best-loved creations and countless children have gone adventuring with them since the publication of Five on a Treasure Island in 1942, the first of twenty-one full-length adventures and numerous short stories. Armed with maps, torches, packets of sandwiches and a plentiful supply of ginger-beer, Julian, Dick, Anne, their tomboy cousin George (Georgina by rights) and Timmy the dog like nothing better than to spend their holidays hiking and
biking, camping and exploring by themselves, invariably falling into adventure.
Friends like Jo the gypsy girl, young Tinker Hayling, Sooty Lenoir, and even George’s scientist father (Uncle Quentin to the others), often get caught up in the strange goings-on too. And what thrilling places they visit and discover — Kirrin Island, Smuggler’s Top, Owl’s Dene, the lighthouse at Demon’s Rocks and farms, castles, caves and secret passages galore. Whether they’re outwitting thieves, smugglers or kidnappers, seeking hidden treasure or encountering spook trains, the Five’s courage and determination always wins through!
Enid Blyton’s original books were charmingly illustrated by Eileen Soper but there have been numerous interpretations and adaptations of the Famous Five over the years including continuation novels written by French author Claude Voilier, cinema films, stage plays, two television series and, more recently, a Disney cartoon series featuring the children of the Famous Five.
However, the twenty-one original books have never been out of print and remain popular with readers worldwide. Long live the Famous Five!
The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?
This is the second book in my challenge for LBC and it did not let me down. I absolutely loved this book, it kept me gripped. I must admit that some of the wording Enid uses made me cringe (I apologise deeply for that) but to be fair it was written quite a while ago and has stood the test of time.
I’m beginning to wonder what I have missed out on regards reading both as an adult and as a child. What was I doing as a child not to read more of Enid Blyton? I remember at junior school taking books home and borrowing from the library and the as I went into teenage years, we always used to visit the library and charity shops for books, but only a very few have stuck with me.
The copy I had, has a cover illustrated by Quentin Blake, I love his work. And like him this is my first introduction to The Famous Five. So let’s begin.
We are straight away introduced to Julian, Dick and Ann, who are sat eating breakfast at home and their parents tell them their holiday is going to be different this year. Instead of going with them they are to be sent to their Uncle Quentin’s, Aunt Fanny’s and Cousin Georgina’s in Kirrin Bay.
The children are driven down by their parents stopping off for a picnic on the way. They get really excited about seeing the sea and I remember as a child sat in the back of the car on a day trip eager to see the sea suddenly appear. It always felt like a different part of the world.
When they pull up outside their Aunt’s house they discover their cousin Georgina or ‘George’ has vanished. They are warned that their cousin prefers to be called George and won’t answer to anything else as she hates being a girl. This instantly made me think we had a spoilt naughty child on our hands.
The next day George is told to take her cousins down to the bay and show them around. George, not being happy with this, as she never wanted them to visit takes them out and shows them Kirren Island and explains one day it will all be hers. Unfortunately her cousins think she’s lying. George has a secret and we find out she has a dog called Tim who she found as a puppy on the moors and took him home. But as Tim grew he became very noisy and parents told her she couldn’t keep him anymore so she pays the local fisher-boy all her pocket money to look after him meaning unlike other children she doesn’t get sweets or ice-cream like other children.
George has become a very isolated little girl and doesn’t have many friends and finds being an only child she very rarely gets to share things with people. She feels embarrassed when her cousin Julian offers her an ice-cream and she doesn’t want to take it as she has nothing to give back saying ‘it’s mean to take from people if you can’t even give a little back’.
George is a very frustrated young lady and Julian tells her after he and Anne try to explain that she would like things and gets frustrated with them by saying
‘All right, All right, my goodness, how you do go up in smoke! Honestly, I believe anyone could light a cigarette from the sparks that fly from your eyes!’
I’m sure at one point everyone’s felt like that, I know I have. She explains she is always tense because she always has to be on her best behaviour because her Father works really hard and earns very little so making him always bad tempered.
George reluctantly agrees to take her cousins out to the island the next day but once she gets there and spends time with them she realises how fun it is to do things with Julian and the others and share her island with them. She also shows them the spot where her Great-great-great Grandfather’s ship went down. They are so busy exploring the island they don’t realise the storm is coming in and end up hiding in a room in the ruined
castle that’s on the island. I forgot to mention there was a ruined castle didn’t I?
I loved this description of the storm:
‘The lightning tore the sky in half almost every minute, and the thunder crashed so loudly that it sounded almost as if mountains were falling down all around.’
The storm causes the wreck to surface and the children agree to get up early the next day and explore the wreck. They get onto the wreck and explore it’s cabins and find a locked cupboard they open it and find a box, as they go to leave they find that other ships have discovered the wreck has surfaced and come to explore.
When the children get home they are in trouble for missing breakfast and Uncle Quentin takes the box away. The children plot to get it back and Julian succeeds when Uncle Quentin finally falls asleep and he seeks in and grabs it. He takes it down to the others who are on the beach. They open the box and find some old papers and a diary that belongs to George’s Great-great-great Grandfather. They put the diary back as they can’t read the illegible writing and discover one of the parchments is a map of the island and the castle, and that it could be where the lost gold is. They decide to trace the map and go and explore the island the next day. When they get back to the cottage, they put the box back but then find out Uncle Quentin has sold it, along with the island, as someone wants to rebuild the castle and turn it into a hotel. George is furious and yells at her Mother for doing such a thing. But Julian later explains that they wouldn’t have sold it if it was useless but now that it’s not and they need the money and that it could mean she could keep Timothy. However Julian believes the man only wants to buy the island to find the treasure.
So the children decide to go and spend the weekend on the island saying they want to spend as much time on their before it’s sold but really to look for the treasure. They go with Timothy in tow. When there, they realise the entrance to the dungeon (where the gold must be hidden) is in the small room and start to clear
it. Suddenly a rabbit pops up and Timothy shoots off to find it ending up down the well, George is frantic and with the help of the others she climbs down the well to get him, lifting him on her shoulders and climbing back up. Anne then stumbles across a stone with an iron ring. They find they have to work together to pull it open and discover it leads to the dungeons. They wander down but find they get lost but then find the door and it’s
locked. They realise that it’s getting late and decide to have tea and return the next day.
When they go back into the dungeons the next day they decide to mark the walls with chalk so they can find their way back. They having taken an axe down and when they reach the door and start to break it down, whilst doing this a splinter flies off and hits Dick in the cheek, so Anne and Julian take him back to clean him
up and leave George to finish breaking the door down. Julian returns to help George and when they get in they find the ‘ingots’ or ‘curious bricked shaped things’.
Suddenly Timothy starts barking. It turns out two men have come down to the island and discover them in the dungeons. George yells at them that they can’t take away the island once her parents know what’s happening, but then Timothy starts growling at the men and he threatens her with a gun and tells her she isn’t going home. They lock Julian and George in the dungeon and they realise there are others so they make George send Timothy up with a note to bring them down. However Dick and Anne realise it’s a warning and set a plan to rescue Julian and George. However, Timothy returns to find George and the men realise something’s up and go in search of the others. Dick and Anne see them coming so hide in the well. The men decide to return to
mainland, leaving the children food but taking the oars from the children’s boat. Dick and Anne return to the entrance of the dungeon and find it blocked up. They have to go in search of the other entrance by the tower but again can’t gain entry. In the end Dick goes down the well and rescues George and Julian.
They then come up with a plan to trap the men in the dungeon. It’s down to Dick to get down the well and hide. The plan doesn’t work and the children find themselves fleeing the island. Before they do they damage the men’s boat, so they can’t follow.
The children return home and try to explain it to Aunt Fanny, knowing Uncle Quentin might not believe them. Even Timothy gets involved. In the end the police are called and they go to the island. Finding the men gone, they secure the gold and return it to the family. The result being it makes Uncle Quentin into a nicer person because they have no more money worries and Timothy gets to live with George.
This book for me was about how George discovers its fun to share things, that doing things or being alone isn’t always the fun. George learns how fun it is to work together as a team. I liked it when George realised that sharing things with people is a lot easier than keeping it a secret and bottling things up I think she says-
‘Talking about things to people does help a lot. They don’t seem so dreadful then; they seem more bearable
She also learns how our actions/reactions to people effects the way people treat us in return. ‘Having her cousins there makes her realise how her behaviour, makes her parents react to her and likes the effect her cousins are having on her’.
I think this book teaches us a lot about secrets, about relationships, about life, about how children see adults and vice versa. Like I said before I absolutely loved this book and as a result I think the message there are a lot of messages in this book, It’s good to share, we react in certain ways because of the situation we’re in, but my favourite is that once in a while we should all have a little adventure, but perhaps not go looking for gold on a deserted island.
Next book: Secret Seven
The Book List
Dec – The Twins at St Clare’s
Nov – The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat
Oct – The Naughtiest School Girl
Sep – Mr Galliano’s Circus
Aug – The Boy Next Door
Jul – Adventures of the wishing Chair
Jun – The Magic Faraway Tree
May – The Enchanted Wood
Apr – The Adventures of Scamp
Mar – Secret Seven
Feb – Five on a treasure Island
Jan – The Book of Brownies
Helen tweets from @isfromupnorth and has her own blog Hello from me to you. It’s worth bookmarking because Helen knows EVERYONE and is involved in all sorts of lovely events!