I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton. Oh, how I wanted to be one of the Famous Five; solving mysteries and having adventures.
The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. It’s a product of a different age. Even though the oldest of the children is just 12 years old, they roam about the countryside unsupervised; they attend boarding school and have parent’s rich enough to own islands. But that doesn’t take away the fact that our heroes still outwitted criminals, solved crimes and had loads of fun.
What I didn’t know was that Enid Blyton also wrote a series of Famous Five short stories for publication in magazines. These have now been released as books in their own right by Hodder. As I’m working on a middle grade book at the moment, I got hold of a few of the books to see what they were like.
Famous Five colour Short Stories
At 80 pages long, they’re not too long for beginner readers and I was happy to find that they have lost their cutesy 1950’s image and look current and fresh for modern kids. Inside, the illustrations are full colour too, giving them an almost comic book feel.
I did worry whether the 1950’s language might jarr alongside the contemporary artwork but I think it stood up admirably.
Readers of my blog will know I’m a BIG fan of text that complements the illustrations and tried to incorporate that into my own picture book design. Jamie Littler, the artist on the Famous Five books, does this really well.
What are the books about?
Five and a Half-term Adventure
George’s dog Timmy sniffs out an adventure when he spots some suspicious-looking passengers on a train. He is very interested in one of them, but what has he spotted? Can the Famous Five solve this mystery?
Well done, Famous Five
The most famous racehorse in England is being trained in Kirren, and the Famous Five are eager to watch. But when the horse bolts the Famous Five need to think quickly to make sure he isn’t lost or injured. The whole of England is depending on them.
Good Old Timmy
After the Five see a boy being kidnapped at the beach, they set out to find him. But where have the kidnappers hidden the boy? Will Timmy lead them to the answer?
George’s Hair is Too Long
Borrowing some scissors is the beginning of an adventure for the Famous Five, as George manages to get mixed up with some burglars. Julian, Dick and Anne are too busy eating ice cream to realise that George is in trouble! Will the Famous Five manage to catch up with the burglars and save the day?
A Lazy Afternoon
It’s so terribly hot, the Famous Five are having a lazy afternoon…but the gang don’t get the peace and quiet they imagined! What are the men on the motorbikes up to? Can they be stopped?
I really liked this new series. I’m sure they’ll be a hit for children transitioning from early readers to ‘real books’ and reluctant readers will love the colourful pages. They are a great introduction to Enid Blyton’s classic series.
I’ll be giving away copies of the 5 books in my June Giveaway, just answer the easy question below.
Thanks for reading
Check out the latest book review of Things Evie Eats
It’s always exciting when you get a book review so I wanted to share the awesome review of Things Evie Eats that I received from the lovely Karen over at The Next Best Thing to Mummy.
This is a delightful book with fantastic illustrations
Especially useful to parents and carers who have a fussy eater
Reviews are like gold dust to authors. You can read the full review HERE while I do my happy dance.
Book review: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane
I was really happy to win a copy of Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane recently in a giveaway on GetKidsIntoBooks. I thought it looked like a great story to share with the grandchildren. Here’s how we got on.
My grandson is into planes at the moment. His favourite toy is “Dusty Crophopper” 🙂 So he was excited to see a new book about a plane. He wasn’t bothered that the plane was pink and flowery in the slightest but I was a little surprised by it’s colour given the books clear attempt to challenge gender stereotypes.
The illustrations are bright and colourful with enough detail for us to talk about, and I loved the characterization of Pilot Jane. Grandson is also a big fan of rhyming text, so that was another point in the books favour.
The Pilot Plot
The story tells how Pilot Jane and her plane, Rose, go on lots of exciting journey’s. They earn such a great reputation that the Queen asks them to fly her to a party. Unfortunately, Rose eats ‘cake fuel’ the night before and wakes up with ‘plane flu.’ which means that Jane has to take the Queen in ‘Mighty Mitch’.
Naughty Mighty Mitch is cross that his new pilot is a girl.
Mitch groaned: “A girl pilot! Bother and drat!
I’ll bet she’s slow – or a big scardey cat!”
He starts to behave badly to scare her and to show off. (Grandson liked that he was naughty lol) But there’s a storm coming and that’s where things start to go wrong. Happily, Pilot Jane has the necessary skills to bring the situation under control and the pair ends up working together and becoming friends.
The story kept grandson’s attention the whole time. He insisted on a second and third reading straight away and asked, “Where’s the new book about the plane?” on his next visit. That makes Pilot Jane a definite hit.
Despite the message – girl’s can be pilot’s too – the last line was particularly good.
Whatever the weather, we work together,
Hurray for Girl – and Boy – Power Forever.
After the ‘girl bashing’ in the book I reviewed last, it was nice that the story fostered some much needed gender co-operation. In fact, I grew to like the pink plane. This was a book that showed girls can be girly, as well as strong and able.
British Books Challenge