Stef’s spring reads

I keep waking up in the morning wondering if today will be the day where the weather breaks from winter cold to the tentative glories of spring, so far, no luck. In fact at work I have recently completed a display of bright and cheerful books and poster for “Spring Reads” trying to bring some brightness into people’s lives.

This display prompted me to wonder about the books Blyton wrote that have a spring setting, in an attempt to try and bring some hope and colour into this extended winter (because let’s face it, by now we should have put away the snow boots and heavy duty coats and knitwear.)

Let’s get cracking shall we?

  1. My first book on this list has to be Five on Kirrin Island Again. Although the book in question doesn’t deal with beautiful bright colours, sunny days and blossoming flowers, the scene that is painted during this adventure, probably fits in best with the weather we have been experiencing recently (in the UK at least.)
    The book has a thrilling storyline to it to make up with for the gloomy weather as originally Blyton was going to finish the series with this book, but her fans called out for more.
    We do get weak shafts of sunlight, and the odd dry day, along with a few daffodils thrown in to make the idea of spring a lot stronger. If you feel like being more realistic with your spring reading, this is the book for you!

    Five on Kirrin Island Again original dustjacket. Illustrated by Eileen Soper.

    “Five on Kirrin Island Again” dustjacket. Illustrated by Eileen Soper.

  2. Book two on my list is another Famous Five title; Five Get into Trouble. It is perhaps the most obvious of the spring reads especially where the Five fall asleep and Julian is woken up by a little lamb trying to climb on him.
    I also consider it a spring read because there is no mention of boiling temperatures, such as the ones we get in Five Go Off in a Caravan. We have lovely scenery as well in this book with the primroses and the scenes by the pool and in the woods.
    Even though it is spring, it does seem warm enough to be sleeping under the stars and bathing in the pool –  though Julian and Dick do describe it as very cold!

    Five get into Trouble, first edition dustjacket. Illustrated by Eileen Soper.

    “Five Get  Into Trouble”, first edition dustjacket. Illustrated by Eileen Soper.

  3. Third Term at Malory Towers  is my third spring read. Although the terms in Malory Towers are rarely specified, I have a feeling that the this one is supposed to be a spring term because the girls are still playing Lacrosse (technically a ‘winter’ sport I believe.) Even if it isn’t supposed to be a spring term, this books is my favourite of the Malory Towers and has quite a dramatic curve to it, which is perfect for helping you forget the gloom at this time of year!

    1st Edition dustjacket by Stanley Lloyd.

    1st edition dustjacket by Stanley Lloyd.

  4. Mystery of the Burnt Cottage is set in the Easter holidays and from the start is enough to warm you up. The first Five Find-Outers and Dog book, starts with introductions to the gang, and their initial dismissal of Fatty, who eventually becomes their much cherished leader.
    We follow the five children and their dog through the mystery of who burnt down the cranky old Mr Hick’s cottage with all his valuable papers inside while he was down in London.
    The suspects are piling up and it is certainly an adventure that makes you want to rush out in the brisk Easter air and join in the fun!


    Dustjacket by Joseph Abbey

  5. A Scottish adventure for Philip and Dinah Mannering, Jack and Lucy-Ann Trent in The Castle of Adventure now. It is the Easter holidays and Mrs Mannering has taken the children to a place called “Spring Cottage” which is set below a castle on a hill.
    The children befriend a local wild girl, Tassie who is sure-footed, country savvy and good with animals, which automatically makes her the perfect girl for the children to befriend.
    What makes the holiday even better is the discovery that Bill Smugs is working nearby and that can only really mean one thing… an adventure can’t be far away!
    Full of vivid scenery and a smashing adventure, try this Adventure Series read to chase away those dreary grey-blues the weather has cast over us recently!

    First edition dustjacket by Stuart Tresilian

    First edition dustjacket by Stuart Tresilian

  6. The third of the four Famous Five books in this list is Five have a Wonderful Time. This book is assumed to be in spring and the Easter holidays because at the beginning of the book, Aunt Fanny tells George off for bathing in April and getting a cold. The cold means that George can’t start off the holidays with her cousins in caravans at Faynights castle. This makes George a terrible patient until her mother agrees that she can go! Finally she joins her cousins in the caravan and they meet up with their friend Jo the gypsy girl just in time for the big adventure!
    This Famous Five is another one that features kidnapping and fairfolk. A proper good Five, even given its slightly un-Five-like title. A good one if you like a bit more social diversity in your reading.

    Five have a Wonderful Time 1st edition Dustjacket by Eileen Soper.

    Five have a Wonderful Time 1st edition Dustjacket by Eileen Soper.

  7. Round the Year with Enid Blyton – The Spring Book is the next book on our list. Written in 1934 and part of a series of four books that Blyton wrote about the changing of the seasons this volume has to make the list just simply because of the title. Rather like the Nature Lover’s Guide by Enid Blyton, the book itself appears to be rather encyclopaedic and explains which flowers and animals can be found in the spring time.

    Round the Year with Enid Blyton- Spring Book. 1934.

    Round the Year with Enid Blyton – Spring Book. 1934.

  8. The Secret Seven Win Through is another Easter book, a pleasing change from the previous Secret Seven Adventures that have taken place during term-time. This book centres around a new meeting place, which turns out to be a cave in a quarry on Peter’s Father’s farm. The Seven agree to use it as their meeting place while the shed is being cleared out.
    While in this new meeting place, Colin brings his Famous Five books ( there would have been fourteen published by this point) for people to share. Unfortunately they start to go missing. Everyone blames Susie, Jack’s sister, and they turn out to look rather foolish as Susie goes on to help the Secret Seven discover who the real thief is!

    Cover of the "Secret Seven Win Through" published 1955 possibly drawn by Bruno Kay.

    Cover of the “Secret Seven Win Through”  by Bruno Kay.

  9. Five go to Billycock Hill is set in the Whitsun half-term holidays at the end of May, making this a spring/summer book. It’s the sort of late spring that makes you really think that summer is on the way. In this adventure the Five head off for some more camping with a friend of Julian and Dick’s – Toby Thomas. Toby – the practical joker – is a hit with the girls even though he almost gets a thrashing from George. The Five meet Jeff Thomas, Toby’s elder cousin, who is an RAF tester pilot based nearby. The Five like him immediately so its a shock to all when Jeff is accused of stealing and crashing a very important aeroplane.
    With suspicious company atl at the Butterfly Farm nearby, in the form of Will Janes, and the butterfly men, the Five set out to clear Jeff’s name.
    A thrilling spring read if you’re in for some action and nature.

    Five go to Billycock Hill 1st Edition Dustjacket by Eileen Soper.

    “Five Go to Billycock Hill” 1st edition dustjacket by Eileen Soper.

  10. The Rilloby Fair Mystery is a nice Easter mystery for you from the Barney Mysteries. A plot that has hints of other Blyton plots, mostly based around the circus animals that the children, Roger, Dinah, Snubby and Barney, fall in with.
    The Rilloby Fair Mystery centres around the theft of stolen papers, prompting a more Five Find-Outers’ approach to crime solving than that of the Famous Five.
    Snubby stays with Roger and Dinah for Easter, when Roger and Dinah’s Great-uncle Robert loses some of his valuable papers. The children decide that the thief’s next target is Marloes Castle, near where the Barney and the fair are based at Rilloby.
    Needless to say it all kicks off after a couple of nights and there are enough twists and turns that keep you guessing ’till the end!

    First Edition Dustjacket from 1950, Illustrated by Gilbert Dunlop.

    First edition dustjacket from 1950, illustrated by Gilbert Dunlop.

And with that, I come to the end of my ten spring reads!

I hope that these have inspired you in what to read next, or inspired you to pick up a new book and get reading.

Happy reading all!

All pictures taken from The Cave of Books.
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1 Response to Stef’s spring reads

  1. Francis says:

    I’ve suddenly decided that spring is here! The first day since who-knows-when that I almost feel warm and looking at your list has decided me on it. What a splendid selection you have come up with, Stef. I so wish that Enid was still with us – I do love her so! At least we have her books.
    Cheered-up Francis.


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