I did exactly half the book last time so here are my thoughts on the second half.
THE FIVE’S FRIENDS
A list of the friendly people the five run into on their adventures from Aggie at Owl’s Dene to Berta Wright the daughter of the scientist Elbur Wright. It even includes a character from one of the short stories.
The list goes on for five pages, and each character gets a decent paragraph usually describing their appearance, how the Five come to know them, their involvement in any adventurous happenings and often a random fact or two about their personality or preferences. Saying that, it does have a few entries like ‘Fair Folk’ which covers several people in one go.
Jenny (21): The long-suffering maid of Professor Hayling at Big Hollow House. Jenny is a wonderful cook, with a character similar to Joan the cook at Kirrin cottage. She had sharp ears ad hears the quiet noises made the night Professor Hayling’s secret papers are stolen. She feels the cold and does not like swimming.
This on the whole is a much, much better look at Famous Five characters than the one we get in Eva Rice’s book . I couldn’t spot any obvious mistakes but it seems a bit odd that the biggest friend of the Five, namely Jo, is not mentioned except in passing. Possibly for space reasons Martin Curton isn’t there either, nor is the coastguard or Alf/James the fisher boy.
FIVE ON A TREASURE ISLAND
This, at first, appears to be an excerpt from chapter fourteen of the book, but it didn’t seem right to me. Comparing it to the original text showed me exactly why. The whole thing has been massively rewritten. Some parts are so changed it’s hard to find exactly which part of the original they are from.
‘Who’s there’ the threatening voice boomed out again. Timmy growled louder and louder. He’d protect George and Julian if he could. Yes! And the ingots, too!
Compares possibly to:
“Who is here? Who is down here?”
George clutched Julian in fright. Tim went on growling, all the hairs on his neck standing up straight.
To be simple, it’s a quite atrocious version of the story and worse, it ends with Now read on! Find a copy of Five on a Treasure Island today! Pretty daft if you ask me, considering even a modern copy won’t be anything like what they’ve just read!
The illustrations are the same style as those from the comic version of George’s Hair is Too Long from earlier in the book.
A fairly fiendish code breaking puzzle that took me a minute or two to figure out the clue to!
Another short but good bio.
THE FIVE THROUGH THE YEARS
An intriguing puzzle, eleven covers from different editions of the books. The challenge is to put them in order they came out! I did not badly, I just got a couple the wrong way around – and I didn’t cheat by looking in the cave!
MEET ENID BLYTON
A two page spread detailing essentially her whole life, though obviously the details are selective as there wouldn’t be room to include everything. Nothing new to me in it, but for child readers it’s a good insight into her life.
QUICK ON THE DRAW
A game rather like ‘beetle drive’. The goal is to draw a picture of Timmy by rolling the dice (each number represents a body part). For some reason there are counters representing the four human members of the Five plus Sooty and Marybelle, though I can’t see why you need them, especially as they want you to cut them out to play! Think I’ll give the game a miss, I can’t draw and the picture example of Timmy is nothing like any illustration I’ve seen of him before!
RACE TO PACK
Another game, not sure I fully understand the instruction about ‘moving clockwise’ but at least they’re not asking you to mutilate the book to play!
GOOD OLD TIMMY
This is one of the eight short stories, and it seems to be printed in full which is nice (though it’s not one of the strongest short stories in my opinion.) The illustrations aren’t terrible but the bathing suits are a bit off putting.
FIVE HAVE PLENTY OF FUN
Another puzzle. This one’s unusual as it looks like you have to actually have a copy of the book to solve it, as it requires you to put words from chapter titles into the grid. I think I’ll have a go at it later.
A bio for the canine member of the Five. Amusingly it says
George gave Alf/James, a local fisherboy, all of her pocket money to look after him for her.
A lovely Soper-illustration based puzzle, using illustrations from the coloured in millennium edition. The task is to fill in the blanks from eight sentences and then match the sentences to the illustrations from Five Get Into Trouble.
Poor Anne, coming last! After Timmy, even!
AROUND THE WORLD WITH THE FAMOUS FIVE
A selection of six foreign versions of the Famous Five books, and a little puzzle to match them to the countries they come from. Interesting as the Finnish language doesn’t look like I thought it would!
THE FIENDISH FAMOUS FIVE QUIZ PART 2
Twenty four questions this time, I managed 21 right answers, the other three I just couldn’t remember! Again, good questions which are hard enough without being too hard.
Thank goodness for these, nothing worse than quizzes and puzzles with no answers! No cheating allowed though!
And that’s us at the end of the annual. Over-all it’s a good book, though it’s let down in a couple of places by overly modern versions of the stories. Its strong points are the decent puzzles, Soper Illustrations and the fact that the information within is all well written and without the common mistakes people tend to make when writing about Blyton or her works.
It’s certainly worth buying especially when it’s available in supermarkets and online for much less than a fiver.
Next post: Famous Five Annual 2015