I chose to do the quiz book this week rather than the annual as reviewing the annual would require having read it. And I haven’t, yet. I actually haven’t read all the quiz book yet but I don’t think you need to have read every single question to give a review.
SO, THE BOOK
I like the cover as it has Eileen Soper’s Five on the front, and a nice font. Even though it’s a shiny yellow paperback it still sort of fits with series, and especially with the two annuals that have come out in the past two years. Inside credit is given to Clive Gifford thought his name isn’t mentioned on the outside.
THE FUN OF THE QUESTIONS
I think all quiz books are best enjoyed with others really, even if they haven’t read a Blyton book in a very long time. For example we had a very good laugh, or at least I did, when I asked question #23What animals do the Five see first on Kirrin Island? I was deliberating between rabbits and jackdaws. My family answered sheep. And then proceeded to try and defend their answer.
Maybe it’s just my family that can make fun out of everything but we even found it hilarious when a question gave you three or more options, such as #35 Was Mr Luffy a teacher at Dick and Julian’s school, a lodger at Kirrin Cottage or one of Uncle Quentin’s scientist friends?, and then each person tries an answer until eventually someone gets it right (almost every time this happened they gave the wrong answers first.)
On the whole the easy questions were quite easy, or they should have been for anyone who’s read the books reasonably recently. There were only a few I wasn’t sure on or had to guess at. Most were very easy, like #2 How many of the Famous Five are animals? and others are made easier by the fact that in answering #2 someone will have no doubt said Timmy, making #12 What is the name of the dog in the Famous Five? somewhat redundant, but none of that matters too much as it’s just a bit of fun.
The majority of the questions in the book fall into the medium difficulty category, and these are split into 19 quizzes of 50 questions each. Then there is one 50 question set of tough questions.
Somehow it bothers me that there are 19 quizzes in the middle (rather than a nice even number), though in total it makes 21 quizzes which is quite apt. I’m a little surprised that the medium questions are so much more numerous than the easy or hard – usually quiz books have a more even distribution, but again it’s not really important.
Despite the title, there are actually quite a few questions that aren’t directly related to the Famous Five. I suppose that they might have struggled to fill nearly 150 pages of just Famous Five questions, so there are some on Noddy, Blyton’s family and life and her books in general to pad it out.
As with many quizzes getting the answer right depends on how good your memory is (assuming you’ve read the books of course!) There’s nothing that relies on logic or working anything out (unless you count the odd question where they seem to have forgotten to give detail, such as quiz 10, question #21 is the elephant handler at the circus called Larry, Lou, Rossy or Lucilla? Ok so I know that it’s Rossy and they’re referring to Five Go Off in a Caravan, but I feel like it should specify the book. Even if that’s the only circus to feature an elephant in the series, it’s only fair.)
Flicking through the medium questions at random there are plenty I can answer off the top of my head and others I really don’t know, for example I couldn’t recall which infectious disease Wilfrid’s sister had though at a guess measles and it turned out to be right.
So, all in all this is a fun quiz book that I think any fan of the Famous Five would enjoy. Like I’ve mentioned I think it’s probably best enjoyed with others but you could easily test your knowledge alone (and thankfully answers are provided at the back.)
A FINAL WARNING
Unfortunately it does feature the dreaded updatings. So you might give an answer in shillings and be told the answer is in fact 50p, to which you absolutely may roar at the book in your best Uncle Quentin voice to tell it that it’s wrong. And then go check your copy of the book to check the right answer and end all arguments. Best of luck with that!