Now, in September (September!) I started (started!) reading The Adventures with George and Timmy by Sue Welford, and I think as you might be able to remember (and see here) I didn’t get very far and I wasn’t really a fan. Well, as it is a new year I thought I would give the book another go!
And… I’m really sorry to say that I just couldn’t get on with the story. I mean Sue Welford, who has done an interview for us in the past and commented on my last blog, does a good job, but the story is too young for me I’m afraid. Even though I would like to think I am young at heart!
The story, Timmy the Fearless Puppy, or to give it its other title, George, Timmy and the Haunted Cave if you’re reading it as a separate book rather than in its omnibus form, is the story of how George came across Timmy on the moor, how she decided to become a boy and their first adventure together. George is about nine in this book, and I think that is reflected in the writing.
The main body of the story is about a robbery that takes place on the day that George finds Timmy. Robbers break into the local post office and steal an awful of money, a thousand pounds to be exact. This doesn’t bother George too much, however, because she’s not a Famous Five adventurer yet, and her biggest excitement is finding a cave she’s never spotted before and taking Timmy to explore it.
After Timmy gets himself into trouble by chewing on Quentin’s favourite slipper, and is banished to the garden, George decides to run away from home with Timmy (something I’m sure you’ll agree mirrors what happens in Five on a Secret trail except that Timmy is in disgrace rather than being laughed at), and they go and hide in the cave. That is where her adventure with Timmy really starts.
First of all, it didn’t really hold my attention, I wasn’t really excited about the story, and what was going to happen, unlike when I read a Blyton. The mystery and the adventure were very basic, but if you’re writing for younger children I do suppose that is what it needs to be. I think the only thing I didn’t work out was how the ghostly noises were being made, that was a nice twist to the plot.
Secondly, some of the language riled me. I don’t know if its to do with appealing to the younger generation, but the inclusion of the word ‘jeans’ made me want to stop reading (sorry Sue), because to me that just doesn’t feel Blytonian enough! Another small niggle is that when Timmy communicates, he says “Wurf” not “Woof”. It is just a small thing, and I think more my problem than a problem with the story.
Overall I wouldn’t have bought this book, I don’t think. If it hadn’t have been on the shelf at work I wouldn’t have ended up reading it. I also believe that my opinions are seen through the eyes of a Blyton fan who maybe prefers the original author rather than those who try and write by her. I have had the same experience when trying to read some of Pamela Cox’s Malory Tower books.
This shouldn’t put you off reading these stories however, they are certainly quite light and fluffy, good for lazy afternoon reading and probably better enjoyed if you have a child, niece, nephew, god son, god daughter, or grandchild you can read them to. They will probably help bring to life the characters on the page in a way I couldn’t achieve.
Anyway, I’m sorry for such a miserable review, once again, I’m sorry Sue. I shall try and read the other two books in the omnibus and review those at some point but in the mean time I would very much like to know if you’ve read these books, and what you thought about them!
Don’t be shy! I look forward to hearing other people’s experiences of the books!