I was intending to review one of my audio dramas this week but I wasn’t in a mood to listen to one last night. On the plus side I did actually find all my audio CDs while tidying up so I’m all set for another week!
I love Amelia Jane. Those short story books were amongst some of my first real books and I’ve read the tales of her bad behaviour again and again. So, naturally, when I saw the Amelia Jane Bumper Book on Amazon it went straight on my wish-list. I got it as a gift for Christmas and as yet haven’t looked inside.
I really don’t know what to expect. Details in the Amazon listing were sketchy at best and there was no internal preview. The cover doesn’t fill me with hope – it’s so very pink and modern. I’m hoping it’s more like the Famous Five annuals of late but we shall see!
Join Amelia Jane and the toys in this fantastic bumper book! This book includes stories, mazes, colouring pages, quizzes and more!
– Amazon listing
The first story in the book is Now Then, Amelia Jane. It turns out this will be the third copy I have of this story as I have More About Amelia Jane (Newnes 1954), and Happy Day Stories (Evans 1960).
I honestly can’t remember having read this one before (though this post proves that I have!). The illustrations are… well, modern to say the least. They are full of colour and movement but the toy soldier appears to be a plastic Action Man style doll and Amelia Jane is depicted with straight blonde hair. She also has magic hair that can go across her eye, and yet, you can still see her eye through it!
After the story are several pages of puzzles and colouring pages relating to it. First is three easy questions about what happened (I’m reminding myself this book is probably aimed at 5 year olds…) then a word search, match the names to the characters, a maze, missing puzzle pieces and fill in the words.
The puzzles do relate to the story, for example the maze is threads and you are to find Amelia Jane’s needle and thread.
The next story is Amelia Jane Has a Good Idea. This is also from More About Amelia Jane, but at least it’s only going to be the second copy I have. I’ve just checked the publishing details and it appears that all the stories included will come from that collection in fact.
The rest of the book takes the same pattern with a story then several related puzzles. There are only four stories included though, the final two being Amelia Jane Goes Up the Tree and Goodbye Amelia Jane.
I think young children will really like this book, and after all that’s who it’s aimed at. It’s full of bright, vibrant illustrations which I actually do like despite feeling they’re not right for Blyton. They’re the kind I would enjoy if they were in a modern children’s book. My only other gripe would be that they don’t always quite match the text. In Amelia Jane Goes Up the Tree for example, the story tells us that it is getting cold and dark while she is stuck in the tree. The accompanying illustration shows her climbing in the window in broad daylight.
The puzzles and colouring pages are a nice addition too, (I would prefer more stories and a few less personally, but it’s marketed as an activity book), and I’m sure children will enjoy doing them. I hope though, that it would encourage children to read the full books if they haven’t already done so as these are all in print from Egmont at the moment (with matching illustrations).
From what I can tell the text hasn’t been altered or updated much. Things like to-morrow have been modernised to tomorrow and the golliwog has been replaced with Tom the soldier doll, but I didn’t spot anything else, which is nice.
Thanks Fiona for reviewing something that I wouldn’t be likely to read myself – it is very useful for my Blyton education. Great pity that the illustrations are not up to the standard of the original. Enid was always so careful in picking her illustrators who did he proud as a result.