So I am left with Five Go Off to Camp, Five Go to Mystery Moor, Five on a Secret Trail, Five Have Plenty of Fun and Five Go to Billycock Hill.
First up is Five Have Plenty of Fun. This is also rather low-ranked for a Kirrin adventure now I think about it. What brings it down for me is how silly the main idea is. Elbur visiting in the middle of the night; leaving his daughter with just a cook and some other children as protection. It’s downright daft – if necessary to create the opportunity for the adventure. For some reason the later part – the house where they eventually rescue George from – has never stuck very firmly in my mind. Perhaps it’s too short, or written rather vaguely? I don’t know.
Saying that it has its bright moments – like Uncle Quentin forgetting and calling Berta by the wrong name all the time.
After that is going to be Five Go Off to Camp. I like the spook train and tunnel exploration, and Anne’s volcano, and the end is fairly dramatic. There is just perhaps less through the rest of the book – a lot of camping and visiting the farm. Those parts are nice, and I don’t object to the Five doing every-day things but the balance here could be tipped more on the adventure side maybe.
Five Go to Mystery Moor is next. I think this also suffers from a long build up to a mystery – they spend a lot of time hanging around the stables with a lot of other people. George v. Henrietta helps keep that part moving, and I do love the spooky tale of the Bartles, but the kidnap/holding of the kids hasn’t stuck particularly well in my mind. Goodness knows why I once paid £14 for a copy (about three times as much as the others I was buying at the time) when it doesn’t rank as a favourite!
Five on a Secret Trail used to be higher on my list I think (or it would have been had I ever done one) but reading others’ criticisms of it has helped it slide way down. There is a lot of faffing at the start – the boys being absent doesn’t help either – so it’s a while before we get down to an adventure. The flashing lights and noises are a bit lame as far as scaring people away goes – but the man at the window was terrifying! Guy and Harry are either amusing or annoying depending on how you view them, I tend to come down slightly more on the annoying side.
And that leaves us with Five Go to Billycock Hill. I knew this would be near the bottom so I’m not surprised it came last out of this lot. I don’t really know why I rate this quite so lowly. I find the whole butterfly men/fake butterfly men thing all a bit strange I suppose and a lot of the book fails to stick with me. I’d struggle to lay out exactly what happens in any detail now I think about it. I’m not sure I can even come up with any top moments, but it doesn’t have anything that irritates me as much as the bottom two on my list do.
THE FINAL LIST
1. Five Go To Smuggler’s Top (4)
2. Five on a Hike Together (10)
3. Five on a Treasure Island (1)
4. Five Go Down to the Sea (12)
5. Five Go Off in a Caravan (5)
6. Five Go Demon’s Rocks (19)
7. Five Run Away Together (3)
8. Five Get Into a Fix (17)
9. Five Get Into Trouble (8)
10. Five on Finniston Farm (18)
11. Five Go Adventuring Again (2)
12. Five Fall Into Adventure (9)
13. Five Have a Wonderful Time (11)
14. Five on Kirrin Island Again (6)
15. Five Have Plenty of Fun (14)
16. Five Go Off to Camp (7)
17. Five Go to Mystery Moor (13)
18. Five on a Secret Trail (15)
19. Five Go to Billycock Hill (16)
20. Five Have a Mystery to Solve (20)
21. Five Are Together Again (21)
So,what do you think. did I get it entirely wrong? Let me know what your list would look like!