And now I have reached the last books to organise – the ones that came after the favourites and the middling ones but not as low as my absolute least favourites.
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!
Well, I dare to disagree, “Five have plenty of Fun” and “Five on a Secret Trail” are both very suspenseful volumes for me since 1965 plus “Plenty of Fun” contains Kirrin Island which is such a magical place.
“Secret Trail” happened to be the very first book about twins that I’ve read when I was 10 years old, so I had a hard time guessing that twins were involved and was as baffled as George and Anne about what was going on.
Even though “Secret Trail” is not a Kirrin Island sequel, I liked the idea of going away from it all until Timmy’s wound is healed and staying at this rather sinister and atmospheric common. I think the mood is quite similar compared to/with “Hike” (please forgive my bad English!).
I’ve read “Billycock Hill”, “Mystery Moor” (as a child I disliked Henrietta right from the start), “Camp”, “Finniston Farm” and “Caravan” as a child and didn’t like them at all. Those are the FF sequels that I only read 2 or 3 times in my life as I just don’t find them compelling (with vol. 21 included).
Re-reading them again as an adult didn’t change my mind about them a bit, so maybe it’s all about nostalgia and which volumes we’ve read at first when we were kids?
Same with “Go down to the Sea” and “Demon’s Rocks”. I’ve read them when I was 10 or 11, but for me they didn’t even come close to the Kirrin Island/Kirrin Common/Kirrin Farm sequels.
It would be a very dull world if we all agreed!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Fiona, you are right :).
BTW I love those adorable pics of Brodie on FB.
This is my personal order list of the FF:
1. Five on a Treasure Island
2. Five run away together
3. Five on Kirrin Island again
4. Five have plenty of Fun
5. Five go adventuring again
6. Five on a Secret Trail
7. Five go to Smuggler’s Top
8. FIve go on a Hike together
9. Five fall into Adventure
10. Five get into a Fix
These first ten books that I’ve listed are my favorites in that order.
11. Five get into Trouble
12. Five have a Mystery to solve
I never realized that there are actually 9 FF volumes that I don’t really care about:
13. Billycock Hill
14. Five have a wonderful time
15. Five go down to the Sea
16. Demon’s Rocks
17. Finniston Farm
20. Mystery Moor
21. Five are together again
I didn’t read “Hike” before I was an adult, so maybe that’s why it’s not as high on my list? On the other hand I didn’t read “Run away together” before I was in my early twenties either and it appealed more to me than “Hike”. Must be Kirrin Island versus Gloomy Pond (sorry, I’ve forgotten the name of that pond in “Hike” into which they are diving).
I know “Trouble” is most EB fan’s favorite and I enjoyed reading it, but I enjoy reading the Kirrin Island/Kirrin area sequels even more. Maybe some psychologist could explain why :)?
Now I would like to read Francis’ order.
I think we would all have a different sequence but ‘Together again’ is a clear non-favourite. Personally I really like ‘Billycock Hill’ for nostalgic reasons – it resonates a lot with my childhood.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Same with “Secret Trail”, Francis. It’s pure nostalgia. I think none of the FF aficionados likes it, however, it was my first EB book (translated into German).
Compared with Astrid Lindgren, Edith Unnerstad, Selma Lagerloef (sp?), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the many German children’s books authors that I’ve read before EB, it was very suspenseful :). And I was happy that it was part of a series and not just a stand-alone book.
I have never done a list, though I think I should. I do agree with Francis about Billycock Hill, (must admit I did like the runaway pigling) read it as a child and proper enjoyed it. Something stuck. When I reread it years later, I remembered it enough to go ‘oh yeah.’ I’m going to go through them all again in order soon, and get my thoughts down, for some, like Together Again are not fully registering, which surely means low down on my list if not bottom. Smugglers Top, Hike Together, Demons Rocks and Caravan are definitely up there.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It appears that I’m one of very few who happens to like Mystery Moor.
My two stand out favourites are Hike and Trouble. I think it’s because they are travelling a lot in these books and I always love the description of the scenery during the walks and bicycle rides.
Apart from this, there are scenes in other books which I love, like the start of Finniston, which show Blyton’s talent to give you the feel of a holiday.
I also find that my enjoyment of the books depends on how tired I am. When I feel really energetic, the books don’t do much for me, but when I’m tired, they are great.