Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The Famous Five: Five and a Half-Term Adventure

The Famous Five: Five and a Half-Term Adventure by Enid Blyton, illustrated by Jamie Littler (Hodder/Hachette)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN 9781444916256
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie
Several of Enid Blyton's ever-popular Famous Five stories have been re-vamped in a series of Colour Reads with up-to-date, zany illustrations while retaining the original texts. Five and a Half-Term Adventure heads the list of eight stories which, for the first time, appear in individual full colour volumes.
The four children, Julian, George, Dick and Anne plus Timmy the dog, are staying with Aunt Fanny at Kirrin Cottage for a short half-term holiday. It is glorious weather so they decide to take a picnic lunch and walk along the cliffs to a spot above the beach, hunting for berries and nuts on the way. Aunt Fanny warns them to take care of the time so they get back before dark.
The day unfolds slowly as the children and Timmy enjoy their outing, but eventually it is apparent that Julian's watch had slowly come to a stop and it is much later than they thought. There is a train station not far away so they decide to catch a train home and save time.
When they come into the town, Timmy suddenly runs into a hall which is holding a dog show. As it is for pedigree dogs only, Timmy is given short shrift and after George grabs him, they have to run for the train.
A couple in their carriage holding a baby wrapped in a very grubby shawl attracts Timmy's interest and he jumps up to sniff. The children find his behaviour odd as he never has shown much interest in babies before. At the next station the children take him into another carriage as the couple were not at all happy to have Timmy pawing at the shawl. The children suddenly notice the man and woman with the baby leaving the station.
Back at Kirren Cottage Aunt Fanny tells them a news snippet about a baby Pekingese being stolen from the dog show. The reason why Timmy was interested in the baby suddenly dawns on the Famous Five. But will the baby Pekingese be found?
This Colour Read is the perfect introduction to new readers of Enid Blyton's classic adventure tales. The text which sparkles with highlighted words to add further reading pleasure has been broken into short chapters and Jamie Littler's striking pictures are splashed on every spread. Altogether, these small novels are bound to attract new fans of the Famous Five.


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