Monday #273

 

Five on a Treasure Island

and

Blyton’s Summer reads

The Mystery of the Missing Man is the thirteenth Five Find Outers mystery, and involves well, a missing man! The police are after him, and therefore so is Fatty and the other Find-Outers. This is complicated by the Trottevilles having guests: Eunice, who could literally give Fatty a run for his money, and her father who is a beetle-lover and in town for a beetle conference. Somehow all these elements collide and yet the mystery still gets solved.

 

Uncle Quentin is what you might call a stroppy scientist, if that was a common phrase. He’s not quite a mad scientist – he’s too serious and neatly turned out, and he doesn’t do wild experiments or anything. He does work very hard, though, and expect near silence and peace for his work. That’s a little hard to come by when you have four children and an excitable dog in the house, so he is prone to outbursts and door-slamming when he is interrupted. He isn’t all bad though, he is generous with what he has and only works so hard to provide for his family. If you can get past his hot temper, he is actually quite fair and reasonable most of the time.

 

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May Round Up

This is rather belated due to the laptop problems I had this month, but better late than never!


WHAT FIONA HAS READ

Not as good as last month, but not terrible!

  • The Magic Faraway Tree (reviewed here)
  • Mean Girls – Michael Ostow
  • Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) – audiobook by Charlaine Harris
  • Five On a Treasure Island which I will be reviewing soon

I’m still reading:

  • Prophecies (Lost Slayer #1) – Christopher Golden

WHAT FIONA HAS WATCHED

  • Finished Outlander series one
  • Gone back and rewatched some of Mythbusters
  • The new series of Taskmaster
  • And of course, Hollyoaks

WHAT FIONA HAS DONE

  • More geocaching (this would be quite Famous Five-y if we weren’t using a smartphone app!
  • Enjoyed lots of very sunny weather by going to the park and having picnics (but not appreciated the 24 degree night times so much!). Brodie has loved going on the baby swings and having his first play in a paddling pool.
  • Had plenty of lunches out, including for my sister’s birthday. Brodie was treated to a baby buffet that day and stuffed his face. He had just turned 9 months then, how is that possible?
  • Been to our small local wildlife park, and saw otters, bears, a lynx, wolves, meerkats, lemurs and more.
  • Blog wise I finally got around to updating the indexes at the top of the page to include all the book reviews, tv related posts, recipes and random stuff we have written in the past year!
  • Started a (slow) re-read of the Famous Five series so I can review each book. I can’t believe that hasn’t been done on the blog before!
  • Gone more eco-friendly and started using washable wipes for meal times and nappy changes.

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Philip Mannering’s animals – an essential A-Z guide

Philip has a magic way with animals and can tame just about anything to want to live in his pockets. He never keeps anything as banal as a cat or dog, but it would not be unusual to see a mouse run out his collar or a caterpillar from his sleeve.

Here’s a guide to the various animals he meets and pets he collects in the 8 books of the Adventure Series.


A

Alsatians – Philip befriends an entire pack of Alsatians – which they previously had thought were wolves – in The Mountain of Adventure. This is unfortunate for Meir and Erlick who are using the dogs to round up run away paratroopers, as instead of finding the children the dogs turn on their masters at Philip’s instruction.

Philip faces the friendlier-than-they-look Alsatians

B

Badgers – Philip and Jack go badger-watching in The Circus of Adventure and see a family with playful cubs.

Bat – before The Island of Adventure Philip has kept a pet bat, Dinah warns him not to bring another one home in her letter to him.

Bargua – the only made-up anima in the books, a bargua is an extremely dangerous snake. It is green with red and yellow spots, and has a deadly venomous bite. Philip is gifted the snake by Oola, whom he rescued from his violent snake-charming uncle. It’s not a recipe for danger though as this bargua (which he never gave a name which is unusual for a ‘main’ pet) has had its ducts cut. This makes it safe, though shortens it’s life too. Nobody would know it isn’t dangerous any more which is a key point when it bites Raya Uma, the bad guy of The River of Adventure.

Philip uses the deadly-looking Bargua to scare off Raya Uma

Bears – Philip certainly never tries to keep anything as large as bears in his pocket, but he does befriend three circus bears in The Circus of Adventure. Their owner and trainer Frank is ill, and the bears are restless and escape their cage. Philip is able to lure them back with some syrup and his special animal voice.

Philip calms down the bears with syrup

Beetles – Philip is said to have put black beetles in Dinah’s shoes at some point before The Castle of Adventure. Then during that book he has four beetles he is training to obey certain commands.

Buttons the fox cub – Philip doesn’t find Buttons himself, rather the fox is a gift from wild-girl Tassie, when the children are on holiday  in Scotland with Mrs Mannering. He takes an instant liking to Philip, though, and is happy to follow him like a dog. He is a playful (and smelly, according to Dinah) young cub who gets picked on by Kiki, because she  is jealous of the attention that the children give him. He comes in useful though, as he finds a secret way in and out of the castle.

C

Caterpillars –  Although Philip does collect a huge number of bugs throughout the books, one of the first one mentioned is a very large and peculiarly coloured caterpillar. It crawls out from his sleeve when he’s being tutored by Mr Roy at the start of The Island of Adventure.

Crabs – briefly in The Island of Adventure he manages to keep a couple of friendly crabs in his bathing suit – before he sits on one and gets nipped and decides they’re better off in the water.

D

Donkeys – a group of donkeys are the children’s ride up into the mountains in The Mountain of Adventure. Unfortunately not even Philip’s influence is able to keep all but one of the donkeys from bolting when David, their guide, hears the cries of a ‘wolf’ pack in the night.

Donkey ride

E

Eagles – Although Jack is the one to camp out trying to get a photograph, Philip is still very interested in the two eagles which have built a nest in an old Scottish castle in The Castle of Adventure.

Earwigs – in The Island of Adventure Dinah warns Philip that she will throw a chair at his head if he tries to train earwigs again. Later she reveals he put them under her pillow and they crawled out in the middle of the night so you can understand her threat!

H

Hedgehogs – at the start of The Island of Adventure Philip has a baby hedgehog in his pocket, one whose prickles have not yet hardened. He has another baby one – which he is adamant doesn’t have fleas – at the start of The Castle of Adventure and Dinah implies the first hedgehog did have fleas. Philip agrees that once the hedgehog grows a bit and he’s sat on him a few times he will probably let him go.

Huffin – one half of a pair of puffins called Huffin and Puffin, from The Sea of Adventure. They are quite useful as they present Philip with fish for breakfast and help hide him when the children and Bill hide amongst sea birds in the water.

One of the puffins perches on Philip’s head, giving him a wonderful disguise

K

Kiki –  although strictly not Philip’s pet, kind of belongs to all the children, even though she’s most definitely Jack’s. You cannot have an Adventure story without Kiki, she is a key character, even though she sometimes causes trouble instead of helping, but we wouldn’t be without this beautiful bird and her “God Save the Queen” squawks.

Philip is baffled by the strange voice in the tree before he discovers Kiki

L

Lizzie the lizard – Philip finds a little lizard that he thinks looks like a small dragon in Austria in The Valley of Adventure. Kiki quickly christens her Busy Dizzy Lizzie and tries to peck her whenever she can see the lump she makes under Philip’s clothes.

Lizzie the lizard

M

Mice – Philip has a lot of mice and small furry creatures running up and down his person at any one time. The one we meet first is a small creature in the The Island of Adventure, but as far as I can work out, it doesn’t have a name. At some point before The Castle of Adventure he has had one which he trained to eat crumbs from between his teeth.

Philip’s mouse sits on his ear as the rest of his body is underwater

Micky the monkey – Philip rescues Micky from being stoned by children in French Morocco in The Ship of Adventure. He comes aboard and lives on the ship with them – winding Kiki up beautifully and having quite a few fights with her.

Philip comforts Micky after he has had stones thrown at him

P

Puffin, other half of Huffin and Puffin from sea. Arrrr.

Fish for breakfast

R

Rats – Philip has one young rat which escaped his sleeve in poor Mr Roy’s classroom at the beginning of The Island of Adventure and goes off exploring, ending up Mr Roy’s trouser leg.

Then he had a brown rat during the summer term before The Castle of Adventure, but left it at school much to Dinah’s relief.

He also has three young white rats in the early chapters of The Sea of Adventure used which he uses to scare off a governess that they don’t like the look of. These three are called Squeaker, Woffles and Nosey.

S

Sally Slither – Sally is a slow-worm, and not a snake as Dinah believes. She consents to living in Philip’s pocket during Mountain of Adventure, coming out now and again to warm herself in the sun and eat flies.

Dinah thinks Sally is a snake and is afraid

Snail – a very large snail shares Philip’s pocket with the baby hedgehog in The Island of Adventure, and is careful to keep inside his shell.

Snoozy the dormouse – this mouse is picked up by Philip on the top of Sugar-Loaf hill and lives in his pocket for the rest of The Circus of Adventure. Snoozy running around Borken Castle tells Jack he is in the right place to find Philip, once he has followed them to Tauri-Hessia.

Snoozy shows Jack that he is in the right place to find Philip and the girls

Snowy the goat kid – Philip makes friends with a young goat, which then follows him around the rest of his holiday in The Mountain of Adventure. Snowy even sleeps on his bed like a dog! He comes in useful when they are trapped in the mountain as Snowy’s sure feet let him climb down the nearly sheer sides to take messages and food between Philip and the others.

Snowy takes a flying leap at Philip

Stag beetles – Dinah mentions a pair of stag beetles Philip has had in The Sea of Adventure.

Starfish – Philip mostly picks up the giant starfish in The Island of Adventure to frighten Dinah, and he puts it back quite quickly as it’s not really designed for life in a pocket.

Squirrel – a young grey squirrel is living in his pocket at the start of The Island of Adventure. He meets another, but doesn’t take it as a pet, in The Mountain of Adventure.

Philip’s pocket-squirrel

T

Terence the toad – Terence the toad apparently has beautiful eyes, but Dinah objects to him hopping about Spring Cottage in The Castle of Adventure.

Terrence the toad

 


 

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Monday #272

In case you were wondering if you had missed it, we skipped Monday #271. I didn’t have my laptop and wasn’t sure when I would get it back in order for me to write and publish anything (though I’d forgotten I had a father’s day post scheduled anyway). As it turns out I still don’t have my laptop back as it is unrepairable! I do however have a new one, and access to a computer at work now my maternity leave has ended. So we are back in business.

Philip Mannering’s animals

and

May round up

A real one this week – formerly known as Elfin Cottage, 83 Shortlands Road, Beckenham is up for sale. It was Enid Blyton who named it Elfin Cottage, back in 1926 when it was a new-build and in a more rural setting than it is now. It features a blue plaque with her name on it on the front and it could be yours for only a million pounds!

83 Shortlands Road, aka Elfin Cottage

“Next time you want to meddle in anything, Meddle, tell me before you start. It would save such a lot of trouble!”

Aunt Jemima has some sage advice for Mr Meddle, but unfortunately he never follows it!

 

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Blyton’s Fathers

A while back I wrote a post about Blyton’s mothers and then I had a sudden thought – what about Blyton’s fathers? Given that it’s Father’s Day this Sunday, it seemed like a good time to write about them.

Her own father – Thomas Blyton – was an important figure in Blyton’s early life. He fostered her love of nature and gardening as well as music and literature, and she was devastated when he left her mother and therefore the family when she was 12.

Divorce and fathers leaving is not a topic featured in her books but there are plenty of fathers of different kinds to discuss. They take on very different roles to the mothers, though. While the mothers are generally at home providing the meals, the fathers are out at work and only home evenings and weekends.


THE TYPICALLY CROSS AND CROCHETY

Quentin Kirrin aka Uncle Quentin (The Famous Five)

Father to George and uncle to Julian, Dick and Anne, has one of the worst tempers amongst Blyton’s fathers. He works from home as a scientist and during school holidays is often found stomping, roaring and slamming doors as the slightest sound sets him off. He’s also very absent-minded and often fails to see what’s right in front of him.

He’s not all bad, though, he genuinely cares for his wife and daughter and can be very kind too.

Above L-R
Quentin gets angry at a table being overturned with a crash (Five on a Treasure Island)
and again at a box being thrown from a window (also Five on a Treasure Island)
almost falling over Timmy (Five Get Into Trouble)
and falling over the children (Five Go to Billycock Hill)

Richard Lynton (The Barney Mysteries)

While Quentin’s temper is short and sharp, Mr Lynton (father of Dinah and Roger, and uncle to Snubby) seems to have a constant simmering rage going. The children are only home for school holidays, and yet he is heard asking how long do these holidays last? By the second day of the holidays in the Rilloby Fair Mystery he has been impatient, irritable, snappy and has stormed out of the room by breakfast time.

He has no patience for children’s noise and games, even though he must be out at work a lot of the time. Dinah calls him mouldy on at least one occasion, and while Snubby is terribly annoying, Mr Lynton’s grumpy, moaning face is probably worse as he is a grown-up and should cope better. He does redeem himself slightly when he warmly welcomes Barney into his house.


THE BOLD ADVENTURERS

Bill Cunningham aka Bill Smugs (The Adventure Series)

When we first meet Bill, he’s not actually a father. He’s a secret agent who befriends the Mannering and Trent children as part of his cover. He becomes an honorary father-figure to them, Philip and Dinah having lost their father and Jack and Lucy-Ann having lost both parents. He drops by to visit them when they are on holiday, he takes them off on holidays (which turn into adventures) too. He is interested in their interests and well-being and handles their squabbles easily. By the end of the series he becomes their father for real, when he marries Mrs Mannering/Aunt Allie.

bill in castle of adventure

Captain Arnold (The Secret Series)

Captain Arnold is an odd one. On the surface he seems like a good type of father to have. He’s clever, kind and sensible about raising children who stand on their own two feet. He and his wife take in Jack, who has no family of his own, after he helps the Arnold children, Nora, Mike and Peggy, escape from their abusive aunt and uncle. Unfortunately though being a pioneering aviator he’s rather too likely to disappear in a place crash, in fact it happens twice within a five book series. Having entirely misjudged the children’s guardians in the first book it turned into a double horrendous situation for his children. At least he left them with a decent adult the second time, but it seems foolish to abandon your children twice! The children end up going to rescue him the second time, and it’s his smarts that helps them all escape, but it was his bravado and foolishness that got them into that situation.


THE WORK DRIVEN

Mr Longfield and Mr Longfield (The Six Cousins)

Peter Longfield is a farmer with three children, Jack, Jane and Susan. David, his brother, also has three children, Cyril, Melisande and Roderick, but he works in the city. Peter has raised adventurous out-doorsy children who are mostly likeable, though they can been untidy, impetuous and taciturn. David, not helped by his weak and over-dramatic wife has raised somewhat spoiled, vain children. David’s neat city life is ruined when his uninsured house burns down, and needing to support his family he buys a farm near his brother’s. He works very hard (as does Peter), and recognises that his children have improved from their time at their uncle’s farm, becoming more down-to-earth and sensible.

Mr Rivers (Malory Towers)

Mr Rivers has two daughters, Darrell and Felicity. While he can be exasperated by waiting in the car for them (and his wife) to finally be ready to leave, he is far more genial and good-tempered than, say, Mr Lynton. He works very hard as he is a surgeon, and probably isn’t home an awful lot but he seems to have a very good relationship with his daughters. He strikes me as a firm, sensible father, but also one who values his family and enjoys spending time with them.

Mr Brown (Mr Galliano’s Circus)

Mr Brown has an unusual job – he is a handyman for a circus. Known as Brownie to the circus folk he runs around fixing benches, building cages and whatever else needs done. He has lost his more regular job at the start of the first book so when the circus job comes up he and his family give up their plain little house and move into a caravan to travel with the circus. Although being the ‘man of the house’ and the breadwinner, and a 1950s man to boot, he consults with his wife and their son Jimmy, and they are happy to go with him.

 

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Monday #270

My laptop is in being repaired at the moment so this week’s posts are reliant on me getting it back in time to write something! Fingers crossed.

Philip Mannering’s animals

and

May roundup

I remember a little boy called Dick who put aside two golliwogs, one teddy bear, three toy dogs, two toy cats and his old monkey to take down to Polseath one year.

Mrs Kirrin reminds Dick that Anne is not the only silly one when it comes to holiday packing, at the start of Five On a Treasure Island.

Five on a treasure island

Susie is a girl I think we are supposed to love to hate. I know some people feel sorry for her as her older brother Peter excludes her from the his club, the Secret Seven. But I can see why! He wants a group of his friend who are all the same age, and doesn’t want his annoying little sister tagging along. Susie takes this very personally and constantly pops up to annoy the Seven, and interferes with their plans. The unfortunate thing is she’s actually pretty smart and she would actually be a credit to the Secret Seven (if a very irritating one). Her own group, the Famous Five (below) don’t achieve as much as the Secret Seven or the real Five.

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Even more search terms

This really is the blog idea that just keeps on giving. Every so often I browse the search terms that have led people to our blog and there’s always something interesting or amusing to see.

Here’s the best of the latest ones!


MIXED-UP TITLES

Book review on the Sixty Form at St Clare’s by Enid Blyton. That famous book when Pat and Isabel are in their senior years, and by that I mean they are in their sixties. Or maybe the sixtieth form – either way they’re probably grey haired and a bit harder of hearing by now. But still at St Clare’s!

Enid Blyton karavan family book online read. This one’s perhaps about the Karavan family, Klare, Kelsea, Kraig and Konnor who go exploring kaves, kastles and korner shops. In a similar vein someone (perhaps the same someone?) wanted to know where is Karin Cottage from the Famous Five. That would be Karin Cottage in Karin Bay. Owned by Fanny and Quentin Karin. Naturally.

Sinipsis about Secret of the Moon Castle. ‘Sinipsis’ aside, this one’s pretty close!

Main characters of the book Mystery of a Missing Necklace.

The Twins at St Claires review. St Clare’s is often misspelt. But not as often as Malory Towers is!

Mallery Towers audio book cast and Mallory Towers illustrated being just two of the ones I’ve seen recently.


YOU JUST MASHED THE KEYBOARD, DIDN’T YOU?

These ones are just completely baffling. Three strings of letters and numbers. Which definitely have never featured on our blog. If you Google them, google tells you that there are no matches. And yet someone googled these and landed on our blog… so in an attempt to lure these unsuspecting keyboard mashers to our blog they are now online, and so if they search again for them, they’ll definitely come here!

  • lj5uouymnkzyzwoimvhlzuebmfhlztmcqzhyzwoaolhlzt9hwgvjlfhlzt15p3eypaxyzwogo29l
  • gz9xmuxyzwoao2imwgvjqt8yzwoml2uio2jyzwomqt9lrd
  • ht9yokzyzwoulz91qphlztmcpzi3o3wepj

JUST PLAIN FUNNY

The Magic Faraway Tree review in about 200 words. Poor misguided Google thinking could review a book in about 200 words. My review of The Magic Faraway Tree comes in four parts. Each part is rather longer than 50 words. In fact the shortest part is nearly 800 words and there are 3,713 words in total…


GOOD QUESTIONS

I like to see good, honest, sensible questions sometimes. Like –

Rockingdown Mystery did Mr King have a beard? – the answer being, most likely, no. He is described as having a firm mouth in the text, and the illustrations show a clean-shaven man.

Mr King, no beard.

Updated Secret Seven any good? – I don’t actually know, but I suspect not. The Secret Seven are one of the few main series I haven’t examined in regards to updates.

What happened to Fatty from Five Find Outers? Good question. Did he become a police detective? Did he start a red-headed boys disguise agency? I don’t suppose we will ever know!

i m a well known enid blyton’s character .i m made of wood who i am ?? answer. This maybe isn’t a great question, grammar aside, but I would guess it’s Noddy.

What kind of dog was Timmy in the Famous Five? Well, in the text he’s described as a mongrel, and that it would be quite impossible to say what kind of dog he was supposed to be. I’ve seen a suggestion that he could be at least part Podengo Grande.


NODDY ALWAYS THROWS UP SOMETHING OF INTEREST

  • the moral of the Noddy series novel
  • Noddy book where his head grows
  • Noddy angry

I suppose the moral of the Noddy series (not sure I’d call them novels) is to be good and honest, otherwise you’ll get your comeuppance. I’m not sure I have read any book where Noddy’s head grows, but there are a lot more books about him than the 15 original ones. And Noddy gets quite cross a few times in those, so I’d need more to go on there!


 GNID BYLTON? GUIDE BLOTTON? GOSH, WHAT IS HER NAME AGAIN?

Someone always gets her name wrong!

Five Go Parenting Enid Bkytin. That’s not her name, and funnily she didn’t write that 60-something years after her death!

Above: How the book looks, how that person thinks it looks and how it should really look.


THE CHEATERS?

The Famous Five sparknotes – Sparknotes seem to be something life CliffsNotes – short summary guides to books, designed to help someone understand a book. I think they’re mostly used by students who didn’t read/finish an assigned book for school!

And of course there are a whole host of search terms containing the phrase read free online, pdf, synopsis, summary and guide. 


HOW I WISH!

I think need to stop putting ‘TV’ and ‘movie’ in sentences with Blyton books, I fear I am misleading many people, as we had a few searches for things that unfortunately don’t exist.

  • Malory Towers tv show
  • Five Find-Outers movie
  • Secret Spiggy Holes tv series

Yes I know there was an episode of the Secret Series in the 90s based on Spiggy Holes but frankly it was rubbish and I’ve managed to mostly scrub it from my memory.


I just want to add that I’m not intending to seem malicious in poking fun at these search terms or the people that used them. I’m aware that many may not have English as their first language, or they may be very young given Blyton’s target audience. I fall into neither of those categories and I’m forever using the Google feature “did you mean…?” when I search, mostly due to fat, clumsy typing fingers. I always click the correct version when Google offers it too… especially now I know that somewhere someone can see what I entered!

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Monday #269

More Blyton Search Terms

and

A-Z of Philip Mannering’s Pets

Location of the week is the Five-Find Outers’ local macaroon shop. Not only is it part of the hub of operations in Peterswood, it also serves the nicest macaroons, lemonade and other goodies, like ices. The lady always lets Buster in, and seems to like the children and share their dislike of Mr Goon. I don’t know about you but I’d really like to visit this macaroon shop!

Five on a Treasure Island is the first Famous Five book, and it happens to be the one I am reading right now. It is the one to introduce us to the Five and the wonderful world of Kirrin. It has a private island, a ruined castle, an old shipwreck, dungeons and a treasure hunt. What more could you ask for in a book?

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Blyton’s Funniest Animals

Now we all know that Enid Blyton wrote about a lot of animals, in fact almost every story she wrote had an animal of some kind in it. The great thing about her books is that she made every kind of animal accessible for children. Most of the pets I’ll be talking about in this post are unusual pets. Let’s delve right in.

Kiki the Parrot – The Adventure Series

How could lovable, “God save the Queen”, “blow your feet”, train whistle Kiki the Parrot, owned by Jack Trent not be at the top of our list? Kiki is one of those animals you want to own, she says all sorts of random things, makes the children laugh, saves them from the bad guys by flying at them or saying random things to startle them. Kiki is also very funny.

She’s extremely jealous when Jack pays attention to Philip’s new pets, and she doesn’t always like or tolerate the new animals. She doesn’t take kindly to the monkey Mickey in The Ship of Adventure who is quite happy to play tricks on her, and she doesn’t like Buttons, the fox, in The Castle of Adventure and is quite happy to be horrible to him. Kiki mimics the puffins, Huffin and Puffin in The Sea of Adventure, who also think of her as a sort of strange puffin. Kiki is certainly one of Blyton’s funniest animals because I don’t think I’ve laughed quite so much at fictional animal in my life. She really is a diamond character, perfect comic and strategic timing in places, but sometimes she can be the cause of the trouble. Nevertheless she deserves a spot on Blyton’s funniest animals without a doubt.

Image result for adventure illustration picture series

Pongo the Chimpanzee – Five Go Off in a Caravan

Pongo isn’t an animal I would expect a lot of you to remember but because Five Go Off in a Caravan is one of my favourite books, Pongo has always been a funny and loved character to me. He does all sorts of funny things like shaking hands with Timmy’s tail and taking tea with the Famous Five and Nobby, as well as copying the things the Five do and following Anne around because she gives him food. He’s a very loyal animal, doing his best to stand up to Lou and Tiger Dan for Nobby and Julian, but he also has his funny moments where you can just imagine him taking tea with the Five and sipping tea out of a little cup. He doesn’t have the longest entry in the world, but I do believe he’s a really funny character.

Loony the Spaniel – The Barney Mysteries

Loony, the black spaniel, lives quite rightly up to his name – he is utterly bonkers. In the Barney Mysteries he gets himself into so much trouble and high jinx. He is what I would think of as a typical dog, fetching everything and putting it somewhere inconvenient.  He loves stealing rugs, bathmats, towels, and any sort of brush and making a huge pile on the floor somewhere for ‘his humans’ to fall over. I would say in my limited experience that is typical dog behaviour. He also tears off at top speed all over the place and tries to trip people up.  He especially gets himself into trouble when he and Miranda the Monkey get together. They encourage each other and Loony gets ridden like a horse and tears around like no ones business until the daft dog remembers he can roll over onto his back and knock Miranda off.  If this doesn’t make Loony one of Blyton’s funniest animals, I don’t know what does!

Who do you think are Enid Blyton’s funniest animals? Tell me in the comments below.

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A completely un-confusing guide to names in Blyton’s books part 2

Last time we clarified which Jack, or indeed Jock, was which, we covered the difference between Morgan, Dai and Llewellyn and Morgan, Dai and Llewellyn, and we made sure we knew our great-grandad from our old grandads.

Now for some Toms, Dicks and Harries, many Peter-and-Susans and lots more.


HENRYS AND HARRIES

This lot are really confusing. Harry can be ‘short’ for Henry, but also for Harriet, while Henry can be a nickname for Henrietta too.

So there’s Henrietta, also known as Henry – because she wants to be a boy – in Five Go to Mystery Moor, then there’s Henry Philpot who’s known as Harry, and his twin sister Harriet who’s also known as Harry in Five on Finniston Farm. None of those should be confused with Harry Lawdler, always known as Harry unless he’s masquerading as his twin Guy, from Five on a Secret Trail, or Harry Dunn from The Naughtiest Girl. There are even an adult pairing of Harriet and Henry (though they are not known as Harries) – the evil aunt and uncle from The Secret Island.


WHEN THE FAMOUS FIVE ARE NOT THE FAMOUS FIVE

The Famous Five have to be amongst Blyton’s most famous characters, nearly everyone knows of Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the dog. And quite a lot of people will have heard of Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin. All of them have counterparts in other titles.

Julian Kirrin has a counterpart in The Naughtiest Girl books, Julian Holland.

Dick Kirrin gets confused with Dirty Dick in Five On a Hike Together, but there’s also Cousin Dick in The Magic Faraway Tree (both have huge appetites too), and Dick in Three Boys and a Circus. Also in The Magic Faraway Tree, and other books in the series is Fanny, a young girl not to be confused with grown-up Aunt Fanny.

George Kirrin‘s name is short for Georgina, and there’s a Georgina Thomas at Malory Towers, though I don’t know that she ever shortens her name. Then there’s a boy George (no, not the singer) in the Secret Seven, and a George as a supporting character in The Secret of Spiggy Holes.

Anne Kirrin is the youngest of the group, and Ann is also the youngest in The Caravan Family.

Timmy, a quite unique dog you would think, also appears in The Naughtiest Girl. He only gets a brief mention but he belongs to Elizabeth Allen.

And lastly Uncle Quentin could potentially be confused with Mr Quentin from Good Work Secret Seven.


SCHOOL GIRLS

Blyton wrote about a lot of school girls, so it’s perhaps not surprising there are names that crop up at more than one school (and even more names that appear at school and also elsewhere).

Belinda crops up four times, Belinda Towers attends St Clare’s, Belinda Morris goes to Malory Towers, Belinda Green is a pupil at Whyteleaf and Belinda is also one of the Caravan Family.

Whyteleaf has a Kathleen Peters while St Clare’s has a Kathleen Gregory.

There are even two Joans mentioned at Whyteleaf, Joan Lesley and Joan Townsend, but neither should be confused with Joan (also known as Joanna), the cook at Kirrin Cottage.


AND (SOME OF) THE REST

As mentioned above, George of the Secret Seven shares his name. Two other members do too. Peter is the leader, and there’s a Peter in The Adventures of the Wishing Chair, Peter Longfield The Six Cousins, Peter Jackson in The Family at Red-RoofsPeter Frost in Hollow Tree House, and another Peter in The Very Big Secret. Peter-of-the-Secret-Seven‘s sister is called Janet, and there’s also a Janet at Malory Towers and a Janet Robins at St Clare’s.

There’s also a Peter who’s almost never referred to as Peter – Snubby from the Barney Mysteries. At least as Snubby you’re not likely to mix him up with anyone else.

Just as common as Peter is Susan. Peter in Hollow Tree House has a sister called Susan. Felicity’s best friend at Malory Towers is a Susan (possibly Susan Blake, but that comes from the continuation books as far as I know and isn’t canon in my opinion!), there’s Susan Longfield from The Six Cousins, a Susan in The Treasure Hunters, a Susan in The Four Cousins and of course the infuriating Susie from The Secret Seven books.

Also going along with Peter is Mollie from The Adventures of the Wishing Chair, and there’s another Molly (and Peter) in The Family at Red-Roofs.

There are some Whyteleafe pupils named above too, but others have their names elsewhere. Elizabeth Allen is the titular character of The Naughtiest Girl books, and Elizabeth, also known as Lizzie, Farrell is a main character of House-at-the-CornerNora O’Sullivan is Elizabeth Allen’s monitor, and there is a Nora Arnold in the Secret Series. There’s also Martin Follet, the kind but deceptive boy, and Martin possibly Curton from Five On Kirrin Island Again. 

There are two Sids in the Famous Five, one a paper-boy who is partial to chocolate mould and appears in Five Fall Into Adventure, while the other Sid is part of a double act who perform as Clopper the horse in Five Go Down to the Sea.

Spelt differently, but arguably the same name, are Louis and Lewis. Lou, short for Lewis, Ahlberg is a sullen cat burglar/jewel thief who specialises in tight-rope walking in Five Go Off in a Caravan, while Louis-no-last-name is a sullen stilt-walker who specialises in the theft of jewellery in Secret Seven Adventure.

And lastly there is Philip Hilton, better known as Pip, from The Five Find-Outers, and Philip Mannering of the Adventure Series.

That is, though, not to mention various minor characters such as the Jeffs, Jims, Toms, Pauls, Larrys, Wills, Pamelas, Ritas, and Eileens of Blyton’s books. It also doesn’t touch on the fact there are probably lots more Jacks, Peter and Susans etc in the hundreds of short stories!

Can you think of any more shared names?

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Monday #268

 

A completely un-confusing guide to names in Blyton’s books – Part Two

And

Blyton’s Funniest Animals

“I do love the beginning of the summer hols,’ said Julian. They always seem to stretch out ahead for ages and ages.’
‘They go so nice and slowly at first,’ said Anne, his little sister. ‘Then they start to gallop.”
― Five Go Off in a Caravan

I very strongly identify with this sentiment, even now as an adult the holidays I do have go far too quickly.

 

My character of the week is Bill aka Wilhelmina Robinson from Malory Towers I really admire her for not completely conforming with the ‘girlie’ ideaology that the other girls in her form have – all the needle work, dainty things she really destests. She even decides to carry on with woodwork instead of sewing or crafts when she gets to decide what she wants to do with her schooling. Shes a wonderful horsewoman and really feels like a very solid character to me.

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April Round Up


WHAT FIONA HAS READ

I had a good month, reading wise. I managed to read 6, I am on 21 in total and that’s 4 ahead.

    • The Something Girl (Frogmorton Farm #2) – Jodi Taylor
    • Piano Lessons Can Be Murder (Goosebumps # 13) – R.L. Stine
    • Ripping Things to Do – Jane Brocket (reviewed here [link]
    • Surprise Me – Sophie Kinsella
    • Mr Lemoncello’s Library Olympics (Mr Lemoncello’s Library #2) Chris Grabenstein
    • The Secret of Cliff Castle (reviewed here)

I’m still reading:

  • Dubious Definitions: A Dictionary of Misinterpretation – Brian Allen
  • Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) – audiobook by Charlaine Harris
  • The Magic Faraway Tree (reviewed here)

WHAT FIONA HAS WATCHED

  • A new (to me) show, Outlander. I now want to read the books as well.
  • My usuals like One Born Every Minute and Hollyoaks.
  • Saw Avengers: Infinity War at the cinema

WHAT FIONA HAS DONE

  • Took Brodie on his first holiday, up to Inverness. We rolled our easter eggs and gave him a taste, went to The Highland Folk Museum, The Highland Wildlife Park to see the new polar bear cub, Landmark and Brodie Castle. I also managed to browse Leakey’s book shop, but didn’t buy anything sadly.
  • Went geocaching and had a decent success rate.
  • Took Brodie on his first picnic and let him taste an ice lolly and an ice cream.

WHAT STEF HAS READ

I am currently reading Katie Fforde’s new book “A Country Escape”.


WHAT STEF HAS WATCHED

Watched a fair bit recently:

  • The New Taskmaster series
  • Young Sheldon
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Marvel’s Black Panther

WHAT STEF HAS DONE

I feel like I have done a lot, when in reality I probably haven’t. Mostly I have been trying to work on my fitness, doing some running, as well as sorting out my library for when it closes at the end of June.

My other half and I have been on a few days out, we have been to Blenhiem Palace, where Winston Churchill was born which was really interesting, Marlow – near where the Five Find Outers were based (unfortunately not for Macaroons) and some lovely walks. May seems to have been a bit busier so far, but I’ll tell you about that next month!

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A completely un-confusing guide to names in Blyton’s books

Enid Blyton must have come up with thousands of characters in her years of writing. Some of them are instantly memorable from their name alone.

Zerelda? That can only be Zerelda Brass, the American girl from Third Year at Malory Towers. 

Melisande? Clearly that’s Melisande Longfield from the Six Cousins books.

Anne? Well, I’m probably talking about Anne Kirrin, though there might well be one or two extremely minor characters also with the common name of Anne.

But what if I said Sally?

You might think  that’s obvious, Sally Hope from Malory Towers. But equally I might be talking about Sally Wilson, leader of the Put-Em-Rights. Or I may even have meant Sally the Poodle, who belongs to Berta Wright from Five Have Plenty of Fun.

So to curtail any confusion, here is a list of anyone you might get muddled over.


JACKS, JOS, JAKES AND MORE

Jack has to the the most common name in Enid Blyton’s books – for major characters anyway.

Jack is a main character in three major series no less.

There is red-haired and freckled Jack Trent in the Adventure Series, Jack-no-surname who is a member of the Secret Seven, who is not to be confused with Jack-previously-no-surname but now Jack Arnold from the Secret Series. Jack Longfield is also a main character in the Six Cousins books, and there’s a Jack in the Happy House Children series. And while we are being catagorically un-confused, we’ve also got a Scottish Jack, Jock Robbins who appears in Five Go Off to Camp.

After the Jacks, we have the Jakes. Jakes are not main characters, but they are all villains. There is Jake-with-the-eyepatch from The Island of Adventure who is entirely different from Jake-the-Gypsy from Five Fall Into Adventure, and neither have anything to do with another Jake from the Famous Five, Jake-the-main-villain from Five on Treasure Island.

Also appearing with the Jake-the-gypsy is one of our Jos. This one is Ragamuffin Jo, presumably short for Josephine but also known as Jo the Gypsy girl. We also have Josephine ‘Jo’ Jones, a first-former from Malory Towers, not to be confused with a boy called Jo who is in the Faraway Tree Series. Neither should you confuse any of those Jos with Jo-Jo, the servant and criminal from The Island of Adventure.


THE WELSH

Blyton wrote quite a few Welsh characters into her books, but she used the same names quite a few times for them!

There’s another ragamuffin in the aptly named Ragmuffin Mystery, the last book of the Barney Mysteries. This time the ragamuffin’s name is Dai, which also happens to be the name of a dog in Five Get into a Fix.

Two other names are also repeated between those two titles, Morgan, Jones and Llewellyn. Five Get Into a Fix features Morgan Jones, the owner of Dai (the dog), and there’s Morgan the Cripple, uncle of Dai (the boy) in The Ragamuffin Mystery. Then there’s Llewellyn Jones also from The Ragamuffin Mystery and Llewellyn Thomas in Five Get Into a Fix.

Just in case that wasn’t clear, there’s a chart below.

And of course we’ve already had Jo Jones (not Welsh) above, and there’s also another Thomas family in Five Go to Billycock Hill.


GRANDADS

All purveyors of historical stories there are three grandads you might muddle up. Yan’s Old Grandad is a shepherd in Five Go Down to the Sea, and shouldn’t be confused with Hugh Dourley, also known as Old Grandad, from The Ring O Bell’s Mystery. Also old but called Great-Grandad, the eldest member of the Philpot family appears in Five on Finniston Farm.


Next time: I clear up confusion around Harrys, Henrys, people who sound like they are in the Famous Five but are not and more.

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Monday #267

 

Favourite Blyton pets

and

Names in Blyton’s books

and

April round up

The baby slept soundly. “Will it want a bottle at ten o’clock?” whispered Peter. “And one early in the morning? Most babies do.”

They fell asleep. The baby slept all through the night until nearly six o’clock.

That’s not from some wild fantasy book, rather it’s from The Very Big Secret. The children find a real baby – one young enough to fit into a doll’s pram, bed and clothes, and it behaves impeccably for them. As a new parent I find it all hilarious.

The illustration does sum up the early weeks for me, though! Sleeping on the sofa in the night was a bit of a routine.

The Circus of Adventure  is my favourite Adventure Series book. The children minus Jack are kidnapped and taken to the wonderfully made-up Tauri Hessia, along with Gus, the extravagant and unintentionally amusing prince of the country. Jack (and Kiki) manage to follow them and must infiltrate themselves into a local circus in order to get close to where the others are being held.

The best bit has to be Philip dealing with the escaped bears!

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My Blyton best short stories

If you go onto the Enid Blyton Society’s Cave of Books, you’ll be able to find out about all of Enid Blyton’s books, her series, short stories and novels and novelettes: they have worked tirelessly to gather all the information they possibly could for the website for the world to find out about Enid Blyton’s work. There are possibly 1001 short stories according to their extensive research. Out of the ones I’ve read, I’m going to share with you the two which ones I really liked the most.

The Caravan Family Series

I fell in love with this little series. They were short enough little stories with sweet kids who were learning about their world and different situations. I found that I could actually enjoy these which I wasn’t expecting as I am well above the age range for the target audience, but they were engaging stories and the children learnt some good solid lessons. I can’t wait to be able to read these to Fiona’s little boy Brodie, when he’s a bit older. I thoroughly recommend reading these books, though maybe you should read them in order instead of how I did, all over the place.

thecaravanfamily

Enid Blyton’s Christmas Stories

This is a collection of short Christmas stories bound together in a slightly longer short story about Susan, Benny, Anne and Peter who are asking their parents about Christmas traditions and there are lots of little stories interspersed so that the lessons and stories for Christmas can be told. Although they are simple stories, Blyton covers Norse myths as well as Christian traditions which is nice, a good change because of the monopoly of Christian stories at Christmas. I think apart from the stories being quite simple, they are very good and clear for the age range.

Blyton's Christmas Stories CD

So there we are, two of my favourite sets of short stories that Enid Blyton wrote. Do you have any favourites you think I would like to read? Let me know in the comments!

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The Magic Faraway Tree part 4

Last time we ended on a minor cliff-hanger. The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe had stopped living in her shoe and had taken up residence in Moon-Face’s home instead. Obviously that just wouldn’t do so we can now find out how they get rid of her.


THE LAND OF THE OLD WOMAN

The Old Woman’s land is a strange one. It’s always quite hard to imagine ‘lands’ atop the tree. They are floating places, perhaps akin to the visions of the Flat Earth Society. This one is only as big as a garden and has a wall so the children don’t fall off.

With the Old Woman gone her children are running amok, deliberately doing as many bad things as they can. They seem rather awful but as the are regularly whipped and sent to bed without any bread (as the nursery rhyme goes) they probably don’t have a happy home life! It’s hardly surprising they are acting out when their mother-figure just abandons them because she’s fed up.

Dick tricks her into going back up by telling her the children are going to ruin her good clothes, and she is in such a rage she chases everyone, including our regular characters into the shoe. While Dick is being whipped (which much surely be scolded in new editions) the others escape, and Dick manages to follow just in time.


THE LAND OF MAGIC MEDICINES

The children’s mother is ill now, the doctor is stumped, and the children are worried. Dame Washalot takes in the washing Mother is paid to do for others. At first this seems like a true kindness, but it turns out that Dame Washalot loves doing washing so much that she will wash clean things, or even the Faraway Tree’s leaves if she runs out of dirty washing. I bet most women at the time the book was written would have loved for Dame Washalot to take their washing in!

Anyway, with amazing timing, the Land of Magic Medicines comes to the tree. Fanny stays home to look after their mother but the others go to seek a cure.

Unusually the hole in the clouds leads straight into a factory which is staffed by goblins and pixies and gnomes. The medicines they are making don’t just cure common ailments but also shortness and sadness in the eyes.

There are pills from the shadow of a mountain, the height of a tree and the crash of a thunderstorm amongst other things, used to make short people tall. Dick stupidly takes three of them and shoots up as tall as the roof. Trying to fix this, a pixie gives him go-away pills, but it’s far too many and he shrinks so small he can’t be seen.

Meanwhile the silly old Saucepan Man turns into Pinocchio by drinking a nose growing potion, thinking it is a rose growing potion. He is fixed with a disappearing medicine while Dick is restored by a growing bath but ends up with pink clothes (which are never mentioned when he gets home).

Before any more disasters occur they collect a general, all-purpose get-well medicine which leads to a miraculous recovery for their mother.


MR WHATZISNAME, MISSING FOLK AND BAD TEMPERS

Mr whatzisname turns up at the children’s house to say that Moon-Face, Silky and the Saucepan Man have disappeared. The Land of Tempers (sometimes referred to as the Land of Bad Tempers) is at the top of the tree but surely they wouldn’t have visited that?

In a repeat of previous tales Silky and Moon-Face’s houses have been stolen, this time by bad-tempered people.

Dame Washalot and Lady Yell-Around have a set to like Julian and Mr Stick, after Lady Yell-Around is drenched in Dame Washalot’s water once too often.

Lady Yell-Around and Mr Stamp-A-Lot both claim that Silky and Moon-Face willingly gave up their homes as they wanted to live in the Land of Tempers but that doesn’t ring true at all. Blyton comes up with a devious set of rules for this land, and a puzzle. If you visit the Land of Tempers and lose your temper there (which is very likely due to all the bad-tempered people there) then you have to stay. This makes it a) very dangerous for the children to go hunting for their friends and b) creates a mystery of how Lady Y.A. and Mr S.A.L  escaped.

They take the risk of going up and spend a while forcing smiles on their faces (you can just imagine the awful grimace-smiles they must have) as they are snapped at, pushed and raged at by the folk of the land. The only person who isn’t awful to them is the grand head-man of the land. Fanny is smart enough to ask where Mr S.A.L and Lady Y.A. are instead of Moon-Face and Silky. This reveals that they have snuck off, and should not have. Then they are told that Moon-Face and Silky cannot be in the land as they have not lost their tempers and asked to take a house (slightly contradicting the earlier notion that you’re stuck there as soon as you lose your temper).

Back in the tree the Angry Pixie is pondering over a load of banging coming from inside the tree. It’s Silky and Moon-Face and they’re trapped in the blocked-up Slippery-Slip. The stuff is magically stuck there so a group of woodpeckers has to be inveigled to bore a hole for them to escape. With that achieved they are all able to gloat (nicely of course) as Mr S.A.L. and Lady Y.A. are dragged back into their own land by the head-man.


THE LAST LAND

Of course we have to end on a happier note, and so the final land of the book is the Land of Presents.

Dick soon finds out that it isn’t a land of presents for yourself. You can only take presents for others. This leads to the usual fun as the Saucepan Man mishears what people would like and fetches a clock and a lion instead of a frock and an iron. Everyone gets some lovely things in the end, though, and the story is over for the moment.


The best, most imaginative parts are the medicines and their ingredients in the Land of Magic Medicines and the trip to the Land of Tempers.

While those are inventive there are some ideas we have seen before such as houses being stolen and the Slippery-Slip being used as a trap.

Dick being greedy and/or foolish and the Saucepan Man’s mishearings are also repeated but these are more like on-going jokes or plot points and therefore more acceptable (though irritating if you found them tiresome the first time!).

I think the first book was stronger as more of the ideas were new and original, though this one had some strong elements. Of course children love to read more books about their favourite characters and with a whole host of different lands to potentially arrive at the top of the tree it would have made sense to carry on writing books.

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