I was struggling to think of something to write about this week and my headache didn’t particularly lend itself to reading so I decided to listen to my other Famous Five CD. Then I worried it would be lost in the chaos of my bedroom, but thankfully it was on the floor by the bed so I didn’t even have to get up to look for it.
Anyway, Five Get Into a Fix is is the second disk from the two-disk set I bought at Seven Stories last year. (The other being Five Go to Smuggler’s Top.)
As I mentioned last time, the pairs of stories seem a bit odd but these are two of my favourites so I don’t mind.
So, the CD is in my laptop, I intend to turn off shuffle (unlike last time,) and then I can sit back and listen for an hour while I make notes.
The music and narrator are again a nice bit of nostalgia for me and I’ve a mind to get the set which contains Five Go Off to Camp as that’s the one I had on tape as a kid.
Again the sound effects are good, the car makes a lovely whining noise for a while before it’s mentioned that it’s struggling up the hill, and the shuddering to accompany the shimmering is good too. The four children do a fair bit of coughing at first too, in the car and at the farm. There are ‘layers’ of sounds in the story, dogs barking behind the main dialogue which all adds to it. Though, while the ‘background’ dogs are good, Timmy’s barking is a bit, er, unconvincing. He sounds more like the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz at times!
The music is used nicely to almost break up the chapters and provide some background to the narrator’s words as he skims us over the perhaps less important scenes between the ones where the main action occurs.
The voice acting is also good for the most part, the driver at the start is particularly good especially when the car is dragging its way down the hill at Old Towers, and the shepherd gives a good performance in a decent Welsh accent (there’s a touch of Rhod Gilbert about him as he talks about the shimmerings and the dog growling). I’d say Mrs Jones Welsh accent was good too, though Aily’s mother was a bit dubious, of course actual Welsh people are free to disagree with me!
Morgan is decent, definitely grouchy and gruff but his shouting isn’t quite as impressive as you might imagine when he yells for his dogs. He does sound much nicer at the end though, once we know he’s not the enemy.
Dick made me laugh as he speaks to Aily. What. Is. Your. Name? he asks, which is actually a direct quote from the book, but he emphasises each word so that it sounds quite insensitive. It put me in mind of Uncle Albert from Only Fools and Horses when he says he can speak German as there’s a German woman in the pub. Vot. Iz. Your. Nem?
Aily doesn’t sound like I imagined, and she isn’t very convincing really, though I suppose doing a small Welsh child who is unfamiliar with English isn’t exactly easy. She rather reminded me of the children from Fireman Sam at times actually.
The exciting scene early on, with Timmy standing off against the farmyard dogs is only narrated and not acted which is a shame and poor Mrs Jones doesn’t get the lovely description; It was Mrs Jones running as if she was a twelve-year old.
Nor is George described as being stood there, swinging the lather lead, and giving first one dog and then another a sharp flick.
So much is altered and chopped to make this a dramatisation that there’s no point comparing it word for word but those are two bits I find very memorable and I was faintly disappointed not to hear them.
On saying that, all the main scenes are there and I didn’t notice anything major missing at all. Also, a fair amount of the dialogue is actually lifted directly from the book, I noticed that as I was flicking through it as I listened to check on little bits and pieces.
So yes, that was an enjoyable hour. My sister and I listened to a lot of audio dramatisations as children, Pat Hutchins’ Rats and Follow that Bus were favourites both at home and in the car, as was The Snow Queen and many others I’ve forgotten. I’ve never listened to a ‘real’ audio book, where the entire book (minus any abridgements sometimes) is read out but then they take a lot longer to get through compared to a dramatised version I imagine.
I think the music, voice acting and sound affects add a lot to the story really and an hour’s a good length for a story especially for children (or busy adults!)