A few weeks ago I read and reviewed the first half of the annual so here I am looking at the rest of it. I originally posted about getting this for my Christmas here, and I also reviewed the 2014 annual here and here.
NAME SQUARE (AND SPOT THE DIFFERENCE!)
Another puzzle page. The square is an easy “find the mystery words” one and below – you’ve to spot the genuine difference between two book covers. If I tell you it’s the Eileen Soper cover for Five on Kirrin Island Again I’m sure many of you can guess the difference without looking.
FIVE HAVE A PUZZLING TIME
The short story, or indeed a taster of it is printed here. It’s across five pages and we get up until Anne loses a sandal on the island. From what I can remember it’s faithful to the original and it has reasonably decent illustrations (similar to some in the 2014 annual) with the Five in period clothing. My one nitpick would be they have the island and castle appearing right outside George’s window!
THE FIENDISH FAMOUS FIVE QUIZ
Some of the 25 questions were quite difficult – though I defy anyone to find naming George’s mother as fiendish. I got 22 out of 25 (22.5 if that’s allowed for getting one of two names needed for one question) plus a bonus point for giving additional information in one question. I couldn’t remember some more obscure character’s names as I’m awful with things like that. (Oh and no need to worry as the answers are given at the back!)
Another quiz. 12 statements like wishes she were a boy are given and you have to match them up to the members of the Five. Very easy!
ANIMALS IN THE FAMOUS FIVE
A section similar to The Baddies from earlier in this annual and the Five’s Friends from the last one. From Barker and Growler to Trotter the horse, this is a nice look at the many animals the Five meet. Animals from the same book such as Barker and Growler, and Dai, Bob, Tang et al are grouped together. Unlike Eva Rice’s book only the important animals are included (so no Ben from Kirrin Farm for example) and they haven’t missed out Nosey the jackdaw. Also included are animals from the short stories – which rather gives away the ending to Five Have Puzzling Time from earlier!
WRITING THE FAMOUS FIVE
This is a personal account from Gillian Baverstock. I’m not sure exactly where it comes from – much of it is what’s in Tell Me About Enid Blyton which was written by Gillian but it’s certainly not lifted from there. On further thought it might be paraphrased from Gillian Baverstock Remembers but I don’t have a copy of that to check. It’s a great addition to the book though, a very personal insight into Blyton’s professional and personal life.
ANOTHER MYSTERY AT MYSTERY MOOR
This is an anagram puzzle, containing words from chapter titles. Unscrambled they then spell out a secret message. I’m lousy at anagrams though – I’ll have to consult the book for clues!
FIVE GO TO SMUGGLER’S TOP
Oh dear. My favourite book is now a comic strip. If it’s as bad as the one for Five Have Plenty of Fun I’m sure I don’t want to read it. For the sake of the blog, though, I’ll subject myself to it. Phew, it’s not quite so bad. It’s cut a little more cleverly so we get a brief summary of the Five being at Smuggler’s Top, then them sneaking out via the tunnels and meeting Block in the town. Then we jump forward again to the night they go up the tower to see the lights flashing. It reflects the books better than the other comics have as the little text that is there isn’t messed with much and there’s no bizarre alterations or updates.
FIVE GO ADVENTURING AGAIN FIND-A-WORD
Another puzzle – a word search this time where the left over letters spell out a hidden name.
THE FAMOUS FIVE CLUB
I’ve always wished I could have joined the Famous Five club, having seen the adverts in the back of the Hodder and Stoughton hardbacks from a young age. An interesting history of the club with dates, facts and figures. The club closed in 1990 when I was just four so at least now I know I was just too late for it (I had hated to think it was around when I was reading the Famous Five and I could have joined but didn’t).
FIVE AND A HALF-TERM ADVENTURE
This short story is reproduced in its entirety – an unusual feature for an annual. It only takes up five pages though, as it is very short so that’s perhaps why. There are Soper illustrations given but they look a bit funny – awkwardly shrunk down.
FIVE GET INTO TROUBLE
Another extract. It starts after Dick has been kidnapped in error and the text seems identical to the original (though I only checked a paragraph here and there so there might be a few changes – but nothing as dramatic as the alterations in some other extracts). The full page illustration is very modern – taken from the Knight paperback of 1991 to be precise. Bizarrely they then also include the cover from the 1991 Knight Five Go Off to Camp – the children running ahead of the steam train! What that has to do with the story I have no idea.
ANSWERS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Answers to all the puzzles – and acknowledgements as to where some of the material has come from. Unfortunately no information on the piece by Gillian Baverstock, though it does tell us that Meet the Baddies and the Fiendish quiz are adapted from Norman Wright’s Famous Five: Everything You Ever Needed to Know. Many of the puzzles and extracts are from Enid Blyton’s Adventure Magazines and Mystery and Suspense magazines.
I feel like the second half of the annual was stronger than the first – but overall it’s still a great book. Both this and the 2014 annual are full of interest, facts and excellent illustrations. For the most part the quality is very high and it’s a great book to add to any collection especially when it cost less than a fiver.