Five Go Adventuring Again

“A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”

Madeleine L’Engle

YES, I DID.

I re-read a Famous Five adventure.

Why? Because there’s nothing quite like a brief nostalgia trip. Because I was trying to remember why exactly I had fourteen centenary hardbacks sitting on my shelves. Because I could.

Five Go Adventuring Again is the second in the saga of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, featuring four children and a dog who go out and Solve Crimes using just their pluck and their wits and come back in time for tea with lashings of ginger beer. In this particular instalment, the children visit Kirrin Cottage, home of cousin George, for their Christmas holidays, and are accompanied by – horror of horrors! – a tutor. But does Mr Roland have an Ulterior Motive? And could an Adventure be about to happen after all?

(Spoiler: Yes.)

It was actually less bad than I was expecting. Sure, the characters all sound exactly the same, and the words “awfully decent” are massively over-used. Oh, and the adults are considerably less intelligent than the Plucky Children, of course. But I can see the attraction, for a seven-year-old: relatively normal children getting to do extraordinary things like finding secret passages in the walls and decoding old maps, a dog who’s almost as clever as an actual person, and lashings of lovely things like cake and buns. Nobody ever gets seriously hurt, the bad guys go to prison, and the grownups realise how they should have trusted the children all along. It’s strangely comforting, the middle-grade equivalent of Midsomer Murders.

I don’t think I could read the whole series again, though. Like Midsomer Murders, the Famous Five series is best revisited approximately once a year, with a cup of tea, rain on the window-panes and some cake.

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