Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Five Go Off in a Caravan

Title: Five Go Off in a Caravan
Author: Enid Blyton
Series: The Famous Five, book 5
Genre: Children, adventure
Published: 1946

Recommendation: Not the best of the series, but a fun foray into the adventures of The Famous Five.
Rating: 7/10

Summary: The Famous Five (Julian, Dick, George, Anne, and Timmy) decide to go caravanning during the summer vacation. They follow a circus to their camping spot, befriend Nobby, and soon the adventures begin.

Reactions: I didn't feel like doing any serious reading, so I decided to pick up a book by Enid Blyton that I haven't read before. As kid, I owned the first four books in The Famous Five series and I used to read them over and over.

My favorite book in the series used to be Five Run Away Together, where the kids end up on the Kirin Island living by themselves. As it happens, in this book the kids get to go off on their own as well and the descriptions of their travel, cooking, and fending for themselves is something I enjoyed more than the plot. In particular, images of fresh loaves of bread and butter, eggs, fresh fruit, and ham kept making me hungry throughout the book.

Since the book was published in 1946, there are some distinctly dated scenes. For example, the kids' caravans are drawn by horses. The postcards and telegraph are the common means of communication. Tea time is traditional. Overall, Five Go Off in a Caravan created a very comfortable atmosphere and conveyed a nicely nostalgic feeling.

The adventure itself had a few moments that felt a little forced and the complexity of the plot is definitely aimed at an early teen crowd. The language is fairly simple, but smooth and fitting to the genre. I got what I wanted: an easy, enjoyable read with the characters I grew up loving.

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