54 of 54 people found the following review helpful
The BEST Famous Five since 1963,
This review is from: The Famous Five's Survival Guide: includes the NEW Unsolved Mystery (Famous Five Gift Books and Collections) (Hardcover)
This is a fantastic book for fans and collectors of the Famous Five, whatever their age. It is a handsome book, carefully and artistically produced. It is a thick hard-backed volume, 253 pages long, in full colour, and seemingly assembled with much love and respect as well as affection towards both Enid Blyton and the Famous Five.
The book is not only packed with plenty of articles on how to survive various situations, such as shipwrecks, being lost, crossing rivers, cracking codes,climbing rocks,spotting a liar, etc, but also contains a full-length new Famous Five story about a long lost treasure. The story portion of the book is excellently illustrated in full colour, in a style very reminiscent of the original 'Fives' illustrator, Eileen Soper.
Where this book really comes into its own, however, is the fact that the narrative isnt written by an author trying to emulate the style of Enid Blyton, so the style is never uncomfortably compared to that of the originals. It is supposedly a joint effort from the four human members of the Five themselves(now grown to adulthood) who experienced this mystery/adventure way back in 1959 but, unlike their other adventures, were unable to solve it at the time.
This clever ploy on behalf of the publishers fits in perfectly with the fact that Blyton never actually produced a 'Five' book in 1959 (the only year, between 1942 and 1963 that she failed to do so)
The 'Five' offer the reader a chance to solve the mystery for themselves, supplying them with all of the clues they collected as children: maps, plans, diary extracts etc, in order to do so. There are letters to read, codes to decipher, plans and maps to follow. Sometimes the special 'book marker' de-coder needs to be used, which, when placed over various letters etc enables the reader to discover secret messages hidden within larger pieces of text. It is a very cleverly written book, and a very welcome addition to the 21 'legitimate' books already written about the Famous Five by Enid Blyton.
This book deserves to be extremely popular, and is a brilliant example of just how good a 'continuation' novel can be if time and trouble is taken over its production.
Chorion and Hodder should be loudly applauded.
Robert Houghton (member of The Enid Blyton Society)