* Prices may differ from that shown
===Cost and Editions===
Recommended price on Amazon is £5.99 but currently selling for £4.49.
Can also be purchased second hand.
Paperback: 224 pages
Hodder Children's Books; New Ed edition (19 Mar 1997)
There are many other editions of this book and as well as possibly being able to download a PDF version you can listen to the whole thing for free on Youtube as an audio book.
This is the fifth book in the Enid Blyton series of Famous Five stories and was originally published in 1946.
Once again it is the school holidays and it sees siblings Julian, Dick and Anne meet up with their cousin George (Georgina) and her pet dog Timmy. They are all on holiday from their respective boarding schools.
This book takes the children away from their normal setting and sees them going off on a caravan holiday in two horse drawn vans They stop near to a circus encampment and get friendly with a young circus boy called Nobby.
Of course a Famous Five book would not be complete without its adventure - this time involving two crooks and stolen goods - as well as the usual secret hideaways.
This story is a nice change from the usual ones which are often located either at Kirrin Cottage or on Kirrin Island.
It is the start of the summer holidays and the children are this time staying with Julian's parents and are wondering what to do with themselves. Apparently they have been offered to go away to a hotel but they prefer to be away from adults somewhere.
The chance passing of a convoy of circus caravans gives them the idea of a caravanning holiday and of course the adults agree - putting Julian in charge.
The caravans are two horse drawn affairs and little Anne enjoys her housekeeping duties. There is one for the boys and one for the girls.
The first part of the book is reasonably slow in that it details their journey along country lanes and stopping at night etc. But is interesting and homely and comical in places - especially once they meet up with the circus.
They then meet up with the circus people and befriend a young boy called Nobby.
They plan on having a quiet holiday together but of course being the Famous Five you know that it is only a matter of time before some adventure befalls them.
Nobby has a wicked and cruel 'uncle' who beats him and does not like him mixing with the 'posh' children.
The children enjoy spending time with Nobby and his dogs and the circus chimp - but strange things begin to happen around their two caravans and the children are determined to get to the bottom of what is going on.
Of course being set in the 1940s some things may sound a bit quaint - but not enough to detract from the story.
Children will enjoy all the animal related antics involving the chimp and elephant.
You have to suspend common sense when you hear that the children are allowed to all go off on their own in horse drawn caravans - with the only proviso being to boil any drinking water - they even leave Timmy the dog lick their plates before washing them - yuck - but I do know of people who do that even today.
The five children are of course though of as posh by the circus folk and well mannered by the farmer's that they visit and stay with.
Poor Nobby the circus boy is badly treated - and ends up with bruises - and there is violence towards the chimp and cruelty to the dogs as well. But this would give a good opportunity for these issues to be discussed if you were reading the story to younger children.
There is only the odd reference that may sound a little dated and probably would go un-noticed by a child - binoculars being called field glasses is one - and the fact that the children, when getting food from one of the farmer's wives are given a 'pot of brawn' - I doubt many present day children would relish that! Though the ginger beer, cakes and sandwiches certainly would be appreciated.
This story makes a pleasant change being set in different locations and with more going on in a way with the Nobby character and the various circus animals.
It is fairly uneventful until over half way through when all the skulduggery and real adventures begin - which carry on until the end.
There are even guns involved but the children all come out of the adventure unscathed.
===Would I Recommend?===
===Full Famous Five Series===
Five on a Treasure Island (1942)
Five Go Adventuring Again (1943)
Five Run Away Together (1944)
Five Go to Smuggler's Top (1945)
Five Go Off in a Caravan (1946)
Five on Kirrin Island Again (1947)
Five Go Off to Camp (1948)
Five Get into Trouble (1949)
Five Fall into Adventure (1950)
Five on a Hike Together (1951)
Five Have a Wonderful Time (1952)
Five Go Down to the Sea (1953)
Five Go to Mystery Moor (1954)
Five Have Plenty of Fun (1955)
Five on a Secret Trail (1956)
Five Go to Billycock Hill (1957)
Five Get into a Fix (1958)
Five on Finniston Farm (1959)
Five Go to Demon's Rocks (1960)
Five Have a Mystery to Solve (1962)
Five Are Together Again (1963)
As a child I used to love reading the famous five books written by Enid Blyton and have recently started reading them to my 7 year old son. The books were written in the 1940's so the language can seem a bit dated and the books are often sexist, but that aside they are still wonderful stories that really appeal to my son as much as they did to me many years ago!
Five go off in a caravan is the fifth book in the famous five series. The famous five consist of two boys, Julian and Dick and two girls, Georgina (or George as she insists of being called) and Anne. The fifth member of the group is the endearing dog, Timmy.Julian.Dick and Anne are siblings and George is their cousin. In the first book we learn that Julian is the oldest at 12. Dick and George are both 11 and Anne is the youngest at 10. In this book we are not told how old the children are or how many years have passed since the first book and adventure.
The story begins with the children all together at the home of Julian, Dick and Anne. It is the beginning of the summer hols and the children are planning how to spend their time. George's parents don't want the children with them as it would be too much! As they continue to make plans a circus troupe appears. The children watch the troupe go past and are very excited to see a young boy turning cartwheels. The children decide it would be wonderful if they too could go off caravanning like the circus folk. They persuade their parents and are allowed to take the family horse and borrow another to pull the caravans. Their parents arrange to hire two caravans and the children start to decide what they will need to take on their exciting trip.
The story continues with the children and Timmy traveling around the countryside stopping at various farms on the way where they purchase supplies. The children eventually catch up with the circus troupe and make friends with a circus boy called Nobby. Nobby has two dogs, barker and growler and a pet chimpanzee called Pongo. Nobby has a nasty, abusive uncle known as tiger Dan. Dan has a friend who is equally as nasty called Lou.
The famous five find a lovely spot to camp overlooking the lake where the circus are staying. We are introduced to the kindly farmer's wife who keeps the children supplied with good food. Everything seems perfect until it becomes clear that Dan and Lou are trying to get rid of the children and will stop at nothing to get their way! Why are the two men so keen to get rid of the children? What is in the men's cart that they are so keen to keep hidden from view and why are the men so interested in the area where the children are camping?
It isn't long before the famous five find themselves in the middle of another exciting adventure!
I think this is the best of all the famous five books. I love the humour in this book, something than is not really present in the rest of the series. The descriptive writing is brilliant and makes you almost feel the warm summer sun and taste that ginger beer! The description of the countryside captures everything perfectly including the stereotypical rotund, farmers wife.
The book also depicts a lot of extreme cruelty both to the animals and Nobby the circus boy. Nobby is badly beaten by his uncle and his dog is poisoned. There is no mention that keeping circus animals is cruel, but then this book was written in the 1940's when attitudes were different.
The idea that a group of young children would be allowed to go off on their own with a couple of horses and caravans to look after is of course far fetched even by 1940's standards! However this is what makes the book so appealing to children, who wouldn't have wanted an adult free holiday?
The adventure whilst exciting, is never scary making it an idea bedtime story for a wide range of ages. The acts of cruelty may well provoke discussion however.
The version I have of this book is part of the famous five collection that includes five go to smugglers top, and five on Kirrin island again. The rrp is £9.99, but I paid just £3 in my local Tesco. The book is published by Hodder children's books. The only negative with this version is that there are no illustrations. Amazon has an illustrated copy for £3.30, also published by Hodder.
Five Go off in a Caravan is the fifth book of the Famous Five series (and the book I am currently reading). The book opens with a major difference from all the other books in the series: Instead of taking place at George's house, this one starts off from Anne, Dick and Julian's place. The plot is again simple: Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny are not disposed to look after the children for the holidays, and so the Five rent a caravan to go out by themselves. They encounter a circus and make friends with a circus boy, but the adventure starts when a nasty man and his friend start roaming around their caravans.
Like other Famous Five books, the description is extremely rich and vivid. I particularly enjoyed the traditional tea-time which the children religiously stick to! Blyton really has an eye for detail; during those tea times for example, she describes the food in such a way that one can just portray, smell and even taste the food described (and get hungry all through the book!). Ann was particularly funny as the neat little housekeeper. In fact, this is the book where Ann shines more than the others. In the other book, she remains in the shadow of her more boisterous cousins, but in Five go off in a Caravan, the children are left to fend for themselves. This is where Ann steps in- she takes charges, orders everyone about their kitchen/cleaning duties and acts as the perfect little boss.
This is also the book where readers get to witness the kindess and generosity of the Five. They feel sorry for Noddy, the camp boy, and take him in as one of their own. In fact, it can be said that in Five Go Off in a Caravan, the adventure is solved by six, and not by the usual five. Noddy does play a large role in the book, and I think that this is the first book where someone outside the group gets involved with the Five and their adventures (as it often happens in other books after this one). Noddy also introduces the Five to the Circus animals and their antics, and I personally (liked) and believed that this will delight any child. Blyton plunges you into the circus world, and be it for academic/learning purposes or for mere entertainment, kids will simply adore the Famous Five's trips to the circus.
A little more of the post-adventure story is given in this book. By this I mean that I was always a little disappointed by how the Famous Five books just end one or less page after the adventure. I wanted to see more of what happens after the actual adventure and this book fitted it perfectly. I think it might have to do with the fact that the children are caravanning and not at home, but we do get a little of post-adventure pages in Five Go Off in a Caravan!
Yet another great book!
Thanks for reading
My Famous Five review trawl continues. I recently discovered that my writing rollercoaster ride through the collection has come in good use as I've been reading them to my best friend's daughter who is completely in love with the idea of a 'super dog' that will chase away the bad guys.
'Five Go Off In A Caravan' is the fifth book out of twenty one in the series created by the late Enid Blyton and apart from Noddy and Big Ears, the books are probably known as one of her greatest works. Following the adventures of four children, Julian, Dick & Anne Kirrin and their maternal cousin George and her mongrel dog Timmy, Blyton's books have still not aged and still appeal to children across the world today some 60 years after their original release.
The books each follow the same format. The five get back together for one of the school holidays and either reside at George's parents home or go off on their own somewhere. For alas, the 1940s were safer times for children than they are now.
In this particular instance, it marks the first time the group have gone off by themselves in some rather odd looking caravans. They decide to do this after witnessing a circus procession and want to get involved so follow it to its resting place. What follows is yet another adventure for the group as they get involved with the circus folk, in particular a young boy named Nobby who is under the guardianship of his 'Uncle' Dan, one of the protagonists in this story.
Reading the book makes me wonder if Blyton has some sort of vendetta against gypsies as this marks the first time of many that the travelling folk are used as the villains in a Famous Five book, but I guess in Blyton's time they didn't have chavs and such?
Blyton's language is a lot more stunning and progressive in this book, especially when she is describing aspects of nature and it really pulls you in to this imaginary world. She is stereotypical as usual not just with her usual batch of characters but also with Julian and such's parents who are referred to as just 'Mother' and 'Daddy' and are presented as very upper class.
Pongo the chimpanzee is a wonderful inclusion to the story as a lot of his antics are quite humorous and it's nice to have a different animal in the books that can appeal to younger readers. The five basically start hanging around the circus camp and befriending the lonely and mistreated Nobby. However, this doesn't settle too well with the aforementioned Uncle Dan and his partner in crime Lou, who think the Five are trouble makers and far too cultured to be covorting with the likes of them.
The plot is rather slow in this story though the five soon discover that the criminals want rid of them because their caravans have parked over the exact location of the book's entire mystery. The story is a lot darker than Blyton's previous outings showing various cruelty to Nobby who at one point is 'beaten black and blue' by his uncle and the chimpanzee who is wounded to his head by rocks thrown at him by the protagonists. It's a bit disturbing and may upset children a little bit but Blyton soon wraps everything up in her usual safe, fast paced and wonderful style.
This is one of my favourite stories in the series as it has a lot more 'adult' themes running through it whilst still being an enjoyable and fascinating story for a younger audience. Blyton's characters may be stuck with some sort of Peter Pan syndrome but they're still as engaging and wonderful as ever and the addition of some different characters to accompany them also brings fresh life to the story.
Five Go Off In A Caravan is the fifth book in the series of 21 penned by Enid Blyton. This book was originally published in 1946, and gthe copy I have was printed in 1985. The books hold a special place in my heart and I must have read them all a dozen or so times each.
The Famous Five are Julian, Dick and Anne Kirrin, their cousin George (Georgina) Kirrin and her dog Timmy. This is the fifth adventure, and the children are allowed by George's parents to go caravanning for the school holidays. On their travels they meet up with a travelling circus, in particular Nobby, the circus boy, and his chimp Pongo. The Five fall into adventure when they set their caravans up next to a hedge in a field near the circus, only to find hostility from two of the circus camp: Lou and Tiger Dan. Why do the two men want them gone so bad, and what ois wrong with where they have camped?
The book is geared towards children, and is very easy to read as an adult. The passages flow smoothly and I find myself finishing each book in the best part of a couple of hours. This fifth book is 184 pages long, and it cost £1.25 in 1985. Today, you can the book from amazon.co.uk for £3.49.