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A couple of months ago whilst reading with my seven year old son at bedtime he asked me a rather puzzling question, 'What books did you read when you were younger Dad?'. He was genuinely interested so I started to explain how I used to love 'The Famous Five' and 'The Secret Seven'.
After explaining he asked if he could start reading the books too and this is where it all began. I logged into Amazon and he chose 'Five go off to camp' and for less than a £5 I had ordered our first book.
It arrived within 48 hours and my lad was very keen to get started reading it. So that evening we started to read it. Obviously with it being the first book my son took a little bit of time getting used to the different characters but within a couple of pages he had settled into the book. A knack that Enid Blyton had when writing books all those years ago.
So for each night for the last couple of months we've been reading a few pages a night and have just finished the book. I found he struggled with a few words every couple of pages but not too much. I also believe it important that he stretches his vocabulary and therefore necessary to encounter words he did not know. However he followed the story very well and we are now on the verge of ordering another one from the series.
He loved the excitement of the mystery train in this adventure and is already looking forward to finding out what the 'Famous Five' get upto next.
I thoroughly recommend this book for the age groups 6-8 and I don't believe there is a child out there who will not enjoy it.
Copyright stebiz 2012 - also on ciao.co.uk
I was pretty spooked as a child when I read the seventh instalment in Enid Blyton's Famous Five series. 'Five Go Off To Camp', is extremely creepy and was enough to send shivers down my spine! Looking back now, pretty much anything used to scare me but alas...
The Famous Five series revolves around Julian, Dick, Georgina [or George as she demands to be known], Anne and Timmy the dog. Blyton's writing style and way with words appeals to younger readers catapulted the books to become a huge success spawning twenty-one stories about her heroes in all as well as countless television revivals and further plans currently in consideration to make a futuristic animated version!
Despite book six 'Five on Kirrin Island Again' being considered as the final book in the series, Blyton bounces back with one of the collection's finer moments.
'Five Go Off To Camp' takes place in the summer holidays and the children are preparing to go camping on some moorlands. Their parents will let them do such a thing? Well as long as they take along one of Julian and Dick's teachers, Mr Luffy. A very strange, bewildered man who is often in dreamland and loves to do nothing more than research insects. Hardly a responsible adult, but still a very interesting, adult character to include in the story as Blyton rarely explores them too deeply.
However, not all is quiet and peaceful on the moors as the Five have stumbled head first into more trouble. A farm near the moors that has tonnes of lorries and expensive equipment just a few years after the second world war demolished Britain plays a pivotal part and it all seems to revolve around an abandoned train yard, inhabited by a peg-legged man called Stan who warns them of 'the spook trains'. When he tells his story, it really is very tense and you feel the goosebumps descending up and down your arms which is a credit to Enid's ability to weave a good ghost story just as much as anything else.
Of course the boys and George are excited by this and vow to go down to the train yard one night and see if they can spot 'the spook train'. Meanwhile, the children's relationship with the farmer's son Jock deepens and it seems as if his step father is responsible for the so-called 'spook trains' and the dangerous underground adventure the Five find themselves dragged into.
Blyton shines as always when describing nature and the moors and she really pulls you in with beautiful descriptions of everything the characters see. Her talent for taking the same formula for each book and just adjusting some of the features keeps making more and more interesting reads. The criminal's plots get darker and the Five find themselves being thrown into more and more danger with every book's climax. Blyton knows how to give her reader a suspense filled read and the corny outdated language that pops up in certain places aside, most children will warm to the simple easy words that bounce off the page. Just be warned that if a child comes to you and asks you what certain words mean that you better be careful what you reply with :P
Five Go Off To Camp is the seventh book in the series of 21 books by Enid Blyton featuring the Famous Five. The books are considered some of the greatest children's books ever, and certainly hold a special place in my heart.
The Famous Five are Julian, Dick and Anne Kirrin, their cousin George (Georgina) Kirrin and her dog Timmy. Five Go Off To Camp sees them spend their summer holidays camping on the moors accompanied by one of their teachers, Mr Luffy. Strange noises in the night as well as mysteriously guarded train tracks and old trains that apparently are not in use any more prompt the Five to delve into yet another adventure, full of even more secret passages and criminals as they meet up with Wooden-leg Sam and ignore his warnings.
The seventh book is slightly different to the previous six as there is another constant character throughout the book in Mr Luffy. The previous six, although they had other characters, they came and went at intervals. The book is 184 pages long, and is specifically geared towards children. As such, the reading is smooth and easy for an adult to follow, without complicated plotlines. The characters are by now well cemented in description. I find this one of the least enjoyable of the books for some reason, but it is still very good and there is a nostalgic feel when reading the book. It was first published in 1948. The edition I have was published in 1985 and cost £1.50. The book is currently available from amazon.co.uk for £3.49.