“ Author: Enid Blyton / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 23 April 1997 / Genre: Adventure Stories / Subcategory: Children's Fiction / Publisher: Hachette Children's Books / Title: Five Have Plenty of Fun / ISBN 13: 9780340681190 / ISBN 10: 0340681190 / Alternative title: The Famous Five: Five Have Plenty of Fun - Enid Blyton / Alternative ISBN 10: 0340796286 „
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The Famous Five books are a series of 21 stories written almost annually by Enid Blyton.
The Five mentioned in each title are three siblings - Julian, Dick and little sister Anne together with their cousin Georgina (who insists on being called George) and her pet dog Timmy.
The children are away at boarding school through term time but during the holidays they always spend time together and manage to get into all sorts of adventures, mainly because they are allowed to travel about and roam without any adult supervision.
This is the fourteenth story in the series and was published in 1955.
The story takes place during the last three weeks of the summer holidays when all the children are spending time together at Kirrin Cottage - George's home.
The children plan on having a leisurely time together but their plans get spoilt through Uncle Quentin, George's father. He is a famous scientist and has been working with an American scientist on some very secret project. The American has been threatened that his daughter will be kidnapped to try and make him divulge his secrets. To thwart this the American's daughter has to stay at Kirrin Cottage - and also be in disguise.
This messes up the Famous Five's plans - and George in particular is most annoyed.
However Quentin and his wife have to leave the children to their own devices apart from the cook Joanna - and of course they get embroiled in more adventures.
This is Endi Blyton's 14th book in the Famous Five series and was published in 1955.
The book begins with the three siblings staying with cousin George at Kirrin Cottage. Uncle Quentin then has a secret American visitor.
The story starts leisurely with the children having a picnic on the beach - and having a whole fruit cake and sandwiches and Dick wondering why people would ever want to eat meals at a table.
Evidence that these are definitely well-to-do children comes when you are told that Dick and Julian have been abroad for weeks while sister Anne had been away at camp - not a normal working class way to behave in the 1950s!
The four children plan to enjoy themselves for the remaining three weeks of the school holiday - by going to Kirrin Island, fishing and exploring caves.
But their peaceful existence is shattered when the American scientist makes a night time visit. His daughter has no mother and is being threatened with kidnap - so she is to be hidden at Kirrin Cottage for three weeks - by then the scheme will be launched and the scientist's secrets will be safe.
The girl is called Berta and is to sleep in with Anne and George - and as if that was not bad enough - she has brought her dog - much to George's annoyance as her dog Timmy is supposed to be the only canine allowed in their house.
To help protect the girl she is to have a different name, have her long hair cut off and dress like a boy - this infuriates George as she is the one who does that. George is always good at bickering with people. Aunt Fanny cuts Berta's hair and it seems she now looks more like a boy than George - just rubbing more salt into the wound.
Julian again comes across as very grown up and mature in this story and Aunt Fanny can rely on him to keep the conversation going over mealtimes and avoid any awkward subjects.
Berta's dog is a little poodle but lucky she gets on well with Timmy, George's dog.
Another sign of their middle class ways is when they have a gong for breakfast - and a bell for lunch.
As always Enid Blyton focuses a lot on what the children eat - and of course the children do relish their food.
There is much humour when Berta has to have her hair chopped and George bickers about the little dog being there. George is especially annoyed when Timmy is called a mongrel.
Berta s an only child like George and the observation is made that 'lonely people arn't as easy to get on with as others'.
When Berta arrived she was said to be 'not our kind' as she was pale and with no tan and did not look like the sort of girl who would climb trees or row a boat.
There is hilarity over Berta's American pronunciation of certain words - 'its TWENTY, not TWENY!!'
Of course it is not long before Berta's name is changed to Lesley and with Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin having to go away the children are left with the friendly and homely cook Joanna. So now there are two girls looking like boys - Lesley and George.
Once Quentin and Fanny have gone the children go to explore Kirrin Island, which is owned by George. The police are keeping on eye on the family because of the kidnap threat. But has someone already been there?
Now with only Joanna about things really do speed up and the adventures really begin.
There is a case of mistaken identity which is reminiscent of an earlier Famous Five story.
Julian takes charge and even Dick gives the police a talking to - not bad for youngsters.
Of course as the story progresses it is the children who find the clues and goes off on a night time adventure. They also meet up with someone form an earlier story who is of much help to them.
Of course being a children's book you have to suspend reality. No person would go off with her husband while a child was left at home with a cook/housekeeper - especially when a kidnap was threatened. And poor Joanna, though the adult, often defers to Julian's opinions - so is portrayed as a working class person and so defers to her 'superiors' and is also quite shy and quiet in the presence of policemen who are authority figures.
The story involves hidden clues and fairs and travelling out at night - all great things for an adventure.
Of course the children bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion -and with not a hidden room or secret tunnel anywhere!
This is a different sort of story but fast paced and exciting. The introduction of the American girl adds variety and shakes up the dynamics of the group a little. Julian provides a sensible and authoritarian figure that they all look up to.
There are many editions of this story which can be purchased very cheaply or even listed to n Youtube.
Five Have Plenty Of Fun is the 14th in the series of 21 books by Enid Blyton featuring the Famous Five. The books are considered some of the best children's books ever, and I am inclined to agree. As a child, they were my favourite, and I still read them from time to time as an adult, and I enjoy them every time.
The Famous Five are Julian, Dick and Anne Kirrin, their cousin George (Georgina) Kirrin and her dog Timmy. Five Have Plenty Of Fun sees the Five joined by Berta, the daughter of the American scientist that George's father Quentin is working with. Fears are that the nature of the Amrican scientist's work would cause thieves and rivals to use their families to gain knowledge of their work, so Berta is hidden with the Kirrin. However, when George is kidnapped, the Five are plunged into adventure once more, and they are joined again by Jo the ragamuffin girl.
Recurring character Jo, who we see in the 9th and 11th books in the series also, lends a gypsy element to the book, which opens the doorway to their involvement in the plot. The book features the first American friend to the Five, and gives another dimension to the series in general. Blyton's writing style helps ease any complications in plot, and it is a welcome return to the familiar territory of Kirrin Bay by the author, having spent the previous three adventures away from the Bay and the cottage. The story is naturally geared towards children, and as such it is easy to read and takes no time at all from an adult perspective. There are 185 pages to the book.
The book was originally published in 1955. I have the edition published in 1985, which costed £1.50 at the time. You can get Five Have Plenty Of Fun from amazon.co.uk for £3.49.