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This is the tenth book in Enid Blyton's Famous Five series.
Published way back in 1951 there are numerous editions to buy and they are also available to listen to free on Youtube.
Although one of a series, all the stories are stand alone ones and Enid Blyton does introduce you to all of the main characters at the start of each book so it does not matter if you have not read the earlier publications - though in a way it is nicer to read them in sequence.
The Five of the title are three siblings - Julain the eldest, his brother Dick and their young and timid sister Anne. Along with them on their adventures is their tomboy cousin George (short for Georgina) and her faithful pet dog Timmy.
These are middle class children who all attend boarding school - but in the holidays spend time together and get up to all sorts of adventures.
In this book the children have an extended weekend at half term and Julian decides they should all go off on a hike across the Moors.
Of course as with all their stories some element of adventure soon creeps in - as on the Moors is also a prison from which a criminal escapes - but is quickly recaptured.
However while on their hike the five get inadvertently dragged into a mystery which they are determined to solve which involves secret messages and obscure references on a scrap of paper.
This story starts with a letter arriving for Anne at her school - the boys have an extended weekend and ask the girls (and Timmy) to join them on a weekend hike from Friday till Tuesday. So after getting permission the girls head off by train. Julian has mapped out a route and although t is October the weather is fine and sunny and they set off in the glorious countryside, planning on staying at farms or inns along the way.
Enid Blyton revels in describing the countryside and all its glories - from lovely soft heather to sit on to the scampering rabbits and some ponies. She also loves describing the food and the children ll have fantastic appetites and eat huge amounts of wholesome food.
Trouble starts when Timmy tries to follow a rabbit down its burrow and gets stuck - the children have to try and drag him out. All seems well to start with but Timmy is not himself and has a bad leg and poor George is worried- so in the next village Julian and George head off to seek help for Timmy while Anne and Dick make for the farmhouse where they are due to stay - so they are separated.
In October the nights get dark early and Dick losses the way - they then find a farmhouse and hope to stay - this must be the right one? But soon Dick and Anne are also separated - and a mistaken identity over a name leads to Dick being dragged into a mystery.
Once again we see our Five adventurers away from school - just out to have a good time in the open air and countryside for a long weekend - yet inevitably getting drawn into a mystery and adventure.
In this story they are out in different villages and on the Moors - which makes it exciting as you do not know what will happen next - or where they will end up.
The writing is of its time - with the children being allowed to all go off together on moorland which has deep pools and boggy parts without so much as an adult in sight. They buy themselves piles of sandwiches (eight rounds each made with sixteen slices of bread!) and all wrapped in grease proof paper.
Definitely middle class children - who attend two boarding schools - one for the girls and one for the boys - and who else would go off on a hike wearing blazers? The girls also wear brogues on their feet.
Julian is definitely the eldest and the one who always takes charge - and in this story he does come across as maybe a little pompous - but his heart is in the right place. He insists at the beginning of the trip that the boys will sleep in barns but the girls must be inside the farmhouse - 'girls have got to be taken care of' - George reels at this but is firmly put in her place by Julian, who says that 'decent boys' like looking after their girl cousins and sisters.
The children are used to sailing and being on water and think nothing of taking to water without any life jackets or things we would think essential these days - but then it is of its time and is only a story after all.
The magic of boys pockets comes in to help them at one stage with the boys producing a torch, penknife, string and a cork - all essential items at that stage in the mystery - I wonder if boys do still carry lots of items in their pockets these days - I doubt it.
A fast paced and interesting adventure - and a nice change from Kirrin Cottage and Island.
The children get loads of freedom and get to eat piles of food - all lovingly described by Enid Blyton - so with freedom, food, no adults and secrets to explore - what more could an adventure story have?
===Would I Recommend?===
Five On A Hike Together is the 10th in the series of 21 books penned by Enid Blyton in the 1940s and 1950s featuring the adventures of the Famous Five. The books are considered to be amongst the best children's literature, and I agree, as they were one of my favourite collections of books as a child, and I still read them from time to time as an adult.
The Famous Five are Julian, Dick and Anne Kirrin, their cousin George (Georgina) and her dog Timmy. Five On A Hike Together sees the Five have a long weekend away together as a hike. Julian, the eldest, organises the weekend, which takes a sour turn early on when Timmy hurts himself and they have to look for a vet. Splitting up, Anne and Dick stay overnight in a farmhouse, and Dick receives a strange message in the night from a voice outside the window. Meeting back up, the Five find themselves launched into an adventure involving an escaped convict and a lake, with hidden treasure and a jewel thief part of the excitement and danger this time round.
The 10th Famous Five tale from Blyton sees a slight difference in that it is not set in the school holidays. With the children abale to take a long weekend out of school, the whole adventure centres round a couple of days, without the inclusion of any of the regular adults or other characters for once. The Five have a remarkable adventure which is full of things that would excite children even today, such as treasure maps, hidden messages and cryptic clues leading them to a lake and some sinister people. The book is written for children, and as such is easy to read for an adult. The book is 188 pages long, as are man of the books.
The book was initially published in 1951. The copy I have was published in 1986 and cost £1.50 at the time. Now, you can get a copy of Five On A Hike Together from amazon.co.uk for £3.49.