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I loved the Famous Five books as a kid, and a few years ago I was given this special mystery jigsaw as a present. I'm certainly not the target audience for this, it being a 250 piece jigsaw with a couple of mystery questions on it to solve from making the jigsaw, based around a children's story, but I have certainly enjoyed doing the puzzle with my son.
He's 8, and has just started enjoying jigsaws and puzzles and things you have to work out as school starts to get them to write in full sentences, etc. Essentially, this puzzle is a 250 piece jigsaw that results in four frames to a story, based on Five Get Into A Fix, the 17th Famous Five story, which features the fearless five (4 children and a dog) in the Welsh snow covered hills uncovering a mystery. It's very gentle in terms of a story, giving you a brief summarisation of the book in a few pages, which you read out while the jigsaw is being done and then read out the series of questions that are printed at the end.
It's really as simple as an 8 page booklet printed out and the 250 piece jigsaw. The answers to the questions are printed on the back of the booklet, in reverse print. If you hold the booklet up to a mirror then you'll be able to read it perfectly. It's another fun, clever little touch that sits well with kids, especially the mystery nature of the Famous Five and how it mixes together with the fun of a jigsaw.
The artwork on the jigsaw is very simple, the pieces are easy to slot together and of what I would call a medium size. We have a number of 100 piece jigsaws which we regularly pore over, intricate designs making them take longer but by no means reducing the enjoyment levels. Here, the jigsaw needs to be simpler to not lose sight of the story and mystery and questions, and it does what it needs to. I thought the whole thing was very well designed.
Overall then, it's a very good present for any inquisitive kid, and a very good introduction to the Famous Five books. I started reading them when I was 8 or thereabouts, and have read them all over and over again. they have reprinted them in more modern wording of late, and although I'm not sure whether I like this idea or not, it's certainly a good way of trying to get a classic set to appeal more to today's kids, as is this jigsaw. There are also other jigsaws, such as the Smuggler's Top one, and some that feature the next generation of the Famous Five. If you're after sharing the adventures you had when reading the Famous Five books then this a great way of gently introducing kids to the group and the magic mystery that the books can hold. It's a gentle and not very time consuming jigsaw and mystery that focuses more on fun and adventure than anything complicated, and I like this very much. It's currently available from amazon for around the £3 mark, which is excellent value. Recommended.
First read the gripping short story inside. Then complete the puzzle.