Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton

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Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: An original Famous Five short story, published as a stand alone book for the first time, this is a treat for fans old and new.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: April 2014
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1444916294

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Perhaps the only thing better than a favourite author publishing a new book, is one of their old works that you missed first time around being re-released. The Famous Five, you see, didn’t just feature in their most well-known tales. They also had some short story adventures that were first seen in albums and magazines and whatnot, but are now being published as books in their own right. Hurrah!

In A Lazy Afternoon, Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy (the do-o-o-og) don’t have much planned. It’s a super hot day, too hot even to bathe (that’s swim, of course) but they quite fancy finding a quiet patch of grass to read their books and have a light snooze in, until it’s supper time. That doesn’t sound much like a Famous Five adventure, does it? And with not many pages, I was a little concerned that maybe that was all there was, and they were having something of an off day. I needn’t have feared. The Five are interrupted by the arrival of some bad men who are acting suspiciously. Can they figure out what’s going on, and alert the Police in time?

This is a well-developed story considering how short it is on words. It has, for want of a better description, a beginning, a middle and an end, and a fair amount happens. There are a few details that are whizzed past, such as how they get things out of the tree, and what is down there in the first place, and I imagine these would have been fleshed out properly in a full length book, but the story still works.

I love that these are authentic Enid Blyton, not a re-work by a new author, as although those can be good, I never think they’re a patch on the originals. The text hasn’t been updated or modified, so we still have expressions like I say! coming out of the children’s mouths in a charming way. What is a bit more modern, however, is the presentation. These have full colour illustrations designed to appeal to today’s readers, and they’re a bit different from the original pencil drawings that accompanied some of Blyton’s work. These modern ones are all sharp lines and cartoonish details, and they make the gang seem a little bit younger than I always imagined they were, but that’s probably because old fashioned writing always seems to age people somewhat.

The typography is, I guess, supposed to be appealing to a younger audience too. Cue lots of bold words in a bigger font to stand out with emphasis among the general text. And of course the length is a plus for reluctant readers because there’s no time to get bored or frustrated, but it resembles a ‘proper’ book too, with chapters and whatnot.

Overall, I cannot fault this, and a quick peek at Five and a Half-Term Adventure which is another book in this new series of shorter stories shows it’s equally good and follows the same format. For readers who aren’t yet up to reading a full Famous Five book, these are a nice introduction to the characters and the style of writing, whereas those who know and love them will be thrilled to have some new adventures, however short. It’s a win all round.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying the two books for us to enjoy.

Five on a Treasure Island - Famous Five by Enid Blyton is an original, full length story.

Buy Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton at Amazon.com.


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