The Five of Us by Quentin Blake

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The Five of Us by Quentin Blake

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A lovely story, written AND illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, about teamwork, friendship and making the most of what you can do rather than worrying about what you can't do.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Tate Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849763042

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Five friends set off on an outing, complete with yellow bus and sandwiches. There was Angie who could see a sparrow from five miles away. Ollie could hear it sneeze. Simona and Mario were so strong that they could lift anything. They were all amazing. Then there was Eric, but Eric wasn't quite certain if he excelled at anything. Big Eddie was driving the bus and after they had eaten their sandwiches Big Eddie suddenly took a funny turn. What were The Five to do? Well, they set off with Simona and Mario carrying Eddie (and, by gosh, he is big) but suddenly they came to the banks of a big river - and this was when Eric discovered exactly why he is amazing.

No, I'm not going to tell you what it is - you'll have to read the book for yourself! But what is brilliant about it is that there's a subtle and non-preachy message that it is better to concentrate on what you can do, rather than worrying about what you can't do. And it isn't quite so straightforward as Eric worrying about not being able to see a sheepdog five miles away or hear him bark even when he was held out of the top of the bus to give him a better chance. You see, not all of the five are white - with pink cheeks, blond hair and a family history dating back to William the Conqueror. Plus - one of the Five wears glasses (I prefer to think of him as 'differently sighted') and Mario is in a wheelchair. This isn't a part of the story - it's simply a small part of who these wonderful kids are.

It's a lovely story but the brilliant part is that as well as writing the story Quentin Blake has also illustrated it - and it's gorgeous. At first sight they appear minimalist - but look more carefully and you'll find all sorts of little extras and there's the glorious contrast between the city (all busy and bustling) as the bus leaves and the peace and tranquility of the countryside. The colour palette is muted and very, very pleasing. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

It's a real pleasure to see Quentin Blake narrating a children's story as well as doing the illustrations. We enjoyed The Story of the Dancing Frog.

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Buy The Five of Us by Quentin Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Five of Us by Quentin Blake at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Five of Us by Quentin Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Five of Us by Quentin Blake at


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