Five Go to Mystery Moor by Enid Blyton (Hodder & Stoughton, 1953); audiobook read by Jan Francis (Bolinda, 2021) The children’s classist (pitched as precocious) assumption of superiority remains off-putting, but the supporting characters are memorably drawn and the set-up pays off in a sudden breathless rush, transforming the meander into a boys’ own (and girls-as-boys’ own!) adventure with real…
The Famous 5 and the Golden Galleon by Serge Rosenzweig & Bernard Dufossé (Hodder and Stoughton, 1983) A dirty drawing style in which Julian and Anne look rather too similar, as do Dick and George, and all four children have been modelled on Mick Jagger. The adventure is a typical Famous Five romp, only with frequent bouts of fisticuffs.
The Famous Five: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know by Normal Wright; ill. Eileen Soper (Hodder, 2000) An odd, rather pointless reference book, bolstered by colour illustrations and snippets of information about Enid Blyton’s life and inspirations, yet mainly just a plodding recapitulation of Famous Five characters, plot lines and themes—which readers would already know from the novels.
The Famous Five: Five Run Away Together dir. James Gatward; adapted by Gail Renard (ITV, 1979) The character interactions are stilted and the story is heavily abridged. However, this is the one episode of the 1970s Famous Five adaptation worth sitting through—for Patrick Troughton’s comparative masterclass as the understated yet commanding, henpecked yet still villainous Mr Stick.