The Enid Blyton Society
Five Have Plenty of Fun
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Book Details...

First edition: 1955
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Famous Five
Genre: Mystery/Adventure
Type: Novels/Novelettes

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations


Dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

Endpapers from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper

1st German edition published by Blüchert Verlag, Stuttgart in 1961,
illustrated by Nikolaus Plump with the title Five Friends Pursue the Kidnappers

1st Spanish edition published by Editorial Juventud in 1968,
illustrated by José Correas
Foreign Titles
German: Fünf Freunde jagen die Entführer
French: Enlèvement au Club des Cinq
Dutch: De Vijf als detectives
Spanish: Los Cinco se divierten
Portuguese: Os Cinco e os Raptores
Italian: Una divertente avventura
Swedish: Fem och kidnapparna
Danish: De fem og kidnapperne
Finnish: Viisikko Ja Lapsenryöstäjät
Russian: Taina serebristowo limusina
Slovakian: Slavna Patka nezahala
Icelandic: Fimm í frjálsum leik
Basque: Bostak zoriontsu
Catalan: Els Cinc Es Diverteixen

Brief Summary by Poppy Hutchinson: A mysterious arrival at Kirrin Cottage, in the middle of the night, sparks excitement amongst George and her cousins. Berta is a vulnerable, young American girl, (daughter of a rich man) who is fleeing kidnappers and the Kirrin Household have been personally asked to protect and disguise her. In order to make her unrecognisable, Berta is transformed into a handsome looking young boy called Lesley – and the Five are constantly on the look out for potential kidnappers. Will the disguise be successful, or will Berta be recognised and therefore find herself in grave danger?

Full Review (This may contain spoilers):

Terry Gustafson's Review
In 1947 which was only a couple of years after a devastating war had raged through Europe, Britain's crippled economy called upon new resources and ideas from the land and from the people. At one stage Quentin Kirrin the scientist was locked away in a tower on the island that bears his family name and experimenting for all he was worth ... searching for the key to supply as much power as the world requires without the need for coke, coal, or oil.

In 1955 he is obviously still working on his Gift to Mankind and the latest news is that he's collaborating with two others on the project — one of whom is an American, the father of a young girl named Berta.

Several pages into the story the action begins. Elbur, Quentin's American associate, is all worked up because he's been warned of a kidnap threat to his daughter. Quentin's Georgina could have been the target of course but Berta is chosen because the kidnappers are aware that Elbur knows more about the project than his colleagues. The world of big business can be quite ruthless and kidnappings are one of the varied ways that exist to ensure that the Beans are Spilled so it is thought that if young Berta was to stay a few weeks at Kirrin Cottage it might put the would-be conspirators off the scent long enough for the scientific project to be completed. George (Georgina) can be relied upon to object when an outsider is introduced into the lives of the Famous Five because the new face might belong to a body that can rival hers in some way. The visitor might be stronger, a faster runner, or may even resemble a boy more than she does and that wouldn't be nice at all ... for George!

Berta arrives by motorboat — seasick, sobbing, and with Sally in a basket! George's mum brings her up to the girls' room where a camp-bed has been installed. Sally is left in the basket but it's all right because she's a tiny black poodle. Actually, it's not all right but anyway I'm sure she was taken out and tied up somewhere. George, watching Berta shake out a night-dress as she prepares for bed, defines the girl as a ninny because she should wear pyjamas and furthermore why did she bring a mutt with her? Timmy, George's dog, must be warned to stay away from both of them! George is displaying maybe a little too much of the original make-up with which Enid Blyton endowed her because this is the fourteenth book in the series and the hot-tempered girl was presumably learning a little etiquette from her cousins every time they met up together. On the other hand, her tantrums and conflicts with strangers was an important ingredient of the series as we all know — and we love it!

Next day the nervous and shy Berta meets the rest of the Five. Being American she feels that it would be nice for her dad to buy Kirrin Island and he could also pay a lot of money to the family if they make an effort to ensure that her stay is a happy one. George broods! Berta introduces Sally the poodle-dog who makes a great impression on everyone ... well almost everyone. Julian makes an impact on the little girl with his firm and friendly ways and Quentin entertains everyone with his absent mindedness regarding the new addition to the family.

The Kirrins create a plan of campaign to confront the imminent threat over Berta's fair head. A decision is made that she must be disguised as a boy to help conceal her from any potential kidnappers but this news is greeted with horror by the girl. George greets it with horror as well. The rest are amused. Accompanied with comments and put-downs from You Know Who, Berta is given a boy's name and her lovely hair is cut off. Her new appearance causes much admiration because she really does look like a boy — albeit a fairly angelic one of the type you might see in a church choir and once she has donned the standard shorts and shirt which boys wear she is found to be highly acceptable in her role. She walks around with a cap on her head and it's hinted that she looks more like a boy than George — at least when she's wearing the cap. We shouldn't be too unkind to poor George but Ber ... Leslie (that's her new name) has straight hair and it's already established when we were introduced to Henrietta in another book that boys shouldn't have curls!

Leslie settles in and amuses the others with her Yankee language. Like Sadie in one of the St Clare's books, she says "Twenny," for Twenty and "Wunnerful," for Wonderful but she will probably alter these deficiencies during her stay because the others keep reminding her about correct pronunciation. George's father — Uncle Quentin as we know him, has a little trouble recognizing Leslie because her appearance and name seem to keep changing but anyway he is lost in a world of scientific calculations and rocket science and isn't up to scratch with day-to-day living. The time goes by and the children enjoy themselves swimming, boating, exploring, eating, and partaking of the good-life until harsh reality raises its head. A sudden telephone call from Elbur regarding certain calculations requires George's father and mother to visit him for a few days. The children are left with Joan the cook and shortly after when the kids are lazing on the beach there is a suspicion that someone is on George's island. A person or persons unknown could be watching the Five-plus-one and it is here that Julian points out a flaw in their attempt to pass the young American girl off as a boy who is holidaying with them. That afternoon George's boat is collected from where it has been repaired and the children are able to visit Kirrin Island. George is much more accepting of Leslie now and as for Timmy, he regarded Sally the dog as a friend right from the moment they first met.

In the evening there comes concrete proof that they are under observation. Whilst playing cards George suddenly glimpses a face peeping through the window and consternation reigns. Security is tightened and they all retire to their beds but because of enquiries made by the people intent on abducting Leslie and due to certain changes in routine, George is mistakenly kidnapped when she gets out of her bed to put Sally the dog into Timmy's kennel. The rest of the Five are now in a familiar situation and they rise to the challenge by holding a conference to decide their plan of action. There is a visit from the police, George's parents are notified of the abduction, Elbur receives a ransom note (remember that it was George who was kidnapped), the boys and the dogs search around for clues of which several are found including a short note and it is decided that something definitive needs to be done about Leslie's presence at the cottage.

Surprise of surprises, another character comes on to the stage — an old friend of the Five namely Jo! Yes, Jo, who looks like a boy but doesn't necessarily want to be one and who wears a skirt to prove it. Jo, the loyal, bold, and acrobatic child who was at one time a habitué of the circus and fair environment. This young rascal has been in two previous adventures with the troupe and readers would be right in thinking that she will become extremely useful in this latest intrigue. Jo visits Kirrin Cottage at night and after using the old Rattling a Stone on the Window Trick, Julian peers out into the darkness. Jo, with Dick on her mind (because she likes him very much) makes her presence known then she's up a tree, across some ivy and into the bedroom so fast that Julian is still in the process of waking Dick! There was Jo, sitting at the end of Dick's bed, the familiar cheeky grin on her face! When she is informed of the current situation regarding George her first thought is to rush to where she's imprisoned, break in and get her out. I'll bet she could too! It turns out that she might knows someone who is integral to the plot and who is connected with a fair in Granton about a dozen miles away. She's prepared to borrow Julian's bike and pedal off to the village there and then! Dick had a sudden picture of the valiant little Jo speeding through woods and fields, over hills and through valleys, as straight as a crow flying homewards. Jo packs triple the excitement in a week that the Five experience in a month but only during their normal lives. When in the middle of an adventure or mystery their environment would contain elements that easily surpass the thrills and spills of Jo's village boundaries even with her circus and fair contacts. Julian refuses her permission to take his bike to visit the fairground so late at night and after their exchange of news and views Jo slips over the window-sill and down the tree as easily as a cat and she makes a one-word parting remark which would be so typical of her. Enid Blyton had a real talent for putting just the right words or reactions into some of her characters. The boys go back to bed, and Jo speeds home via the woods and the fields and the hills and the valleys. That's what they imagine until they hear a bicycle bell. The little scamp has taken Dick's bike and is off via the woods and the valleys and the hills to Granton to rattle the window of a man who could be connected with the current situation. Says Julian: "What a girl!"

Jo comes up with a lead or two and this results in a visit to the fair by Dick, Julian and herself. Anne stays home. George is still kidnapped. Berta? She's long gone ... whisked away to a safe house shortly after the Peeping Tom was sighted. Ju and Dick collate all the information received from their fair-ground visit and particularly that which was imparted by a friend of Jo's called Spikey and soon a destination is decided upon for the Grand Finale. The boys are just two of the players in this scenario and there is a lot of excitement in a very appropriate Famous Five setting which contains small elements of other Kirrin books. They are up against dangerous men and after all, the people on the side of Righteousness in this tale are mere children so it could go either way, but I think most of us are quite optimistic in these matters.

When I first read the book round the age of eleven or so I was quite attracted to Berta but my attention was eventually re-directed towards a couple of other EB females! The famous children are growing older and Eileen Soper the artist records their changing physical appearance fairly accurately although more upwards than outwards but then I suppose you couldn't have a fat member of the Famous Five. As far as the title goes it may once again have been a little difficult to be more specific without revealing too much. Five and the Scientist's Daughter? Five and the Kidnappers' Threat? Five at Kirrin Cottage Again? Five Have Plenty of Fun? O.K! These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.