Today, I have Shalini Baisiwala of Shalzmojo writing a guest post about her favourite book series from her childhood days. We all are familiar with the name, Enid Blyton, and her Famous Five series, Secret Seven series, Magic Faraway Tree series, and Malory Towers series but do we know about the Five Find-Outers and a Dog series? At least I didn’t know about it until Shalini mentioned it to me. And. going by her description, it does appear to be a fine discovery for the book lovers in us, Dhruv and I.
Now, over to Shalini about her favourite Enid Blyton book series.
Growing up my biggest reading influence was author Enid Blyton. I just loved her tales filled with delightful notions of the high tea party, toys that came alive at dark and had a life of their own, fairy folk living in enchanted trees, and not to be missed are her series of boarding school life. In fact, reading the latter ones, made me pester my mom to send me to boarding too. Alas, she never did.
I don’t think there is hardly a series of hers that I left unexplored. My favourite one out of her detective tales has got to be the Five Find-Outers & a dog. This series is overshadowed hugely by the more popular Famous Five and Secret Seven, but it’s got a special spot for me.
Five Find-Outers and a dog is motley crew made up of five children and one dog. While searching for a name, they initially struggled but then settled on being called find-outers or people who find things. Their goal with this club was to help people solve mysteries of disappeared things, people, etc.
The first of the series was published in 1943 and is set in a typical English village with rustic settings. The village constable or Bobby as he is popularly known as is Mr. Goon – a very irritable and short tempered person who is not very fond of children. He loves to shout “clear-orf” to the children and this, in turn, earns him a dreaded nickname. His other favourite word to use is “Gah”.
This fictitious village is called Peterswood where the five children reside and happen to meet during their Easter vacations. The four older children study in boarding schools while the youngest one goes to day school. Over subsequent school holidays, they investigate and successfully solve a number of crimes.
Lawrence “Larry” Daykin (13) and Margaret “Daisy” Daykin (12) are siblings. Larry is the eldest of the lot and heads the crew while it was Daisy’s idea to form the club. Daisy is the creative one with plans and ideas.
Philip “Pip” Hilton (12) and Elizabeth “Bets” Hilton (8) are the other pair of siblings with extremely strict parents. Pip teases his younger sister to death, reducing her to tears at times. Bets hates the fact that they all go to boarding school, leaving her all alone for most of the year.
Frederick Algernon “Fatty” Trotville (12) is an only child of rich parents and often lonely with only his pet to keep him company. He can be very boastful and arrogant, rubbing up against people the wrong way but is actually a very generous friend. He is also well versed in the art of disguises, knows a bit of ventriloquism and is generally self-taught about most such skills.
Finally Buster, the Scottish terrier that belongs to Fatty forms the dog end of the crew.
When they initially meet, Larry and Pip don’t like Fatty one bit and in fact are the ones who put together his initials to form his pet name. Fatty hated the name as he is quite overweight and conscious of it. But the name sticks.
During the course of a few novels, Larry hands over the reins to Fatty as he acknowledges his skills are superior. Bets is extremely fond of Fatty and literally worships him as he is the only one who is very kind and patient with her. It is generally her innocent questions which lead Fatty to solve the case.
Mr. Goon is never pleased to see the children solving crimes as they are stealing his thunder. But the Sub-inspector Mr. Jenks becomes fond of the children and is even promoted in later novels.
What I really love about this series is how real the children are made out to be. This is the reason why this series stands far above the popular ones.
They each have their fears and insecurities and then rise above them. Their squabbles are also very realistic. Fatty’s disguises are not over the top and he pulls it off with great flair. I adored his uber supportive and indulgent mom. Plus all of their tales were utterly believable.
I think I must have each and every copy of this series, very lovingly in tatters now owing to the fact that it was a hot favourite of mine to read over and over again.
Have you read this series? Which is your favourite one from Enid Blyton? I will leave you with one of my other favourite childhood books – Heidi
An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.
This post is part of the December blog hop #mymojo with Shalzmojo
As a part of a month-long Guest Post Blog Hop, Shalini is hosting on her blog in the month of December, I have written a book review of a book set in the Second World War era. The book is ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ which is quite a favourite of many, including mine. This book review is special for me since this is my first ever attempt to write a review of a book which is not a children’s book. You can read my book review guest post by clicking here. I would love to know your thoughts about it.