Five On a Treasure Island
Review by Keith Robinson (June 15, 2005)
Ah, the Famous Five! In this first book, we open with Julian, Dick and Anne at home with their parents, chatting around the breakfast table. Julian asks his mother if they're going to Polseath as usual for the summer holidays—but to the childrens' surprise their parents have decided they want to go away on their own to Scotland. The children must go to stay with their Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin, down by the sea at Kirrin Bay. They have a daughter by the name of Georgina, who is very lonely and could do with the company of a few cousins. And so plans are made, and they all pile into the car and set off. We're introduced to Uncle Quentin, a clever scientist who spends all his time studying. He's a fierce-looking, short-tempered man who tries to be nice but can't help getting irritable at the slightest thing. We learn that he carries a heavy burden because his work, though important, just doesn't bring in enough money to ensure financial security for his family. The extent of this burden is unclear, but at this stage in the series there's no sign of a hired cook, which means they must be poor! Aunt Fanny makes all their picnics in this book, and she's a sweet woman who the children adore from the outset. And then there's Georgina, who looks and acts like a boy and won't answer to her proper name. They must call her George, she tells her cousins, or else she'll ignore them. She makes a big deal about how boys are better and stronger at everything, and that she's a stronger swimmer than most boys and can row a boat like any boy can, and so on...and so therefore she wants to be treated as a boy and not a sissy girl like Anne, who still plays with dolls. There's a lot of tension at first; George has always been alone and believes she has no use for silly cousins. She hasn't decided whether or not she wants to be friends with them, she says. Julian, tall and bossy from the start, insists that he, Dick...
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