Summary: When Dick is woken by a light flashing through his window, he is puzzled. Is someone trying to send him a coded message? And when the Famous Five hear of an escaped convict in the area, they are on red alert. The police won’t help, so the Five have no choice. Yet again, they’ll be solving this mystery by themselves… [Wing: Does anyone else ever solve a mystery? Ever?] [Dove: Adults are useless. Where have you been?]
At last I have returned from the war! The war known as life. I’m certain the dear Famous Five have changed not one whit and will be as precocious and fun and sometimes assholey as ever I’m looking at you Julian.
(I love how the cover shows them actually on a raft and not hiking at all.)
Onward to adventure. And probably some hatred of Julian.
[Dove: I figured this would be helpful: For reference, the kids’ ages should be roughly: Anne: 14; George and Dick 15; Julian 16. I have a spreadsheet that figures out their ages, because I’m pretty sure Blyton couldn’t be bothered.]
Title: Amelia Rules! #4 – Amelia McBride and the Other Side of Yuletide, a.k.a. “What the hell is Ninja Kwanzaa?”
Writer and Artist: Jimmy Gownley
Editor: Michael Cohen
Marketer: Karen Gownley
My first Christmas review for Nostalgic Bookshelf, and I swear to bring as much enthusiasm to this month’s reviews as I have for Point Horror. To that end, I wanted to start off with a special one-off comic review with a series I admittedly don’t have as much history with.
“Amelia Rules!” is a YA comic series written and drawn by Jimmy Gownley. It’s about Amelia McBride, a young girl adjusting to life after her mom and dad split up. Amelia has to move from NYC to Connerton, Pennsylvania, where she and her mom are now living with her cool Aunt Tanner. She gains new friends in the form of the bombastic Reggie, the stubborn Rhonda, and the amazing yet silent Pajamaman. Together, the four become G.A.S.P. (Gathering of Awesome Super Pals), and get into all sorts of hi-jinks as Amelia navigates life.
This particular comic is the fourth issue in the series, and as you can guess it’s a Christmas story. In it, Amelia and her friends find themselves wondering if there really is a Santa Claus, and the answer is different from what you’d expect. I had this in mind remembering Wing’s thoughts on Santa Claus from last year’s reviews on PH. Naturally I’m curious to see how she feels about this particular story.
How I acquired this comic is a rather bizarre, disturbing tale. In the spring of 2015, a woman came to my comic shop hoping to sell a massive collection she inherited from her dead uncle. He owned Disney and cartoon comics ranging from the Golden Age to the early 1990s. Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Disney, Sleeping Beauty, Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain. The books showcased the transition from Dell Comics to Gold Key to Whitman. He even had some picture books and old Disney Adventure digest magazines.
However, there was a LOT more.
To this day, no one has brought in the amount of furry comics and porn comics as that woman did. Omaha the Cat Dancer, Battle Vixens, Four-Footed Furries, Albedo, it was baffling. I don’t even want to remember the fairy porn issues. The man practically bought every badly done 90s manga rip off comic out there (Ninja High School, Gold Digger, etc.). And guess what? I had to go through everything. EVERYTHING. Because we needed to figure out what the conditions of the books were in so we could sell them online. I had to make sure to leaf through every single comic the man owned, checking to see if pages were falling out, if they were missing coupons, or if they had writing on them. A lot of the porn comics had pages torn out of them… and so did some of the kid comics.
I did NOT enjoy this task at all. I’m not trying to bash furries, but I am very much not fond of anything NSFW related and I don’t want to think about why so many pages were missing. Not to mention a lot of the comics were incredibly dirty and grimy. I’m just glad the pages weren’t sticky.
So anyway, that’s another chapter out of my twisted life story. Onto the recap.
Title: Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton
Summary: Spook trains in the dead of night! And they seem to vanish into thin air – but where do they go? The Famous Five are on to it! But discovery of an unusual underground tunnel system, and a secret train-service, has them puzzled. If they follow the tracks, will they solve the mystery?
Spook trains, secret, underground tunnels, and a mystery? Sounds like a typical Blyton holiday. And also like an A++ story for me to recap. Halloween season starts 1 September and so we are well into it. SPOOK TRAINS AND GO.
[Dove: I always wished that we could have a supernatural Famous Five – like the way Sweet Valley would leap off into the supernatural and then do an Etch-A-Sketch reset.]
Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters, Sweet Valley Middle School’s cheering squad. No way, the girls say! A boy as a cheerleader? So what if Winston happens to be a terrific gymnast? So what if he makes up fantastic cheers? Jessica Wakefield and the other Boosters vow they’ll do anything to keep Winston off the squad.
At first Winston endures the girls’ nasty pranks, Charlie Cashman’s bullying, and his classmates’ giggles. But something happens to make Winston give up for good!
When the state cheering competition arrives, the Boosters are surprised to see that almost every other squad has a boy as a member. Without Winston, they’re sure to lose! Is there any way the Boosters can get Winston back?
Tagline: Winston Egbert wants to join the Boosters! [Wing: We get it, book. WE GET IT.]
Oh, good, I bet this book is filled with gender essentialism. Y’all know how much I love that. BOYS? In CHEERLEADING? Heaven forbid.
Title: Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton
Summary: The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?
This will be my second Blyton ever, and I only read the first last month. I know she’s an author deeply embedded in British childhood (if not other places, too), but here in the USA, I didn’t hear about her except sometimes in other books that referenced Blyton’s work as a part of the characters’ childhoods.
I really enjoyed the last book I read (Secret Island), and I hope to like this one just as much. I love stories about characters on islands, I love stories about characters searching for treasure, I loved Treasure Island when I was a kid — surely nothing can go wrong now.
Onwards to adventure!
[Dove: I really loved this series back in the day. And sure, I obviously reached a point in life where I found it a bit too earnest, but most Brits will fondly recall reading Blyton. And I honestly can’t wait to see what Wing thinks of it. Because on the one hand, it’s so joyful (and the endless food – lettuce for everyone!) and on the other… it was written by a comfortably wealthy white woman on the back end of two world wars, so there’s a bit of distrust for anyone who is not a white Brit. Also, I fear Wing’s reaction to the gender roles – George and Anne in particular, so… here goes.]
Summary: When Kristy Thomas has the great idea to form a baby-sitters club–a chance to earn money and spend time with her friends, all while doing something they each love to do–she has no idea how much the club will change everything.
Crank calls, uncontrollable toddlers, wild pets, untruthful clients . . . running a business is hard work! Kristy and her co-founders, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, are sure they can handle anything. But only if they stick together . . .
Tagline: Four friends and baby-sitting–what could be more fun?
Well, here we are, kicking off 2018 and Nostalgic Bookshelf with my favorite cheesy contemporary preteen series, The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. Unlike the Sweet Valley books, I read these obsessively, and still sometimes reread them as an adult. I was a baby-sitter from a young age, and I loved the focus on friends and having adventures together. I’m excited to revisit them now, with a recapper’s eye.
My favourite baby-sitters before recapping: Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Abby, Jessi, and Shannon.
Least favourite: Kristy, Mary Anne, and Logan.
Say hello to your friends, everyone. We’re in this for the long haul.
[Dove: And I have never read any of these before, so this is Wing’s payback for Sweet Valley. And I’m cool with that.]