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Clifftoppers: The Thorn Island Adventure – Fleur Hitchcock

A great adventure in the classic tradition of Blyton and the Famous Five. I didn’t notice any mention of ‘lashings of ginger beer’, but that was more than made up for with mysterious goings-on, villains, seaside escapes, ice cream and scones aplenty in this relatively short but gripping and dramatic tale of a gang of cousins thwarting a kidnap plot on their summer stay at their grandparents. Lots of possible discussions around problem-solving, friendship, making choices and bravery, along with using individual strengths as part of a team to achieve success.

Task ideas:

· Map Thorne Island and label locations from the story.

· Keep a detective’s notebook, noting people and places seen to try and solve the mystery/find evidence as you read.

· Compare to Blyton’s original Famous Five (we watched the black and white TV show and made notes about similar themes/plot points, etc.).

· List typical genre features – characters and plot devices, locations, etc.

· Write a missing chapter/extra chapter to give more clues/build suspense (use of ‘show not tell’ and red herrings could be discussed).

· Create a glossary of sailing terminology.

· Possible text links: MG Leonard’s brilliant ‘The Highland Falcon Thief’ and the ‘Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens

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