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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

tHe fAmOuS FiVe.......






One of my overwhelming memories of Junior School was Friday afternoons when our teacher would read us a story. This was when I was introduced to the wonder of Enid Blyton’s ‘The Famous Five’!

The first of the ‘The Famous Five’ books, Five on a Treasure Island was published in 1942. Blyton only intended to write about 6 to 8 books in the series but, owing to their high sales and immense commercial success, she went on to write 21 full-length books. By the end of 1953, more than 6 million copies of these books had been printed and sold. Today, more than two million copies of the books are sold each year, making them one of the biggest-selling series for children ever written. Nearly all of the novels have subsequently been adapted for television.


The Famous Five are a group of children who have the sort of adventures most kids dream about, in a world where ginger beer flows and ham rolls are a staple diet. Julian, Dick and Anne get together with their cousin George in the first adventure, Five On A Treasure Island.
George is actually a girl who wants so desperately to be a boy she crops her hair and struts about doing boy things. She hates it when people call her by her correct name, Georgina. She has a dog called Timmy—oh yes, and an island. Most kids just have a dog, but George's parents own Kirrin Island and let her run around on it as if it were her play-thing. Her parents are known to Julian, Dick and Anne as Uncle Quentin and Aunt Fanny.

The Five lived a life I could only dream of. I lived in a deprived inner city where our playground was the ‘croft’ opposite where I lived, where the slums had been demolished, and the only adventure I took part in was when I disobeyed my parents and went down to the canal, which was full of rubbish. Compared to the ‘Five’s’ adventures – messing about on boats, their own island and solving mysteries – my life was very boring. However, for an hour a week I could lose myself in the adventures of the ‘Five’ and pretend they were ‘Six’, with me as their leader.

Did you have a favourite book or series of books when you were growing up?

29 comments:

Dumdad said...

I remember these books with fondness.

Although I read the Five's adventures, my favourite Blyton books were The Secret Seven series.

I guess Enid Blyton was the JK Rowling of her day.

Thom said...

I have never heard of these but it sounds wonderful and yes what a place to live and grow up. Sorta reminds me of Harry Potter :) Aloha

citizen of the world said...

I haven't heard of those. I read a series called "Trixie Belden," about a young amateur detective and her friends in the Bob-White Club. Loved them.

Lu' said...

For me it was Stewart Little. My Mother bought me the book, I still have it. I have to say as an adult I thought the movie adaptation lacked the charm found in the book :(

Gledwood said...

in my days, the trendy 1970s Enid Blytons were famously banned from most schools and, seemingly, public libraries. Which only seemed to work wonders for her sales as the books were printed in the multimillions.

I love the famous five. George ALWAYS goes in a sulk. Timmy, tied up or hidden starts barking and nearly gives the game away. Mousy Ann shows hidden courage. And Julian is bossy and takes charge. And there's ALWAYS a secret passageway and/or hidden room. Excellent stuff!!

Gledwood said...

thom how can you not have heard of enid b? are you american?? she was the jk rowling of her day, though maybe mostly in britain and "empire" realms...

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i read all the nancy drew books...

smiles, bee
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Akelamalu said...

I like the Secret Seven books too Dumdad but the 'Five' hold a special place in my heart. :)

If you like Harry Potter you would love the Famous Five Thom!

I've not heard of 'Trixie Belden' books Citizen but they sound like books I would have liked when I was young. :)

Oh it's so annoying when they make films out of books and they're a let down isn't it Lu? :(

Ah another 'Famous Five' and Enid Blyton fan Gleds! :) They seemed to ban everything in the
70's didn't they? :(

I never read the Nancy Drew books but they were serialised on the TV so I watched them Bee :)

Daryl said...

Julian, Dick, Anne and George = 4 ... who was the 5th, the pup Timmy?

Did you know Nancy Drew's best chum was also George, a girl.

In my day it was all about Trixie Belden who lived in Upstate NY with her 3 brothers and she solved mysteries while being BFFs with a rich girl named Honey ...

And then there were the Boxcar Children ... 4 kids who were orphaned and somehow found their way to an 'island' on which there was a deserted box car that they lived in ...

I was also so envious of these kids who had such great adventures and little parental supervision

Thanks for the shared memory!

buffalodick said...

The Hardy Boys, for me, and Nancy Drew for my sis... By the time I was 12-14 it was Conan the Bararian, and John Carter of Mars..

Akelamalu said...

Yes Timmy was the 5th Daryl. Another Trixie Belden fan eh? I've not heard of the Boxcar Children before. :)


The Hardy Boys not exciting enough for you eh Buff, you progressed to the hardcore stuff? ;)

TopChamp said...

I loved the Famous Five and the Secret Seven! In Treaddur Bay (Holy Island) there's a big grey house on top of a cliff that I SWEAR to you has smuggling tunnels and caves and all that cool stuff underneath it.... or so I imagined as a child.

Thumbelina said...

Oh you have brought some memories back! I was George. No really, I was. In my head.
All my friends seemed to prefer Secret Seven but I was a Famous Five girl through and through. I think I read every book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder. I LOVED the Fam 5 books as a child :-)

Dr.John said...

I didn't read those books as a kid I read the Wizard of Oz books. Baum intended to write only one but it was so popular he was almost forced to write all the others.
I lived something of the life of the five. My relatives had camps on the dead river and we often stayed there with cousins. We walked on logs in the lake, made up stories, and had adventures.

Cloudia said...

Thanks for being a child again with us. TAG! You're IT!!
Aloha

Spiky Zora Jones said...

I was in the 5th grade and found Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary. they were sisters, Ramona Geralodine Quimby is the younger of the two. She wrote The Henry Higgins series along with Ramona series of books.

I saw myself as Beezus, clearly always frustrated with her younger...that was so true.

ciao honey...fabulous post.

Travis said...

I never heard of those books, but they sound wonderful. I remember when I was graduating from just learning to read the words to actually comprehending them, my mom got me The Bobbsey Twins books. I loved those.

Then it was on to Hardy Boys. But I still would read my sister's Trixie Belden books, and even some of her Nancy Drew.

Fun adventures should not be concerned with gender.

david mcmahon said...

I used to immerse myself in the Famous Five as well!

Flowerpot said...

I loved Susanna of the Mounties, Elizabeth Goudge books (all of them), CS Lewis, Joan Aiken - oh so many!!

Julia Smith said...

'In a world where ginger beer flows' - LOL!

The Narnia books were my greatest passion, as well as the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.

I'm having an art show over at my place - drop in if you get a minute.

GEWELS said...

Sounds like I missed out on some great imagined adventures as I've never heard of this series. It was all Nancy Drew for me. Oh, and Black Beauty- over and over and over again!!!!

I would definitely make up my own adventures as a child. And, like Georgie I was the one who HAD to be Peter when we played Peter Pan.
Hi Akela!!!
xoxo

Akelamalu said...

Oh how wonderful to live near a place like that Topchamp - did you have your own little gang of five? :)

Weren't they wonderful Thumbelina? I read them all too! :)

Hello Anonymous another FF fan eh? :)

You lived the FF life for real Dr. John fantastic! :)

I'd like to be a child again for a short time but only to live the good times Cloudia ;)

I've not heard of those Spiky but they sound every bit as good as the FF!


Fun adventures should not be concerned with gender. - you are so right in this Trav - sounds like you were an avid reader!

Ah another FF fan David. I've a mind to read them all over again! :0

Ah Flowerpot you were another avid reader :)


I've never read the Laura Ingles books but 'Little House On The Prairie' was one of my favourite TV programmes!


Black Beauty was another of my favourites too Gewels :) You had to be Peter Pan? Does that me you used to swing from the light fitting pretending to fly? LOL

CG said...

I used to get a new EB book every Saturday morning from my Gran. I would lie in bed with a mug of minestrone soup and read; I was in HEAVEN. It was great when my own daughter read them too; I was glad I'd saved them. The "Adventure" series were my favourites...

Melli said...

I read a series of books when I was reallllly small -- maybe 7 or 8 - called the Honeybunch series. She was always into adventures too.... and I imagined myself with her!

MarmiteToasty said...

I found these old books when my lads were younger, and still have them on the bookcase where I read them to the minded kids.......

Jebus they sound so outdated now, if I think of them through the ears of the kids in my care, no wonder they blank stare at me lol

x

MarmiteToasty said...

I will add, I found them, but use to read them from the school library myself as a child...

x

Akelamalu said...

How lucky were you CG? I never owned a book until I went to senior school! I made sure my boys had books as soon as they were born though. :)

Ah, isn't imagination wonderful Melli we can be anyone we want to be. :)

I suppose they would sound old hat now Marmie, but oh boy did they sound good when we were young eh? :)

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