Generations of children have grown up in the company of the Famous Five - one of the best-selling children’s book series of all time. The Five’s adventures, solving mysteries with the help of lashings of ginger bear, have enthralled youngsters since the 1940s and continue to be reinvented with new illustrations and numerous TV and film adaptations.
Enid Blyton’s first Famous Five book Five Go to Treasure Island was published in 1942; the series quickly became a smash hit and she would go on to write twenty more between 1942 and 1963. More than two million copies of the books are still sold every year and the series was even voted British adults’ favourite childhood books of all time in 2010.
The five adventure-seekers – siblings Julian, Dick and Anne, their tomboy cousin George along with her mongrel dog Timmy - spend their summer holidays together camping, hiking, swimming and picnicking. Somehow though, wherever they are, every holiday seems to produce a mystery to solve and a wild adventure to be had. Thanks to their courage, determination and loyalty, the band of friends find themselves outsmarting thieves and smugglers, finding hidden treasure, navigating dark caves and secret passages and cracking crimes.
Parents love these books for their old-fashioned charm but for children the key is the thrilling stories, the secrets that are uncovered and the sense of adventure. Boys and girls aged 7-10 will be totally absorbed by the Five’s daring exploits and will love trying to solve the mysteries themselves. The books are well suited to independent readers although they can also be read aloud. You can start anywhere so why not try the first book Five Go to Treasure Island where the children find a shipwreck off Kirrin Island or the ever popular Five Go to Smuggler’s Top where the children discover underground tunnels and secret signalling out to sea.