The Throwback Tuesday weekly post is a opportunity for me to revisit the good, cheesy, forgotten or essential parts of music, film, tv and books from my childhood, the past few years or the generations/eras/works of art that have influenced my life in some way.
This week’s throwback post is a throwback to my youth and a series of books that I absolutely adored and read over and over as a child. Those books were The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton and every single book in the series is one I’ve read and loved featuring stories that I still hold dear even to this day.
The books centre around four children – Julian, Dick, Anne and George and their dog, Timmy and each novel featured a different adventure. Every single story takes place in the children’s school holidays and is always set somewhere rural such as Kirrin Island [an island George’s family owns], George’s home, other big houses that feature secret tunnels and passageways or sometimes they are simply set in a field when they are camping or when they go on a hike. The children always end up in plenty of trouble and are a little bit like a young version of Scooby Doo and his gang in many ways, except the stories are a lot more quintessentially English with beautiful countrysides, lashings of ginger beer and plenty of picnics.
Written in the 1940’s and 50’s, the first book ‘Five on a Treasure Island’ was published all the way back in 1942. Blyton only intended to publish around 8 books but after such success she went on to write 21 novels in the series. The books are one of the most popular book series for children to ever have been published, having been adapted for TV and having sold over 100 millions books over the past 70 years.
The reason I loved the books so much was mostly the adventures which were perfect for my imagination as such a young age. I could easily imagine everything that happened and every scene that was set. The characters were so richly written that I felt I knew them all so well and I think I sympathised the most with Anne for her motherly instincts but also her vulnerability and also George because she was a tomboy which I most certainly was too at that age. The description is fantastic and every story, though based on a similar adventure premise where the children would always inevitably get into trouble, was interesting and gripping. I’d always been a huge reader but these books changed everything for me and even today I’d say adventure novels are one of my favourite genres.
I know these books are predominantly aimed at children but if you’ve never read them before I urge you to give one of the books a read. They are short novels and I’m sure you will enjoy the story and lose yourself in the adventures of those four children and their dog.
My favourite novels in the series are: Five on a Treasure Island, Five go to Smugglers Top, Five go to Mystery Moor and Five go to Demon’s Rocks.