The Fa­mous Five turn 75!

As this year marks the 75th an­niver­sary of the Enid Bly­ton clas­sic, here are five rea­sons we loved read­ing about Ju­lian, Dick, Anne, Ge­orge and Timmy the dog!

YOURS (UK) - - News - By Katharine Woot­ton

It’s al­ways the school hol­i­days. Hav­ing usu­ally spent the day count­ing down the min­utes un­til the school bell rang, The Fa­mous Five in­vited us in to their hal­cyon world where it was seem­ingly al­ways the school hol­i­days – and yet no one ever got bored! In­stead of geom­e­try lessons and home eco­nom­ics, Five got to spend their days out­wit­ting thieves or hunt­ing clues for a trea­sure chest as they did in the very first book, Five on a Trea­sure Is­land, pub­lished 75 years ago this year. Even bet­ter, there were never any adults around to tell them off as their par­ents would help­fully dis­ap­pear for days on end. Try as we might, our own par­ents never quite heeded our pleas for them to do the same...

The pic­nics!

Did any­one else no­tice that when­ever The Fa­mous Five weren’t crime-fight­ing or do­good­ing, they were AL­WAYS eat­ing? Their typ­i­cal ham­per fare in­cluded ra­tioning-era sta­ples like cold ham, salad, ba­con and eggs as well as mouth-wa­ter­ing good­ies such as “ginger cake made with black trea­cle… dark brown and sticky to eat.” And that’s not men­tion­ing the blood-sugar soar­ing gal­lons of homemade lemon­ade and lash­ings of ginger beer they guz­zled.

They were our friends

Over The Fa­mous Five se­ries, we all felt like we came to know the char­ac­ters as our friends. We all knew of – or were our­selves – a tomboy like Ge­orge with a flam­ing tem­per, earth-stop­ping sulks and an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for ad­ven­ture. Dick, mean­while, was the de­pend­able, coura­geous and cheeky boy we all recog­nised, and pos­si­bly once had a crush on, from our class. And while Anne could get on our wick with her cry­ing and Ju­lian was far too pompous for his own good, we did grow to love them like own our pri­vate gang of play­mates. Best of all, though, was Timmy the ex­citable, heroic dog thou­sands of house­hold mutts around the coun­try were made to feel dis­ap­point­ingly in­ad­e­quate in com­par­i­son to. We also loved some of the reg­u­lar guest char­ac­ters in­clud­ing Jo the gypsy girl, Ge­orge’s sci­en­tist father Un­cle Quentin and Sooty Lenoir.

The chil­dren win

Armed with noth­ing more so­phis­ti­cated than maps, torches and lots and lots of sand­wiches, Five would al­ways win the day over the bad­dies, re­al­is­ing our young dream that chil­dren would one day come out on top. Enid Bly­ton trained as a teacher be­fore tak­ing up writ­ing and al­ways made sure Five never re­sorted to de­ceit­ful tac­tics, win­ning fair and square with good old­fash­ioned courage, hon­esty and man­ners.

We just couldn’t put them down

Enid Bly­ton only planned six Fa­mous Five books but ac­tu­ally wrote 21. Hav­ing cut her teeth writ­ing magazine se­ri­als, she knew all too well how to keep us gripped, leav­ing the end of every chap­ter on a teas­ing cliffhanger. It’s no won­der the orig­i­nal books have never been out of print.

Fa­mous Five ad­ven­tures were a mus­tread across the gen­er­a­tions

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