Reading is a fundamental part of a child’s development and one of the greatest exponents of getting children to read was Enid Blyton, who wrote over 600 books in her time and has sold an estimated 600 million copies of her books, quite amazing.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the publication of the very first Famous Five title, Five on Treasure Island, published in 1942. This was the first of what was to become arguably, Enid Blyton’s most famous and popular creation. The series ran to 21 novels and a collection of short stories, published between 1942 and 1963.
We think that the enduring appeal of the books, which has been handed down by generations of families, is helped by the artwork which has now become iconic and synonymous with the books. The artist was Eileen Soper, who as well as being an illustrator, was also a well- respected naturalist.
The books themselves are adventure and mystery which will always appeal to children of any age and is one of the reasons why her stories have endured and also the fact that they are well written, they engage the reader throughout which is a real skill.
Setting out with their maps, torches, sandwiches and a plentiful supply of ginger-beer, what else! Julian, Dick, Anne, their tomboy cousin George (Georgina by rights) and not forgetting Timmy the dog, they like nothing better than to spend their holiday’s hiking and biking, camping and exploring by themselves and having lots of adventures. Whether they’re outwitting thieves, smugglers or kidnappers, seeking hidden treasure or encountering spooky trains, having adventures featuring castles, caves, boats and secret passages, the Five’s courage and determination always wins through!
While seeming to be quintessentially British, the books have worldwide appeal and sell amazingly well throughout the world and one of the biggest international audiences is in Germany!
Let’s raise a glass of ginger-beer to celebrate the anniversary and look forward to celebrating the centenary in 2042 when we’re sure the books will be as popular as ever!