Book Club Children

Five at seventy-five

In May 1942, the Famous Five made their appearance. Seventy five years since their first adventure, they are still popular.

By May 1942, Germany and its satellite states and western occupied territories adopted regulations stating that all Jews must wear badges that identified them as Jews. Japanese troops occupied Mandalay, Burma. And, German Luftwaffe bombed Exeter, in Britain, once again, destroying its town centre.

Most commodities had become scarce — from petrol to bacon, butter, sugar, meat, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, milk, canned and dried fruit.

Into this bleak world of killing and scarcity entered five kids who went hunting for treasures, packed baskets full of good food for picnics and were on holiday all the time. The books provided an escape leaving behind their drab, hungry lives. Welcome to the world of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five.

Blyton’s first book, Five On A Treasure Island hit the stands in May, 1942. From the beginning it was a success. She planned six stories for the Famous Five but went on to write 21.

This year, Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hodder Children’s Books teamed up with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to mark the 75th anniversary of Five On A Treasure Island. As readers have learned a lot about flowers, plants and gardens through her books, the activity planned to commemorate the anniversary was “Five Go On A Garden Adventure” with the accent on the values of the fivesome —friendship, heroism, adventure, outdoors and daring. The activities planned included themed adventure trails, garden displays, craft workshops and obviously a fair old smattering of story-telling to coincide with Blyton’s 120th birth anniversary on August 11.

The first 10 in the Famous Five series:

Five on a Treasure Island: Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy hunt for the treasure in the shipwreck off Kirrin Island.

Five Go Adventuring Again: There’s a thief in Kirrin Cottage and the Five are on his trial.

Five Run Away Together: There’s someone staying on Kirrin Island. Could it be smugglers?

Five Go To Smuggler’s Top: The Five go to Smuggler’s Top and find an adventure waiting for them.

Five Go Off in a Caravan: The Five stumble upon a circus troupe. They discover that some of the circus people are dangerous.

Five on Kirrin Island Again: Uncle Quentin is upto something mysterious in Kirrin Island. What can it be?

Five Go Off To Camp: An unusual underground tunnel system and a train system. Where could this train be going?

Five Get Into Trouble: Dick has been kidnapped!

Five Fall Into An Adventure: George and Timmy have disappeared.

Five On A Hike Together: Flashing lights, ringing bells and someone calling out to Dick! What could it all mean?

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 12:48:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/five-at-seventy-five/article19682767.ece

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