Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Musings - Enid Blyton's The Famous Five!

Enid Blyton was a big part of my life, growing up. From the blue dragon series and Noddy's antics through Secret Seven and Famous Five adventures to the Find Outers. And who can forget the school series! I so wanted to go to a school like Malory Towers or St. Clare's! They always had so much fun (midnight parties!) and the teachers were so adorable (remember Mam'zelle?)!

I'd read all of the Famous Five adventures, save one. "Five go to Mystery Moor" was always elusive to me. The library near my house did not have it, nor did my school (whose "library" was a joke), nor the book stores in my town. While browsing through books for Little M recently, I came across that book and decided to buy it. So, I read a Famous Five book after 20 odd years and it was still so much fun!

The Famous Five went on picnics in almost every adventure and the food always sounded very exciting! Slabs of cake, thick slices of bread with tons of butter, tomato sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, tinned sardines, scones, lemonades and ginger beers - the food was always described with such relish, one could not help but slurp while reading! The rolling moors, the gorgeous lakes, secret passages and tunnels - England never sounded better. And George's parents owning an island - how lovely was that! And they went on adventures that kids would love to be a part of. Dick was my favorite of the lot. Julian was the responsible one, George had a serious attitude problem, Anne was sweet but mousy. Dick was dependable and good humored and such fun! And how adorable was Timmy, the dog! Did you have a favorite?

Enid Blyton's books certainly set my imagination on fire, as a kid. I know Little M and baby S will enjoy them just as much as I did.


Jayashree said...

I identify with every single sentence that you've written. I loved Malory towers and St Clares. George was my favourite. I also loved the Five find-outers.

Smitha said...

I loved Enid Blyton growing up (read and loved all the ones you mentioned + the Secret Seven and Five Find Outers) and Dick was my favorite of the Famous Five too!

BongMom said...

I loved Enid Blyton...yehhh and the title promptly brought me here :D

BTW I heard that there was a later series about when they grow up and george marries a mechanic who is Indian or something. Will get you the link if I find it.

Kannada Cuisine said...

Enid Blyton..Ah! it reminds me so much of childhood.. She has a special place in my heart because of all the food in her books...Incidentally she was describing all these yummy food at a time when food was scarce due to the world wars and rationing was in effect.. So most of the children were enjoying thinking about all the food than eating it :(

Varsha Vipins said...

So true Vani..I was and am still a hard core fan.Surprisingly the first book I read of the series was the mystery moor.:)..n yea the food was always a major cause of drool and slurp..Those books and the enthu with which I used to finish all of them still evokes so much nostalgia..Have you read his The faraway tree?That was one of the first books of him that I read..Get that for lil M..:)
n also..they have the famous five series in youtube,incase you didnt know..They are pretty old and the kids look exactly like in book..:)

sra said...

Yeah, I re-read one recently and had so much fun with it.

This is a nice link: http://niranjana.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/an-antique-treasure-by-enid-blyton/

Anonymous said...


Just dropped in - first time. The Enid Blyton post captivated me.
Have you read her Secret Island series and Galliano's circus.
Ayyo, those were the days, so innocent and exciting.
The present day kids miss all this paavams.

cheers, Mona

Paaka Shaale said...

This is an awesome post!!! I think anyone who has read Enid blyton will relate to this. My favourite enid blyton book is "come to the circus" The book was so wonderful that I had read this a dozen times. Do try the book sometime

sunila said...

Hey hey hey :0)))
thats for the post being on one of my favourite childhood authors....I read all the ones u wrote of V and giving serious thought to re-reading at least one :0).Read the Faraway tree, Galliano,s circus ,famours fives, five fidouters, Malory towers etc and ditto ditto to what u have written abt all the slurrrrrrrrrrp-alicious food in there...
also Hardy boys and Nancy drews fired up my young imagination then and I was all set to start a detective agency with 3 other comrades in arms all aged 8 and below while I was all of 10 :0))).ur post made me happy V..I will definitely get G to savour these books..and more..

Vani said...

Jay - Loved the Five Fnd Outers too. Fatty was such fun!

Smitha - Such a blessing that we could enjoy those books.

San - oh, do send the link when you find it. Cannot imagine George getting married!

Smitha - I read about that too. Paapa, alva?

VV - Yeah, she had a lovely way of making simple things sound exotic for kids. I mean, who else can make hard boiled eggs sound divine?! I should check YouTube for the blue dragon series for M. Good tip there, thanks :)

Sra - thanks for the link. nice article. I don't think it's fair to review children's books from an adult's point of view. When young, it never occured to me that many themes were repetitive and plots too simplistic or even gaps in the storyline. I just enjoyed them for what they were. My hubby loved a Hindi movie as a child and when we watched it again a few years ago, he could not think why he would like that movie so much as a kid! I was glad to find that I actually enjoyed reading the book even now.

Mona- thanks for reminding me of those books. I'd forgotten all about the secret series. And the circus stories - made me want to join a circus!

PS - don't know if I've read that. Most probably have. Will check. thanks :)

Vani said...

Suni - I guess you were leaving a comment while I was writing mine! :) Oh yeah, Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew - thanks to them, I knew the word "sleuth"! And you wanted to start a detective agency at 10 - how cute!! That's what is so great about books - they fire up kids' imaginations. A cartoon show can never take kids that far. I'd rather M reads books than watch TV, though I must confess, our TV plays babysitter more often than I like :(

indosungod said...

Happy New Year! Vani.
Oh those were the days. I had nearly the whole series of Famous Five and my cousin borrowed it and that was the last I saw of them.

I wish I had gotten the books back, DDs would have loved it.

Anonymous said...

you want to study...remember the girl who came to school on horse back in Mallory towers!! Oh, how I wanted to learn to ride a horse and play lacrosse. I see kids play lacrosse in schools today and it was exactly how I had imagined when I was 8 yrs old. Blyton was so descriptive that a young child can visualize everything in their minds.What a talent!

Gulmohar said...

This reminds me that I should get them for my daughter :-) Happy New Year !

Vani said...

ISG - thanks and wishing you a happy new year too! Oh, don't you hate that when it happens? Especially collectins like that!

Anon - I had forgotten about that girl who arrived on a horseback! She came from a circus or something like that, right? See how strong an impression her books have left if we can remember them years later and fondly too. Thanks for the comment :)

Gulmohar- good idea. I'm gonna do that for my kids too :)

Vani said...

Thanks for the NY wishes, Gulmohar. Wishing you and Collaborative Curry a very happy New Year too!

Jaya said...

Wish you a very happy new year..and well that series was something that I will always remember..last year Got Noddy series for my daughter and we both used to read it together(that was more fun ) and now she reads it all by herself...childhood memories yeah :-).hugs and smiles

Sharmila said...

Ah Vani ... you took me back to my childhood. Loved the Naughtiest Girl series too ... and the Circus series.
Wanted to be like Lotta and join the circus. :-)
These days we don't get the hardbound ones like old days. And the illustrations have changed too. :-(

Liby Mary said...

Hi Vani..

I'm new to your blog, and I just happened on your post about Enid Blyton!
I had a phase too, when I was maybe 10 or 11 years old when I was smitten by all all tales.. The entire Famous Five & Secret Seven series.. But my faves were the Malory Towers and St. Claires series..
Thanks to E. Blyton, although homesick at first, my days as a hostelite or boarder for over 10 years at various schools and colleges were always bereft with hope and promise of fun, which it always was.. Blyton shaped my outlook of boarding life, and therefore I was always open to the wonderful experiences and adventures it brought, without languishing too much on being away from home..
I hope my daughter will discover too.. She's only 4 now, but maybe in a while..
Thanks for the nostalgia..


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