Favourite Childhood Reads: The Famous Five

“Writing for children is an art in itself, and a most interesting one.”

– Enid Blyton

I studied from 1st to 12th grade in The Oxford Senior Secondary School, Bangalore. During my 1st and 2nd grade we had to mandatorily borrow a book each week from the library during our library period (Yes! We had one of those :-p). We didn’t have a very big collection of books. But the books that were there were more than enough to get a young reader hooked on to a lifetime of reading. To this day I know that all my classmates still read more than the average person! We seem like a bunch of nerds (or geeks) to people who see us talking about what we’ve read, but that doesn’t really bother us 🙂

I thought I caught the reading bug from school or from my friends but it turned out that my family consisted of a lot of voracious readers. My maternal grandfather read a lot. He was a postmaster by profession but loved to read the old scripture, Mahabharatha, Ramayana and The Bhagavat Gita. He spent a good part of his life learning and mastering Sanskrit so that he could read in more than one language.

My paternal grandparents read a lot as well. My grandfather passed away several decades ago and my grandmother had studied only till the 3rd grade. My grandmother to this day spends 3-4 hours a day (a minimum) reading books and Kannada magazine (The magazine is Taranga). Surprisingly having such insatiable readers as parents did nothing to my parents. My mother used to tell me that she used to read a lot as a teenager but she rarely found the time to do so after. My dad, as far as I have seen, has hardly ever picked up a book. Although he buys me and my grandmother lots of books to read!

If you want to read about my grandmother’s life story, click here: A Life of Hope.

One of the books that got me started on reading is Enid Blyton‘s The Famous Five. She is one of the most amazing children’s book author. Though a lot of “adults” feel her plot is repetitive and that the settings and plots are all the same. Though I beg to differ! The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children: Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina and their dog Timmy.

All the adventures that the kids get up to take place when the five cousins return home from boarding schools each summer vacation! The scenes are set at George’s (Georgina) family home at Kirrin Cottage in Dorset. Apparently, Blyton intended to write only six or eight books in the series. But the sales were so high that she wrote twenty-one full-length Famous Five novels.

Several parodies of Blyton’s work has surfaced during recent times. Five Go to RehabFive Go Mad in Dorset, Five Give Up the Booze, Five Go Gluten Free, Five Go On A Strategy Away Day, Five Go Parenting and Five on Brexit Island!

 

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