The Famous Five

One thing I'm really enjoying about the age and stage of our kids now, is that we're getting to read 'chapter books' to them and rediscover some of our childhood favourites.

For me, the Famous Five has wonderful memories.  I remember my Dad reading the stories to me when I was a child - and the different voices he used for each character.

I don't use different voices and accents, but I have to admit to feeling the need to reading in a posh English accent when I read these books to our girls!

The Famous Five series, of which there are 21 in total, are one of the best selling children's book series of all time.  They tell of Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina (who wants to be a boy and is known as George) and her dog Timmy. In the books the children enjoy a large degree of independence - going off camping alone - with Timmy as their guard, and always finding adventures.

Reading them now, I chuckle at the food they're eating - lashings of ginger beer, cold tongue sandwiches, home made fruit cake - and all wrapped in a damp cloth and kept for days when camping!  Funny thinking of food keeping so well outside in the cooler climate of England, now that we live in tropical Cairns, and have to keep so much more of our food in the fridge than we ever had to back in the UK.  But I digress.

Another thing that is amusing, is the older style expressions and language used.  As I said, I do feel the need to read in a posh English accent - particularly when Anne says something like, "Oh Julian, you are a brick!"   Also funny is when our daughters come out with these old words and expressions themselves!

For me, I feel the Famous Five books are so well written, that although they aren't all fast paced action, every page is enjoyable.  The descriptions are fantastic and the characters are so well developed, even Timmy the dog, that it's entertaining enough just reading about their daily activities, and the thoughts, sights and sounds that are vividly brought to life around them.

How about you?  What was your favourite childhood book or series?  Have you rediscovered any with your own kids?  How much do you think our book preferences influence those of our children?


  1. I am currently reading Enid Blyton's "The Faraway Tree" to my 3 & 5 year olds. They are loving it. I remember loving it as a kid too.

    I am getting a great kick out of how dated and sexist it is now, reading it as an adult. There is so much in the story that my kids won't understand until they are older and can understand the era and put it all in context.

    In the meantime its a fun story!!

  2. I liked the Little House on the Prairie Series and Nancy Drew as a child. Now my daughter is reading Nancy Drew. We have read one of the LHOP books, need to get back to more.

    I think we are more likely to recommend to our children books we have enjoyed ourselves, because we believe it is good. Do we recommend things we don't like? If we enjoy something we will just want to share it.

    Just started following your blog.

  3. Famous Five series were my favorite too as a schoolgirl way back in the sixties.My daughter too loved the characters and I hope her daughter also learns to love them. Strange how the book and the characters bring you and your daughters in New Zealand(?), me in India and my daughter in America all belonging to different age groups together. I think the book has seved its purpose of bringing hearts together. Your piece took me back in time.thanks.

  4. Hi Jil, Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving kind words. I really liked your blog and its so good to see a mother of two girls, just like me :) My childhood was full of readings, though somehow I never got to read Enid Blyton, I read a lot of Nancy Drew, Phantom comics, Archies,Amar chitra katha (Indian mythology based stories) now I have started getting Enid blyton series to my elder one and she seems to be liking it a lot. Nice to see you daughters
    warm regards

  5. Hi Jill, visiting from Tranquil Acres of Alexandria. I grew up reading these, Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon etc. My daughter is 11 and reads Nancy Drew, Famous Five and a couple of others. Yes, she uses words like "lashings". I just smile to myself. It's cute hearing an Aussie child use expressions that really are uniquely English. A great way to expand the vocabulary beyond the terms today like "heaps", "cool" "sick" etc.

    Lisa x

  6. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog :) I LOVED (and still do) the famous five series. I love all the enid blyton books actually. I also really liked the five find-outers - they never seemed to be as popular as the famous five or secret seven tho. I remember salivating at the detailed descriptions of all the food they used to eat, it sounded so exotic and delicious to me!!!


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