Five on a Treasure Island – Enid Blyton

‘There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?’

As a child this was high octane stuff!  It had everything I could want, a sense of danger and adventure, risk and excitement, mystery and discovery, a WHOLE island owned by a child my age! castles, caves, smugglers and a dog to boot!

I reread this a few years ago, for the first time since I was about eight and true it is a little bit dated now and very much a book of its time. The plot is not as sophisticated as say, Harry Potter, (that being the new yardstick with which to measure children’s literature it seems), but there in lies the pleasure of these books.

The first of a series of 21 stories, this book really sets the scene for what is to come throughout the series; straight forward plotting, mysteries, much eating and drinking of nice victuals and usually lovely weather for camping and mystery solving.

Vintage, warm, good hearted stories like this seem to be on the wane, probably due to modern and perhaps more refined story telling but these books in their original forms are nice, quick, enjoyable jaunts back to an (arguably) richer time.

Sadly the political correctness brigade have got their way in recent years and changed some names and phrases because they are dated or mildly offensive which is justified in the odd case but not overall. But to change the certain parts of the original text is to take them out of context, these books are a product of their time and to edit the writing style shows a lack of understanding about modern day perceptions to literature, which sadly is indicative of the publishing houses these days,. If you want the original wording there is nothing better than hunting in second hand shops for the whole set and grabbing a ton of other books you weren’t expecting to buy at the same time.

12 Replies to “Five on a Treasure Island – Enid Blyton”

  1. I liked This post too! but it didn’t work when I pressed like. agree with the 5th paragraph- And the ones before that really. wonder what words/phrases were changed – not that it effects the overall plot but could make it more interesting and amusing. ordered 2 famous 5 audio books off amazon a while back so sometime will listen to them 4 a bit of easy but enjoyable listening.


    1. Thanks for the comment Sophster, much appreciated. A lot of the corporal punishment threats have been cut out and in some of Blyton’s work, the name Fannie, has been altered to Franny etc, but like you say, not really relevant to how you enjoy the book as a whole, just a bit annoying that the PC brigade have to go and change books that thousands of people fondly remember growing up with. Hoe you enjoy your audio books, let me know which two you got.


  2. I grew up on Enid Blyron’s books, so when I saw children’s literature category I had to see what you had. I am so happy to see the famous five :). I collect Enid Blyton books now :). Glad I found your blog. Great stuff on here!!!


    1. I shall make sure I review a few more Enid Blyton in the future, as well as other choice childrens books I love and want to introduce more people too. Thanks for your compliment, I shall be frequenting your blog too. Always good to meet new people.


  3. Enid Bylton, more than any other author is responsible for my beginning love affair with books as a child! I went on every single one of their adventures and then reread again and again, I was there with Kiki and the children. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to this wonderful and highly prolific author. But for her…:)


    1. There is something about her books, even though a lot of themes are copied to a lot of her stories; nature, islands, castles, lost princes, etc, it never seems to get old. It’s always a visually arresting jaunt in my head, oh to be back in world of innocent fun again where the only danger (apart from the smugglers and other bad people who magnetize themselves to children) is getting lost on the moors.


  4. I love, love, love this book! Like Penny, The Famous Five were the beginning of my love affair with books. I couldn’t get enough of them. I was a tomboy as a child, and George was my hero. I always wanted to have an adventure just like them 🙂


    1. George was interesting, Blyton seemed to sometimes have her as mature George with the Five and sometimes behaving childish, I thought it may be some sort of puberty thing but the rest of the characters don’t show the same changes from book to book so that intrigues me. The Famous Five started off so many childrens love affair with reading, they have a charm that even the new ‘classic’ Harry potter can’t really recreate.


      1. Remember, George is an only child and quite solitary by nature and used to getting her own way, and up until her cousins came along, went to the local school rather than boarding school like they did. She also had much more freedom than they did – taking her boat out to go sailing etc.
        I quite agree about the charm (and innocence) of the Famous Five books. The only author I can think of who has come close, is Madeleine L’Engle with her Wrinkle in Time quintet of books.


        1. Wrinkle in Time seems to be mentioned around here quite a lot, it is one I thought I had read but I was mistaking it for a book I once read which I can’t really remember much of but enjoyed it…which is extremely annoying.

          Fair points about George, I would have just assumed she would have matured with her cousins influences but then again that wasn’t really the point of the books, they were just great yarns, I recently discovered The Secret Island, it’s a shame that wasn’t in my eye line growing up for it would have been devoured. Underrated Blyton that one definitely.


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