Enid Blyton wrote Five On A Treasure Island as the first of her 21 gripping stories in the Famous Five series.
She introduces us to Julian, Dick and Anne; two brothers who embody the chivalric ideals of the time, and their sweet, gentle sister. The children’s cousin Georgina, who only answers to George, is a would-be tough tomboy who is moody, stubborn and difficult to deal with but irresistibly lovable. The fifth member of the group is Timmy, George’s beloved loyal dog.
It all starts when the five set out alone to Kirrin Island and soon discover that a storm has thrown up an old wreck. Exploring the wreck, they find a mysterious map which belonged to some long ago pirates hiding treasure. The inquiring and resourceful five are determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. They run into danger and strife and at the end of their riveting adventure have outwitted the modern day bandits and brought them to justice.
Enid Blyton’s characterization is strong. The four children’s personalities are so vividly drawn in your imagination that you can see them standing before you. George’s moodiness is so real and makes for a perfect contrast with Anne’s ladylike sweetness. Her vivid story telling has your mouth watering at descriptions of the children eating sandwiches and drinking ginger beer.
Enid Blyton has been criticized for her slow ascent to the action in her stories, the sameness of her plots and the banality of language amongst other charges.
None of these pointed and relentless criticisms appear to have even slightly dented her popularity despite a concerted campaign by teachers and librarians to remove her work from the eager eyes of children. Her books still sell in the thousands, her old original text stories are highly sought after and a recent UK poll revealed that the Famous Five books are the number 1 bedtime reading choice for adults.
No criticism of her work can alter the truth that her stories are richly imaginative and vivid – the hallmark of a born storyteller. In her genuine love of children she personally replied to every letter ever sent to her by a child – of which there were hundreds upon thousands. She found time to do this as well as to write over 700 books – many of which were written due to her readers clamouring for more stories - testimony to her devotion to children. Don’t let the critical remarks of academics put you off. If Enid Blyton fills your world with aliveness and magic, if your imagination dances off into her friendly and enchanting worlds and if her warmly told stories make you feel safe and secure then you should, along with thousands of others, gladly fall in love with her work.