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Hurrah for the Famous Five

Enid Blyton series celebrates 75 years

Perhaps none of us is immune to nostalgia



 LASHINGS of ginger beer all round! Julian, George, Anne, Dick and Timmy are celebrating a very big birthday. This month, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five are 75 years old. Hurrah! 

The four young friends (and Timmy the dog) found fame back in 1942 after paying a visit to Kirrin Island on their summer holiday. In the story Five on a Treasure Island – the first in a series of 21 Famous Five books – the children explored a shipwreck, investigated some castle ruins and struck gold. Young readers were hooked. The idea that children could cope quite all right by themselves, without adults poking their noses into their business, was simply marvellous. 

Fast-forward to 2017 and the Famous Five have all grown up. And much to the delight of now-adult Enid Blyton readers, the friends are enjoying some jolly new adventures. 

Last autumn, author Bruno Vincent released a selection of tongue-in-cheek titles, including Five Go Parenting and Five Go Gluten Free. Later this year, he’s adding even more stories to the collection, such as Five Get on the Property Ladder. 

‘What drew me to writing these books was getting the chance to be wholehearted and earnest,’ Bruno tells The War Cry. ‘I could tell an entire story that people could enjoy reading, with characters they knew and liked – and be funny on top of that.’ 

The publishers behind the new books, Quercus, say that the stories ‘remind older readers of the unbreakable bond between Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy’. In other words, getting the old gang together again creates a sense of nostalgia. 

‘Whatever time you are living in, it can always seem as though the past was better,’ Bruno explains. ‘Right now, people have a little more cause than usual to feel unstable about the present and so they look for reassurance and distraction from the cultural artefacts of a bygone era. Perhaps none of us is immune to nostalgia.’ 

Whatever our past looks like – whether it throws up pleasant or painful memories – it’s not unusual to catch ourselves reflecting on it. 

If we had a happy childhood, full of picnics and playing games in the park, we can start to wish we were still in that time and place. But if difficult circumstances meant we had to grow up all too quickly, perhaps our past haunts us, continuing to fill us with sadness and regret. 

However we feel about our past, the truth is that it’s gone. We can’t go back to relive the good old days, nor can we make changes to any bad days to make them better. 

All we have is the present – and that’s a good thing. 

In the Bible, God urges us not to cling to thoughts of days gone by. He says: ‘Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing’ (Isaiah 43:18, 19 New International Version). 

Whatever happened yesterday – and however it affected us – God assures us that our story isn’t over. We have a future. And, though we don’t know what that will look like, we don’t have to worry about it. With God’s unconditional love and everlasting forgiveness ready to strengthen us through our daily adventures, we can have everything we could possibly need to start an exciting new chapter – if we ask. 

The end. 

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