I first read about the adventures of Julian, Dick, George, Anne, and Timmy when I was about eight or nine years old. I fell instantly in love with them and enjoyed sharing in their mystery-solving adventures. I read all of the books multiple times and even managed to find some of the choose your own adventure games in charity shops.
Although the stories themselves are quite old-fashioned – tales of fresh air and picnics and ginger beer – the mysteries are exciting and action-packed, and there is always something strange happening! Blyton’s characters are both vivid and varied, no matter how minor they are, and although her attitudes towards societal roles are very much fixed in the early decades of the 1900s, the children themselves are very much an equal bunch, each with their own strengths and flaws.
Hodder Children’s Books have republished the first ten books of the series with new covers by a range of children’s illustrators in honour of the 70th anniversary of the series. I love them all, but my favourite has to be the cover for Five on Kirrin Island Again which was created by Shirley Hughes:
These new covers are wonderfully bright and really bring the stories up to the present day; hopefully they will appeal to a new generation of readers who will fall in love with these books as I have.