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The Famous Five is a series of children's adventure novels written by English author Enid Blyton. The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. The novels feature the adventures of a group of young children – Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) – and their dog Timmy.
The stories take place in the children's school holidays after they have returned from their respective boarding schools. Each time they meet they get caught up in an adventure, often involving criminals or lost treasure. Sometimes the scene is set close to George's family home at Kirrin Cottage in Dorset, such as the picturesque Kirrin Island, owned by George and her family in Kirrin Bay. George's own home and various other houses the children visit or stay in are hundreds of years old and often contain secret passages or smugglers' tunnels.
In some books the children go camping in the countryside, on a hike or holiday together elsewhere. The settings, however, are almost always rural and enable the children to discover the simple joys of cottages, islands, the English and Welsh countryside and sea shores, as well as an outdoor life of picnics, lemonade, bicycle trips and swimming.
Blyton intended to write only six or eight books in the series, but owing to their high sales and immense commercial success she went on to write twenty-one full-length Famous Five novels, as well as a number of other series in similar style following groups of children discovering crime on holiday in the countryside. By the end of 1953 more than six million copies had been sold. Today, more than two million copies of the books are sold each year, making them one of the best-selling series for children ever written, with sales totalling over a hundred million. All the novels have been adapted for television, and several have been adapted as films in various countries.
Blyton's publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, first used the term "The Famous Five" in 1951, after nine books in the series had been published. Before this, the series was referred to as The 'Fives' Books.