Corinna’s Confession: Five on a Treasure Island

I have a confession to make – I just bought my SIXTH copy of Five on a Treasure Island!  This might seem slightly barmy, but bear with me, and I’ll try to explain why.

I think it makes sense to talk you through each of the editions in chronological order from when I acquired them.  I will also talk a little bit about the condition of the books – I’ve based my judgement on some good old Googling, but I am in no way an expert.   So with that disclaimer, here goes…

My first copy of FOATI was bought for me for my birthday in 1992, and is treasured for purely sentimental value – it bears the inscription “Happy 8th Birthday, love from Mum and Dad” and was my first introduction to the Famous Five.   The copy I have is a two-in-one book which also includes Five Go Adventuring Again”.  It is a well-thumbed 1991 Knight  paperback edition similar to this one:

90s Knight paperback

90s Knight paperback

There are a few textual changes (as you can see from the cover, the children are wearing very 90s outfits!), and no pictures inside, so I’m sure you can see why it would be treasured for mainly sentimental reasons!

I have almost the full set of Famous Fives in those Knight paperback editions.  I was content with those for many years, until I started finding older editions and wondering why they were different.  My interest piqued, when I moved to the UK at the end of 2011, I sought out some answers (and some fellow fans!) and joined the EnidBlytonSociety.

So the next copy I bought was some time in 2011:

2006 BCA Hardback

2006 BCA Hardback

I bought this one for two reasons – first, I liked the cover, which is a copy of Eileen Soper’s orginal illustrations.  The second was that I wanted to participate in a readathon on the Enid Blyton Society forum!  I felt that the cover was misleading, in a way, as inside there were a few textual changes – right from almost the first page where they are putting luggage in the trunk (luggage hole in the original text). I don’t think it was my best buy – I don’t even think I offered any insights in the forum discussion!  However, at only a few pounds from WHSmith, it didn’t really matter.

A few months later, I decided to buy yet another copy!  This time I was insprired by the 70th anniversary editions, which had cover illustrations by a range of modern children’s book illustrators.  I’ve always loved the way Quentin Blake illustrated Roald Dahl’s books, and I was interested in seeing his interpretation of the cover of FOATI.

70th anniversary paperback by Hodder.

70th anniversary paperback by Hodder.

I liked it – controversial, I know!  I think what I liked most was the way that he had paid homage to Eileen Soper’s original illustration, without compromising his own unique style (which I happen to like).  I also enjoy the juxtaposition of the edgy, modern drawing with such  treasured classic story.

When I moved back to New Zealand, I stayed for a while at my sister’s house.  She has all my childhood books in storage at her place, and I discovered I had a 1954 11th edition in quite good condition, but sadly with no dust jacket.  I can’t for the life of me remember how I acquired that one though!

I then bought a full set of Famous Five books from a NZ online auction site.  The books were all different editions, but they were all very early editions, including some firsts and some with reasonable dust jackets.  It was a very exciting day when they arrived!  The copy of FOATI included in this lot was actually not one of the better buys – it was a 1956 12th edition, in only fair condition, with no dust jacket.

I’m not sure I will keep either of these two (the 11th and the 12th editions), as they don’t hold any sentimental value, and are not in pristine condition or have the lovely dust jackets on them.

And finally, my most recent purchase is a beautiful 1951 8th edition, in good condition with a fair dust jacket.  I bought this through an online auction site, and was very pleased with it.  I tried to take a photo, but without much success.  So you’ll just have to imagine a slightly dog-eared version of this:

Original Hodder and Stoughton hardback with dustjacket

Original Hodder and Stoughton hardback with dustjacket

So that’s it – my 6 copies of Five on a Treasure Island.  Am I mad?  Perhaps!  I’m sure there must be others out there that have many copies of the same book, though….

All illustrations taken from the Cave of Books
This entry was posted in Books, Personal Experiences, Purchases and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Corinna’s Confession: Five on a Treasure Island

  1. chrissie777 says:

    Hi Corinna,

    Somehow I must have missed that you were from NZ. How exciting!
    I have only 3 different copies of FOATI, got the German one probably in 1966/1967 (my parents were not fond of me reading Blyton books instead of looking at the bright side that it turned me into a bookworm).
    The French version was purchased on a gas station convenience store on the French Autobahn (I think it’s called L’Autoroute du soleil as it goes all the way down to the Côte d’azur where I spent 3 vacations between 1975 and 1977).
    And after May 1995 when I spent 10 days in Fowey (because of Daphne DuMaurier), I became friends with Christine Alexander who did run the bookstore in Fowey (Bookends of Fowey). She was so kind to offer me to make EB book search for me.
    From what I remember she sold her bookstore 3 or 4 years later when she retired on the Canary islands. That’s when the book search stopped.
    But from 1998 on I had access to the Internet and discovered the wonderful world of amazon :).
    And at some point when I scrolled down, I noticed that there is more than just So I ordered lots of old hardcover issues from FF, R series, Mystery series and Secret Seven at


    • Corinna says:

      Hi Chrissy,
      You might “only” have 3 copies but I’m very impressed they are in different languages! It would be really interesting to know how the text changes between the English, French and German versions. Perhaps you could be persuaded to write a blog article about that?! 🙂


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