Enid Blyton’s Famous Five have come top of a poll to discover which books today’s adults most enjoyed as children.
The adventures, featuring Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog, have pipped other classics like Treasure Island and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in the survey.
More than 1,000 adults, between the ages of 25 and 54, were asked to name their favourite children’s book while growing up.
Blyton’s series of 21 Famous Five adventures, which were penned between 1942 and 1963, came top of the list.
Today two million copies of the Famous Five novels, which made Blyton the most successful children’s writer of all time, still fly off the shelves each year around the world.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the 1950 fantasy tale by C S Lewis and the best loved of the Narnia Chronicles – came second in the survey carried out by the Cartoon Network, followed by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, published in 1883.
Another Blyton creation, The Secret Seven (1949 to 1963), the adventure series for younger readers featuring the likes of Peter, Janet, Jack and Scamper the dog, came fourth in the survey.
Black Beauty, the only book written by Anna Sewell, whose aim was to “induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses” takes fifth place.
Sewell died of ill health, at the age of 58, just months after publication in 1877.
Enduring favourite J R R Tolkien makes it on to the list with The Lord of the Rings, the trilogy which began life in 1954, in sixth spot, and The Hobbit, written in 1937, ranking eighth.
Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows (1908) featuring the riverbank lives of Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad came seventh.
American author John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (1937), the moving story of two drifters trying to make a life for themselves, came ninth followed by Little Women (1868) the autobiographical novel by fellow American Louisa May Alcott.
Enid Blyton’s daughter Gillian Baverstock, who lives in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, welcomed the results of the poll, saying: “It is wonderful that my mother’s books are remembered so fondly.
“Moreover, the mystery and adventure books continue to be avidly devoured by each successive generation.
“The secret of their success is that they centre squarely on children, with adults only ever playing a minor role.
“The injection of adventure and excitement on to every page stimulates a child’s desire to continue to read not just one book but the whole series.
“In some respects my mother was also ahead of her time. She was probably the first children’s writer to give girls equal billing to boys.”
Head of the Cartoon Network Richard Kilgarriff said: “The Famous Five are stories based on kids taking charge of their own lives, a premise which is also at the heart of the most successful
The Top 10:
1.The Famous Five, Enid Blyton
2.The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C S Lewis
3.Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
4.The Secret Seven, Enid Blyton
5.Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
6.The Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkien
7. Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
8.The Hobbit, J R R Tolkien
9. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
10. Little Women, Louisa M Alcott