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Blow those timelines!

Article by Ian Mander and Keith Robinson (December 2, 2005)

This was sent in by Ian Mander, who clearly doesn't share Enid Blyton's happy delusion than children stop aging when they get to their teens...

Five on a Treasure Island
Summer holidays. Julian 12, Dick & George 11, Anne 10.

Five Go Adventuring Again
Christmas holidays.

Five Run Away Together
Summer holidays again. Julian 13, Dick & George 12, Anne 11.

Five Go To Smuggler's Top
Easter holiday. Julian 14, Dick & George 13 (see book 11), Anne 12.

Five Go Off in a Caravan
Summer holidays. Julian 14, Dick & George 13, Anne 12.

Five on Kirrin Island Again
Easter holiday the next year. Julian 15, Dick 13, George 14, Anne 13.

Five Go Off To Camp
Summer? Julian 15, Dick & George 14, Anne 13.

Five Get Into Trouble
Easter. Julian 16, Dick 15, George 15, Anne 14.

Five Fall Into Adventure
September holidays. Julian 16, Dick & George 15, Anne 14.

Five on a Hike Together
October, mid-term break. Julian 16, Dick & George 15, Anne 14.

Five Have a Wonderful Time
April. Julian 17, Dick & George 16, Anne 15.

Five Go Down to the Sea
Summer (very hot). Julian 17, Dick & George 16, Anne 15.

Five Go to Mystery Moor
April. Julian 18, Dick & George 17, Anne 16.

Five Have Plenty of Fun
Summer (very hot). Julian 18, Dick & George 17, Anne 16.

Five on a Secret Trail
September? Julian 18, Dick & George 17, Anne 16.
OR April? Julian 19, Dick & George 18, Anne 17.

Five Go to Billycock Hill
End of May (Whitsun). Julian 19, Dick & George 18, Anne 17.

Five Get Into a Fix
Christmas holidays, winter. Julian 19, Dick & George 18, Anne 17.

Five on Finniston Farm
Summer (very hot). Julian 20, Dick & George 19, Anne 18.

Five Go to Demon's Rocks
Beginning of April. Julian 21, Dick & George 20, Anne 19.

Five Have A Mystery To Solve
Start of a month-long April holiday. Julian 22, Dick & George 21, Anne 20.

Five Are Together Again
Starts on first day of Easter holiday. Julian 23, Dick & George 22, Anne 21.

Thanks for that list, Ian. I always saw Julian as thirteen or fourteen throughout all the books, but in fact he grows to at least the ripe old age of sixteen as pointed out by Uncle Quentin in Five Fall Into Adventure. Beyond that the details become fuzzy as the series continues to grow.

This is probably a good thing, because the idea of Julian at twenty-three years old in the last book and STILL without a driver's license or girlfriend... well, it's just not right. And besides, he frequently puts on his "most grown-up voice" to cower the bad guys, such as in the nineteenth book, Five Go to Demon's Rocks. And in various books, the boys make hints (and direct comments) to indicate that they're "still just children"...

That's not to mention any of the illustrations throughout the series, which clearly show children in the beginning, young men towards the middle, and then children again towards the end. Confused? I am.

Another interesting point added by Ian is that Tinker is 9 years old in Five Go to Demon's Rocks and 11 in Five Are Together Again (as you'd expect since there are clearly two years between the two stories). So apparently Blyton did advance the ages of some of the characters when it suited her!

Ian adds: I'm wondering if an "optimised" series listing could be made, where the adventures are not quite in chronological order and they have multiple adventures in each holidays except where they would expressly overlap, such as the last couple which both start on the first day of the Easter/April holidays (but maybe the Easter holiday was in March that year!) or when they refer to an adventure being the year before (which might partially explain why they don't mention adventures just a few months earlier). For me the list raises the question of why they had so many adventures in April. Maybe this would make more sense if I translated it to the southern hemisphere's equivalent of October... I suppose I always want to go adventuring in the spring!

Five Run Away Together
Aww, so young and spry!

Five Get Into Trouble
A little more mature?

Five on a Hike Together
Oooh, looking really rather responsible!

Five Go to Mystery Moor
The boys are clearly strapping college lads.

Five on a Secret Trail
Hmm, mysteriously looking a little younger once more.

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