I'm certain that everyone must have heard Enid Blyton as apparently her book sales have been in excess of 400 million copies worldwide. She was a prolific children's author & I'm sure there are many, like me, who wouldn't have experienced the joy of reading if she hadn't written when she did.
Her works can broadly be popped into 3 categories I guess -
- fantasy - including elves, goblins & pixies - eg The Faraway Tree & Wishing Chair stories
- boarding school tales such as Malory Towers, St Clares & The Naughtiest Girl novels
- those involving 'ordinary' kids in extraordinary situations such as solving mysteries, crimes & generally having exciting adventures.
There was, of course, Noddy - what you can you really say about him & Big Ears et al?
Having been born in the early 1950s EB was great reading for me from an early age, my parents even treated me a 'Sunny Story' magazine subscription & I remember being a member of her fan club (how embarrassing to admit this now lol!).
I read her new short stories & novels as soon as I was able to get my mitts on them & devoured them eagerly.
My daughters both loved her stories as well &, although I can't blame their success in English studies purely on EB, I can't help thinking that her easy-to-read & imaginative books helped stimulate their love of reading.
Looking back on them now I see only middle class, right wing, often racist & sexist works but that's me in old age with my cynicism & life experiences so many years on....
A few years ago I watched a documentary about the author which included her daughter & it was revealed how poor a mother she was - I can't wait to see the movie that is due for release later this year. If any of the neighbours' children interrupted her writing they were immediately made into 'wicked imps' in her stories - so I'd better watch out.
Enid Blyton also wrote some bible stories & her stories do, I have to say, often reflect moral values & a good old British sense of justice to some degree but seems very dated now & children are defintitely more sophisticated in their reading matter these days.
Her work has been criticised for many different reasons mainly because of her writing style but, on reflection, I have to say that these have to still be an essential part of children's reading material as they help stimulate that sense of adventure & intrigue that we all need when we're young.
I've previously written about my favourite series of books written by Enid Blyton, and I thought I'd tell you all about a hardback book that was bought for me by my ever-loving parents for my tenth birthday. Before I start, I don't think this book is available new any more, but you may be able to find it in a second-hand (or charity) shop, or at a boot sale or even a jumble sale (are these still held anymore?).
The book in question is The St. Clare's Trilogy, which has a bright yellow cover and contains the first three books in the St. Clare's series, which is about Pat and Isobel O'Sullivan and their fun and misadventures at boarding school.
The three books contained in the trilogy are :
The Twins at St. Clare's
The O'Sullivan Twins
Summer Term at St Clare's
They cover the twins first year at the school, and form an enchanting look at how young girls were seen in a time long before I was born.
There are a lot of characters in the book, the majority memorable, but a few that are less so, but among them most girls will find someone that they could either empathise with or know someone whose just like them. And here are how I saw (and still see) the some of the characters in no particular order :
Pat and Isobel O'Sullivan are of course the main characters, after all the first two books are named after them. Although they don't start off as particularly nice well-rounded young ladies they soon start to show their nicer sides. They are sensible, fair-minded and above all "jolly good sports" with a sense of honour that seems severely lacking in this day and age. But I'm not saying they're goody-goodies, they definitely have their mischievous side, and join in with the many pranks and midnight feasts that their form holds.
The twins air-headed cousin, joins the school in the second book. A shallow, weak girl, who cares more about outside appearance than the person inside, Alison seems to be everything that the twins are not. And yet somewhere deep inside there is a good, strong, "good sport" waiting to get out, if only she'll give herself a chance.
I loved the character of Doris, she would have been such fun to know. Useless at her lessons and absolutely dreadful at French, Doris is a natural mimic with a great sense of humour. She's clumsy, has a terrible memory but everybody loves her and tries to help her scrape through her exams. (even her exasperated teachers).
I always felt just a little bit sorry for Pam, a quiet, amazingly bright girl who is a year younger than the rest of the form. The most amazing thing was her friendship with Doris, which was one of the most touching relationships in the books.
Wow, I'd have loved to be Carlotta, so wild and carefree. Although she is the daughter of a well-to-do gentleman, she's been brought up anything but. Her wild hair and Spanish name give clues to her upbringing. All I can say is I thought she is a wonderful character.
--Roberta (Bobby) Ellis--
Bobby is the obligatory tom-boy, with short hair, sunburnt skin, hatred of schoolwork and love of tricks, it's easy to see why she quickly becomes popular. But will she learn that life is not all fun and games??
This is the only teacher that really stuck in my mind and is how I always imagined French teachers would be (until I actually had one). Short, dumpy, naive and often the victim of pranks, Mam'zelle can't understand the English sense of honour as much as she tries. Although she has a wicked temper, it's normally short lived and she nearly always seems to see the funny side. And her concern for her pupils knows no bounds, basically I would have loved to have a teacher like her.
The story begins with Pat and Isobel being told that they were to be going to St Clare's and not the posh school they wanted to go to. To say they are unhappy at this decision is a bit like saying that the North Pole is a little bit chilly, and they decide that as they are going to be miserable so will everybody else. Once at the school their stand-offish behaviour soon earns them the nickname "the Stuck-up Twins", but as much as they want to dislike the school they soon find they can't, and begin to join in all the activities of their form.
Now that is as much of the story as I'm going to tell you, but the book is filled with tales of their pranks, midnight feasts, adventures and the ups and downs of life in a girl's boarding school in the '50's.
---The writing style---
The writing style is engaging and even if the circumstances are now a little irrelevant, they are still fun to read. As a child I was enthralled, and desperately tried to persuade my parents to send me to boarding school, so I could have that much fun. Each of the characters are brought to life in such a way that I can still imagine them now, some 20 odd years since I first read the books. That, I could write about those that I have without consulting the book itself, surely is testament to the skilful way in which they were written.
There are a few words that you might need to explain to your child when they read these books, such as lacrosse (a game that from what I can gather is a little like hockey but with nets on sticks), but even this is explained a little as the books progress. Otherwise the writing style is simple enough for younger readers of perhaps 9 years and above to enjoy.
---A bit Outdated---
Even when I read these books they were outdated, but it never spoilt my enjoyment. OK, so I would never have called my parents "Mummy" and "Daddy" at fourteen, and the girls never seemed to think about boys, but I enjoyed the more naïve feel. You may find your child asking why things only cost a penny, or what a guinea is, but use it as a mini history lesson.
Some of the moral ideas may however seem a little strange, after all how many children would understand the concept of being a "good sport", not many I bet. But at the end each book, the girls had learnt moral lessons that were easy to pick up on. IE. It's better to work hard and make something of your life, or the fact that if you boast you will get caught out eventually. And these lessons are as important today as when the book was set.
There are some criticisms that Blyton's books are sexist and promote stereotypical ideals of how girls should be, but I don't understand these criticisms at all. Yes some of her characters were little airheads, who only wanted to look pretty, but there are some very strong female characters, that behave in a way that is completely non-stereotypical, and isn't that how life still is today a mix of all kinds of character.
---Who is it suitable for?---
The St Clare's series, along with Mallory Towers is firmly aimed at girl's, and although I imagine they were originally aimed at teenagers, I would say that in this day and age they are now suitable for much younger children, say from about 9 upwards. My reasoning behind this, is that girls seem to grow up much quicker now, and the younger girl is more likely to empathise with the characters. Saying that I still enjoy reading the stories occasionally just for the great memories it brings back.
I loved this book as a child, and it shows, the book is now very dog-eared and has definitely seen better days. When reading it I would be transported back to "olden days" so that I could join in the adventures with the Twins and their friends. My sister and I even held a midnight feast after one reading, which was unfortunately not very successful, crumbs in the bed do not make for a comfortable sleep.
I must say here that I did not read this book once, or even twice but many, many times and enjoyed it every single time. I feel a bit sad that I'm now told old to admit that I still enjoys these stories, but am redeemed by the fact that I can read them with my 9 year old daughter, who is nearly as delighted with the characters as I am.
I personally can't recommend this book enough, both to those that want to get nostalgic over the books they read as a child, and those that want to introduce the delights of St Clare's to a younger generation. They may be set in the '50's but the St Clare books are genuinely timeless classics and now I'm going to spend the night dreaming of midnight feasts, ginger pop and lacrosse.
My copy is now very old, and no longer seems to be available, but you can buy the complete St Clare's series from Amazon at 3.99 per book, which is still pretty good value.
The complete St Clare's series is :
* The Twins At St Clare's
* The O'Sullivan Twins
* Summer Term At St Clare's
* Second Form At St Clare's
* Claudine At St Clare's
* Fifth Formers At St Clare's
Don’t you just love the wonderfully odd logic of children? When I was younger, for example, I desperately wanted to go to an Enid Blyton style Boarding school. When I realized this wasn’t likely to happen, I made up my mind that I would be a teacher at one when I was older because that way I’d be getting paid to do things like have midnight feasts by the pool. It never seemed to click in my little mind that teachers wouldn’t get these “bonuses” and that ginger beer is no longer as readily available as it used to be… Back to the subject at hand then. Enid Blyton. BIOGRAPHY Enid Mary Blyton was born in London on the 11th August 1897. She grew up in Kent and in 1918 she qualified as a teacher. After writing in her spare time for a few years, she gave up her job to concentrate solely on the task at hand and in 1922 her first book “Child Whispers” was published. A couple of years later she was married, and by the time she was 28, had two children. In 1937 he first novel was published – the widely read, “Adventures of the Wishing-Chair”. She divorced in 1942 but less than a year later, re-married. By the time of her death in November 1968, she had been writing for more than 40 years, and had over 700 titles to her name. Her talent was mainly shown in her children’s books for a variety of age groups, and her characters still widely known today. For younger children there is Noddy and Moonface, and for older ones, Darrel Rivers, the St Claire’s twins and of course the Famous Five, the Secret 7 and the 5 Find outers and Dog. Blyton also wrote for numerous magazines, and even ran two of her own between 1926 and 1959. Over the years she produced over ten thousand short stories and poems, and two successful plays – phew, and I thought 200+ ops was a lot. To date, over 250 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide, and her work translated int
o more than forty languages. TITLES She wrote too many books for me to mention them all, but here are some of my favourites: -- The Faraway Tree Series – 4 books here tell the reader about Moonface and Saucepanman and Silky and Dame Washalot and all the other wonderful folk who live in the Enchanted Wood, up the Faraway Tree. The tree itself, complete with slippery-slip, and cushion retrieving squirrels was almost as fascinating as the lands that came to visit at the top of it for Jo, Bessie and Fanny . Classic, and not just for the kids names. -- Naughty Amelia Jane Series – Amelia Jane is a big rag doll who won’t behave, much like Elizabeth Allen. My memory on these isn’t that wonderful, but I remember a remarkable story involving treacle and feathers. Mess galore. -- Mr Pink-Whistle Series -- Mr Pink Whistle is half man and half pixie. But of course. His job in life is to set things straight, although this often seems to work on the principle that two wrongs do make a right. Dodgy fish sellers, and mean cat owners seem to feature more than once -- The Wishing Chair Series -- 3 books here, featuring Peter, Mollie and, later, Chinky the pixie. After buying their mother a present (like good kind children do) they come across some magic. An old antique shop chair sprouts wings and flies away, all to often with them on it. Havoc and hi-jinks ensue. -- The Adventure Series: -- The Island, Castle, Valley, Sea, Mountain, Ship, Circus and River of Adventure were the destinations for the fun had by Dinah, Philip, Lucy-Ann, Jack and Kiki the parrot (the real star of the show). The children meet and get chatting to Bill, a secret agent. As is usually the case in Blyton books though, the kids are smarter than the professionals, and usually solve the cases involving everything from secret weapons to counterfeit money first. I think it was this
series that introduced me to the word “wireless” when Bill was shacked up in a hut on the beach for some reason or other. -- The Adventurous Four Series -- The Adventurous Four were Shipwrecked, Stranded and Trapped in the trilogy of books about twins Pippa and Zoe (woo), and their brother, Tom who meet up with Andy, a fisherman's son. He takes them out on his boat and into a world of dangerous adventures but, wadda you know, they escape unharmed at the end of it all. -- The Barney Mystery Series -- The Rockingdown , Rilloby Fair, Rubadub, Ring O' Bells, Rat a Tat and Ragamuffin Mysteries. Siblings Roger and Diana and their cousin Snubby, not to mention his dog, Loony, meet Barney and Miranda, circus-boy and pet monkey combo. Adventures are had, mysteries (hence the title) are uncovered, and danger is faced, all before the happy ever after ending. -- The Family Series — The Caravan, Buttercup Farm, Pole Star, Queen Elizabeth, Saucy Jane and Seaside Families. An “alternative” family who live in everywhere but houses – from caravans to boats, they’re always on the move. My favourite was the Queen Elizabeth Family where they go on a trip to New York – partly because I always fancied going on a cruise, and partly because they’re all fussed over in the States for being thinner and politer than the American children. -- The Famous Five Series -- From “Five on a Treasure Island” to “Five Are Together Again”, all of Julian, Dick Anne, George and Timmy’s adventures are dangerous ones involving a mixture of strangers all with sinister motives. The five grow closer together with each adventure, as they explore underground passages, caves, castle ruins, tunnels and dungeons, which we all know are just lying around, if you only know where to look. -- The Mystery Series (aka 5 Find Outers + Dog) --
The Mysteries of the Burnt Cottage, Hidden House and Banshee Towers are just some of the many encountered by Larry, Daisy, Bets, Pip, Fatty and Buster. Once more our heroes outwit the police – in particular PC Goon – to get there first and solve the “glues”. Fatty’s disguises have to be the highlight of this series. -- The Secret Series – I really, really loved these, because they showed among other things how children can cope with anything, should the need be great enough. Mike, Peggy and Nora's parents are missing. Jack, a local lad they make friends with takes them to a secret island, where they survive alone for months, until they are dramatically rescued. After their parents return, Jack goes to live with the Arnolds, and the four children have some more exotic adventures. -- The Secret Seven Series -- From the original book, simply named “The Secret Seven” to “Well Done Secret Seven”, the group of children do what all good junior detectives do in Blyton’s books – solve crimes even the police can’t. Peter and Janet are joined by Colin, Barbara, Pam, Jack and George, plus a golden retriever whose name I really can’t remember, although I’m sure someone out there will tell me. The bane of their life Jack's little sister, Susie, who wants to join the Secret Seven but is classed as too young. Oh how I remember the days of that…t -- Mallory Towers Series -- 6 books here trace the path of Darrell Rivers and her friends at Mallory Towers, a traditional Girls’ boarding school set on the Cornish coast. These books were read again and again by me when I was young – after all, who didn’t love the stories of Gwendolyn Mary Lacey, Clarissa, Sally and all the others? Highlight of the series? When Darrel slapped Gwen in the first book – I did that too many years later, only I got a detenti
on for it…… -- The Naughtiest Girl Series -- A trilogy of books featuring Elizabeth Allen, a spoilt brat of a girl sent away to school to teach her, among other things, how to behave. This school always intrigued me as everyone had to hand all their money in each term, and be given only 20p back per week. It was a while before someone explained to me how anyone could possibly buy stamps or sweets or presents from such a small amount. The descriptions of the tuck boxes also did it for me, and again their was confusion over how 5 or 6 people could share a Jam Sandwich – no one explained to *me* that it was a cake…. -- St Clare's Series -- Pat and Isabel O'Sullivan are, like Elizabeth, sent to St Clare's to shake off their snobby attitudes. Another intriguing school, this one had a system whereby the 6th formers could order the lower form girls to make them toast (with or without shoe polish paste), clean their boots (with or without posh face cream) and generally wait on them hand and foot. The ideas I got about 6th form life from this – if only they had based it at my school.... -- Noddy -- There are 24 books in the Noddy series, featuring the man himself, plus his friends Big-Ears, Mr. Plod, Tessie Bea and, Bumpy Dog. We had an M+S compilation of some of the stories, and I always loved one involving ice cream melting in a car and leaving big wet splodges on the road. And a dog eating all the cake. Not that I grew up obsesses with puddings or anything…… Then of course there were the short stories – who remembers Sooty and Snowy? And the one about the girl who was always late. And the tale of the lazy Scout who never found the chocolate hidden in the dusty sacks he was told to shake? I certainly do. Since her death, numerous authors have also taken on where she left off (badly for the most part though, it must be said), and there are n
o additional books about the Famous 5, the Secret 7, The O’Sulivan twins, and the Naughtiest girl in the school among others. EXTRAS As well as the books, you van now get hold of a whole array of tie-in merchandise. There are playstation games and CD ROMs and audio books and videos. There are clothes and quilt covers and toys and just about everything you could want really. I remember the Famous 5 TV adaptation ("We are the famous 5, coming back to you, time after time....") which was good, but most of the others were iffy - hence the fact they ended up being shown on channel 5, or at 3.30pm on CBBC. Except to be honest, all I ever wanted was the books – nothing else was the same. WHY I LIKE THEM There’s something about Enid Blyton’s writing – her style and her characters – that just can’t be matched. Although they were written many, many years ago, they can still be read and enjoyed today because of the timeless qualities of the stories. At the same time, they are that much more exciting because they’re old fashioned, and things just don’t happen like that today – it’s like L. P. Hartley said, “the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”. No one wants to read about everyday life as such anymore, and so you need a quirk. JK Rowling’s is the magical aspect, Blyton’s a historical one. In many ways Blyton’s books appear both sexist and racist when read today, but that wasn’t so much the case at the time. And anyway, there’s still George who has more guts than all the boys put together, and the odd coloured character dotted here and there. No one could call the books politically correct or even all that realistic (animals that can talk and/or cleverer than humans, pixies, fairies…..), but wow were they fun to read growing up.
Enid Blyton has sold at least 300 million books and her work is translated into 130 languages! Why so successful? She wrote like a ten year-old. Ask an average ten year-old to write an adventure story and it might read something like this: "Four children go to stay in an old house at the coast. They make tree houses. They ride bikes and have picnics and go swimming. They find some dark caves with secret passages. They take a boat out to a mysterious island. They are captured by smugglers. Without any help from adults, they escape from their incompetent and silly captors and tell their story to the grateful police." The vocabulary is simple. The story is simple. The prose is child-like. There are no boring descriptions of people or scenery, but there are some details of things like tree houses and picnics and caves. Blyton has been accused by the horrid PC world of being racist, sexist and snobbish. But, note well that Blyton's books do not encourage kids to overdose on heroin or commit gang rape. They encourage kids to enjoy being kids, and they encourage kids to read. Both adults and children can enjoy the books. Let's take THE ISLAND OF ADVENTURE as an example. Chapter 1 The Beginning of Things. A young boy called Philip normally lives with his impatient Aunt, his non-child-loving Uncle, his sister Dinah, and a "stupid" black servant, at a house on the coast called Craggy Tops. But during the summer holidays Philip, is getting extra tuition at the home of one of his teachers, a Mr Roy. While staying with Mr Roy, Philip makes friends with a boy called Jack and his sister Lucy-Ann. Jack and Lucy-Ann are looked after by an uncle. Note that the children do not have straighforward family backgrounds. Blyton's parents were divorced, and she herself got divorced. Chapter 2. Making Friends. As there were only four boys to coach, Mr Roy gives
them each individual attention. Philip tells Lucy-Anne that Craggy Tops is "wild" and "queer". Philip takes a hedgehog out of his pocket. "It was a baby one, whose prickles were not yet hardened. Observe that the Blyton world was a world free of child abusers and serial killers. Instead it was a world of harmless teachers and hedgehogs in pockets. Did you know that hedgehogs are bisexual? Chapter 3. Two Letters and a Plan. "Uncle doesn't want us back," says Jack. Philip decides that Jack and Lucy-Ann should escape with them to Craggy Tops. As you can see, the children do some pretty risky things, but nothing cruel and nasty. Chapter 4. Craggy Tops. The children arrive at Craggy Tops. "It was a queer place." There has still been no violence! Chapter 5. Settling in at Craggy Tops. "Lucy-Ann wished she was sleeping nearer to Jack." Isn't she sweet and innocent. Chapter 6. The Days Go By. "It was a queer place to sleep for the first time at Craggy tops." Jack shares a mattress with Philip. "Jack soon got warm, cuddled up against Philip's back." Blyton has suspected paedophile tendencies? Chapter 7. A Queer Discovery. The children explore the damp dark caves, some of which have "queer holes in their roofs." Dinah pushed Philip. "She had certainly meant to give philip a hard blow." Philip falls into a hole. What would Freud think? Chapter 8 . In the Cellars. A secret passage is discovered. Chapter 9. A Strange Boat. Philip - "Even when he was wearing bathing-drawers he seemed able to secrete some kind of creature about his body. Yesterday it had been a couple of friendly crabs. But when he had accidentally sat down on one, and it had nipped him.....&q
uot; Is this why kids love Blyton? Chapter 10. Night Adventure. The black servant is involved in some dark doings. Chapter 11. Bill Smuggs. The four children visit a cove. "The children slipped off their jerseys and shorts and went into the water to bathe." They spy a boat. "What a queer place to keep a boat, " says Philip. Is the pace too fast? Are you embarrased by the strip-tease? I won't describe all 29 chapters, as I'm sure you've got the idea. Blyton is gentle innocent fun for both adults and children.
In recent years Enid Blyton books have attracted a lot of criticism for not being politically correct, and being old fashioned in general. To me, this not only completely misses the point of children's books, but is also a daft thing to say! Enid Blyton books are not 'politically correct' because at the time they were written, I don't think such a term even existed! They are old fashioned because they were written some time ago. They were not written in the age of computer games and satellite telly, but in the days when kids did entertain themselves by going for bike rides and picnics, and the world was safe enough (or at least perceived to be such) that children could go off for the day, or even overnight without an adult present. Besides which, why should children's books conform to the increasingly ludicrous views of political correctness? Children are not born with prejudices, they learn them, and not from reading a book where the boys just happen to do a bit more of the adventuring! Besides which there are quite a few strong female characters in Enid Blyton books, such as Darrell in Malory Towers and George in The Famous Five. And I don't think that the fact that there are few coloured characters specified is an issue; it never says explicitly that the children etc. are supposed to be white; we just assume this. Alright, its probably true, but a child probably wouldn't even think about what colour the characters are supposed to be, which to me is a good thing. It is only when we stop talking about people of different colours and nationalities that we will have achieved a true state of racelessness....anyway back to Enid!! I have collected Enid Blyton books since I was about 5, and still have the majority of them. Most of them are in a fairly poor condition, as they were normally acquired from car boot sales and charity fetes etc., where I could pick up a few for my weekly pocket money. Bu
t they are all well read, not just by me, but by those who have owned them before me. This just goes to show how many children have had some enjoyment from Enid Blyton's stories. My personal favourites were the 'fantasy' type books, such as 'The Faraway Tree' and 'The Wishing Chair'. Girls and boys going off on amazing adventures, where they might see fairies, or elves, or goblins and giants. The stuff true childrens stories are made of, at least to my young imagination back then! I still have my Enid Blyton books because I think that in a couple of years when my daughter learns to read, she might get some of the same enjoyment I did out of these books, and they are, unfortunately, quite hard to come by these days; most schools have banned them for not being politically correct, as have a lot of libraries, and unless you are lucky enough to come across them at second hand sales, you are unlikely to get them anymore. It is even getting quite hard to find them second hand now. I think it would be a great shame if my daughter missed out on these great tales, so I'm hanging on to all of mine, even if they are a bit battered these days!
I do like Enid Blyton. Especially The Famous Five, but also The Naughty Girl, St Clare's and many others. And I am not ashamed of it. I used to collect them when I was a child. I started when I was 6 and managed to get one almost every month, some extra in Christmas, summer holidays, or birthdays. Of course, they were not the only books that I read, but these were about normal children like me leading exciting lifes. Adventures! We all tried to copy them. We had our own secret clubs, we explored old houses, spied neighbours and loved any small island that could come in our way. They were the reason I wanted to go to a boarding school to the amazement of my parents ( night parties at St Clare's was something we could not imitate so easily). I wished to be George and Dick was the brother I never had (Julian was a bit serious for me). But what I most admired and envied from them was their freedom. We couldn't go cycling or camping for a few days without adults (don't even think about caravaning). In fact, we would never spend a night on our own, without a grown-up supervising. There wasn't the opportunity for adventures. Much as I argued with my mother that other children were doing it, she would say that those children were not real. So I wanted to come to England, see and try for myself. Find the smugglers and catch them. What irony! Now that I am here and children are not even allowed to go to school on their own or to play anything that is considered dangerous. I have tried ginger ale and I don't like it, I go for the lemonade. But thinking about all those pic-nics still makes me hungry. Back home, again in my country on holidays, idle afternoon and siesta time, I might re-read the books. I am a child again and start to dream. Well, I still think they are well written, the language is easy and direct but also real and vivid. You feel t
he situations, even eat the sandwiches or berries with them: it gets you inside. She may be old fashioned, I do not deny it, but the books were written for her time, and children of her time adored here. That is about the best a childrens writer can get.
Enid Blyton is one of the most famous childrens story writer in the world. Her books have sold millions and she is a record breaking author. She has written many books including The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. Enid Blyton is the author of more than 700 childrens books. She was born on 11th August, 1897, in South London. She was the eldest in her family of three children. Her many great books have made her famous world wide and even though she is no longer alive she still lives on through her books. The naughtiest girl in the school/ The naughtiest girl again/ The naughtiest girl is a moniter; This is a three in one book but they do also come seperately. It is about a litte girl named Elizabeth. Elixabeth is a spoilt little brat, then when her nanny wont look after her while her parents are away, she has to go to a bording school called White leaf. Elizabeth objects to this and decides that the only way she is going to be able to go home is if she is so naughty that they'll have to send her home. So, as soon as she gets to whiteleaf she starts misbehaving. She is nasty to everyone and refuses to share her food that she brought with her with everyone else, this soon makes her a lot of enimies. That is the first book, then in the second she continues to be naughty, this time she is more determined to go home. She soon makes a few friends after she starts to show how kind she can be. When she has to give in the money she gets she refuses. Then in the last book Elizabeth starts to grow up and stop being so selfish. The school choose her to be a moniter and Elizabeth finally learns that she is better of being good. This is a great book especially for kids but adults can read it too. Enid Blyton is a great author, her books keep a lot of people happy. Some of them have been made into television programmes, like Noddy. This is now a famous cartoon for the smaller children. It is about Noddy, a little man living in a village with his frie
nds, and all his adventures. Enid Blyton has certainly made reading fun. I love reading her books because they take you to another world and you forget everything around you. She is a great author and deserves a read. I hope you like her as much as I do.
Practically every book on my bookshelf when I was a child was one of Enid Blyton’s. I didn't have all her books, she's written so many that I don't think that would be possible, however I think I have had enough experience of her work to give an opinion... Enid Blyton's books followed this theme- cheerful, imaginative, idealistic and always have a happy ending. The first books that I read by myself as a child were all books by her, and I think it was her style of writing that got me interested in reading, wanting to read book after book. Without this reading, I would be a lot worse off today than I am. Her easy to read, yet stimulating, stories were a refreshing change to other books I had, like the "Peter and Jane" series. This is a common problem with books for children of that age, they are often "babyish" in there style and content, with little gained reward from reading them. Enid Blyton's books however, always gave me reward; looking back at the book after reading it gave me a real sense of pride; - vitally important to encourage young minds to continue reading. The books always had a complete ending, which may not force imagination to be used, but in that age group imagination runs sideways so thought is encouraged no matter how much detail is given. The sheer number of books that Enid Blyton wrote means that there is virtually an endless supply of reading material for children that are hooked. Each of these books is individual in theme and imagination; even books from the same series never had a moment repeated. (Except, of course, for the picnics with fruitcake, sandwiches and ginger beer!) Although the quality of the books may not be up to the standard of books for older people, they are sophisticated enough for first-time readers. When I first started reading, the books were brilliant, however, I am not sure if they can still be used to the same effect now. The language use
d in them has grown old-fashioned, and could be awkward for brains still trying to grasp modern language, and I think the books could benefit from an overhaul. Similarly old-fashioned, are some attitudes and mannerisms presented in the books. Some people may say these attitudes would make a better behaved society, encouraging respect for elders and people in authority, I disagree; many of the attitudes encouraged a society of fear, resent and lack of individuality. Another bad thing about the books is that they are (as I said earlier), always cheerful and could give children the misguided opinion that life is always sweet. Also, the children in the books often put themselves in great danger; fighting smugglers, exploring caves and playing unsupervised, all of which should be discouraged in any situation. I think this was a great children’s author, but I am unsure as to the appropriateness of the books to children today, especially with other great storywriters around such as J. K. Rowling.
Almost everybody grows up reading at least some of Enid Blyton's work. My friends and I spent a lot of time as children in the local library reading as many of her books as we could find. Her work is of such a high standard that it has always been a benchmark for the novels of new writers to be compared to. Although Hogwarts is a truly magical place, the excitement of midnight feasts at Malory Towers still manages to hold its own against the dangers of facing dark wizards. As far as I'm concerned, JK Rowling is a very talented children's author, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating the timeless charm that Enid Blyton has captured perfectly. Some of Enid Blyton's classics include: the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, Noddy, Malory Towers, the Faraway Tree and St Clare's. The Famous Five consists of Julian, Dick, Anne, their cousin George and Timmy the dog. George is really called Georgina, but hates that name and is a bit of a tomboy. Her friends call her George for short, and her character is supposed to be based on Enid Blyton herself. All five friends go around everywhere having adventures, catching the bad guys and drinking as much ginger beer as they can get their hands on. (Personally I think the stuff tastes vile. Maybe it tasted better back then.) The Secret Seven is pretty much the same format: seven friends who have adventures. However, the secret seven have one thing that the famous five don't: a treehouse. They also appear to prefer orangeade/lemonade to ginger beer. Several of Enid Blyton's literary creations have found fame on the television; Noddy probably being the biggest success. The Famous Five have been made into a television series that was shown on CITV a while back, and also released on video. However, Noddy has been more popular, and adored by many as "the little man with the red and yellow car". He gets advice from his friend Big Ears and wanders aroun
d Toyland with a very merry little hat. Malory Towers and St Clare's are both girls only boarding schools, which is why there have been comparisons to Hogwarts by several people. (Not just me!) They're both classics, but more a girl thing. In short, Enid Blyton is a legend. You can find her books in all good bookshops, or in any library near you.
When I was a child Enid Blyton was THE author. Her stories were suitable for small children just learning to read up to teenagers looking for adventure and excitement. Nowadays, it seems that the likes of J K Rowling has taken over the mantle of top childrens author, although it remains to be seen whether or not she can follow up the Harry Potter series with something equally as groundbreaking. Enid Blyton was born in London in 1897, and was the eldest of 3 children. When she was 14, she won a children's poetry competition and after this encouragement she began to submit articles, stories and poems to various magazines. She worked for 5 years as a teacher, and during this time continued to submit literature for many different publications, and then she decided to become a writer of childrens books. A lot of the stories are based around solid family units, and this may have been somthing she craved as her father deserted her family when she was 13. Her first book, a poetry book for children called Child Whispers, was published in 1922. Sunny Stories was the first magazine she wrote for children, and this was published in 1926. In 1938, she published her first full length book for children, and from here she progressed into the major series she is now renowned for. Married twice, she had a daughter called Gillian, who was born in 1931. She died in 1968 with 700 books, and 10,000 short stories to her name. Think about the work of Enid Blyton, and I bet some of the stories listed below are ones you have forgotten about. The Famous Five is probably the one at the forefront of everyone's mind. These were the stories that first made me think there was something exciting outside the bounds of my friends and family. I used to be engrossed in the stories of Anne, Dick, George and Julian, along with their dog Timmy. Julian was like the older brother I wanted. he lead the group, and seemed so matu
re and responsible. I thought that I could be Anne, as she was the youngest girl in the group, but when I think back, she was a stereotypical girl at the time, who loved cooking and cleaning, and generally playing mum. It seems so outdated now. George(ina) was the tomboy and the owner of Timmy. i think I had a crush on Dick. I was young so please forgive me. They were so upper class, but Blyton made a great job of making them appeal to everyone. Then there were The Secret Seven. These were more my brothers taste, and not so much for me. The stories in this series followed the adventures of Barabara, Colin, George, Jack, Janet, Pam and Peter. Together they formed The Secret Seven society, and they held their meetings in a garden shed, wearing badges, and using secret passwords. Susie is the younger sister of Jack, and desperate to be in the group, but finds Jack stands in her way. They are also accompanied by a dog called Scamper. These stories were based on a group of real children. The next set of stories made me want to go to boarding school, as Malory Towers sounded like so much fun. I wanted to be the main character Darrell Rivers so much, as her friends were so much fun, and midnight feasts sounded like the best thing to do. There was also another set of books surrounding a boarding school called St Clares, especially the twins Isabel and Pat, but I seemed to have missed these. Maybe I could start reading them now, just for my daughters sake of course. The Lands of Far Beyond are stories of mystical worlds (not unlike Harry Potter), and in these worlds live goblins, gnomes, brownies, elves, pixies, fairies, witches, giants and wizards, some good and some bad. Humans are not allowed to enter into the Lands of Far Beyond. A brownie by the name of Mr Tumpy, accompanied by a wizard aptly named Spells, explore different lands such as The Lands Of The Clever People using a caravan which has feet and a will of it's own
. They are joined by 3 gnomes named Feefo, Tuppeny and Jinks who run a small shop which provides just about anything including pixies! The stories in this series not only entertain, but stretch your imagination as far as you want it to go. The Noddy series is alive and kicking in my house, and my toddler loves the books, and as she cannot read I do think the reason for this is that the illustrations are so clear and colourful. Many authors may come and go, but I think that Enid Blyton will alays be a household name.
She's sexist! She's racist! She writes about spankings with a hairbrush and sweet little boys and girls being gay! I wonder if Enid Blyton ever realised that she would be seen as a controversial writer in the years after her death. Certainly she's one of the most popular children's authors, along with names like Roald Dahl, Mark Twain and Kate Greenaway. The success and style of comparatively new kids on the block like JK Rowling and Jaqueline Wilson are measured by comparisons to Enid. So what's so great about Enid Blyton? What has she got that is still attracting millions of young readers more than thirty years after her death. It's not as if she had such a varied style of writing that she wrote something to appeal to all tastes. Although Enid Blyton wrote over 300 books in her time, including literally thousands of stories, you can always count on a few "jolly good!"s and "You're simply a brick!" popping up on every other page along with detailed descriptions of the contents of picnic hampers along with lashings of ginger beer. There's something so appealing about the characters and stories Enid Blyton created, that all children seem to have an unquenchable desire to leap into the pages and join them in their fabulous adventures to magical lands, being part of secret clubs, and being caught up in the most thrilling adventures. The first Enid Blyton book I ever read was "The Mystery of Holly Lane", part of the Five Find-outers series. It was also the first book I ever read myself. My mum read the first chapter then refused to continue. I was so desperate to find out about the mysterious old man and the missing money that I stayed up all night and finished the book. From then on I was hooked. The FIve Find Outers are by no means the most popular mystery series, but will always remain my favourite. Here are the most popular mystery and adventure series written by Enid Blyton, al
ong with their main characters: Famous Five: Julian, Dick, George, Ann and Timmy the Dog Secret Seven: Peter, Janet, Colin, Jack, Pam, Barbara, Scamper the dog and Jack's annoying sister Susie! R Mysteries or Barney series: Roger, Diana, Snubby, Barney, Looney the dog and Miranda the Monkey Five Find Outers: Fatty, Larry, Daisy, Pip, Bets and Buster the dog If you're not into secret societies, you could read yourself into enrolling at one of Enid Blyton's ripping boarding school series: Malory Towers: Darrel, Sally, Mary-Lou and Alicia St. Clare's: Pat and Isabel, Janet, Bobby, Claudine and Carlotta The Naughtiest Girl: Elizabeth, Julian, William and Rita For more series and characters, you can visit my website http://www.geocities.com/blytonworld I couldn't possibly list all of Enid Blyton's books here, but I will make a few recommendations from Enid Blyton's library of folk and fairy stories: The Faraway Tree Series - possibly the best-loved Enid Blyton series, although only consists of four books. Naughty Amelia Jane - a hit with mischievous youngsters The Wishing Chair - along the same lines as the Faraway tree only aimed at slightly younger children. The Enid Blyton "Rewards" series published by Dean and Son is a collection of Enid Blyton's best loved story books, and I can thoroughly recommend any book which is part of this series. If you want to know more about Enid Blyton, or just share your passion for her books, there's no need to be embarassed at being a 43 year old Faraway Tree Fanatic. I run a Yahoo group dedicated to Enid Blyton, which you are welcome to join. The URL is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/blyton There have been many books written about this author, the most controversial perhaps being "A Childhood at Greenhedges" by her own daughter, Imog
en Smallwood, who recalls a pretty awful relationship, and admits not even knowing that "the lady with the typewriter" was her own mother for several years. One final recommendation, which I would like to make is to read "the Story of My Life" by Enid Blyton, a simple autobiography aimed at her young readers, which explains some of the ways in which Enid found her characters and the magical places she transported them to. It may leave you wondering if this genius would have been locked up nowadays for a combination of acid dropping and pure craziness.
The Dame of imps and elves, those damn pesky kids and controversial golliwogs: Enid Blyton. I have no intention of writing a biography of her life and comment on her political standing etc., I would rather write about her creations, how they entertained me as a child, and are now entertaining my son (she says, knowing full well that his attention span is that of a fish - but a mother can hope, can't she?). NODDY! Noddy! My first introduction to Blyton's work was the little guy with a silly blue hat, with a bell on top; every time he nodded his head then 'ding-a-ling' went the little bell (Noddy is entertainingly known as Oui Oui in France - I laughed - for about 10 seconds). His forthright and eternal friend was the rather plump Big Ears, a bit of a Father Christmas look-a-like, with pointy ears and never to be found without his trusty red bicycle. The two journey through their Toyland adventures; Noddy, naively, but with the constant guidance of his older comrade. Noddy has the coolest car, a mini/beetle cross breed, that helps him on his adventures, and occasionally sings along with him. He also lives in a pastel building block house, has incredibly friendly teddy bear neighbors (the Tubbys), and is occasionally besieged by the antics of Bumpy-Dog. Mr Plod the policeman provides the light entertainment factor with his interfering and bumbling ways (but we all know he has a warm heart, really). The aforementioned Golliwogs also live in Toyland, and I have absolutely no memories of them being represented as lesser toys, but I notice how they are now omitted from the latest editions of Noddy stories and the televised cartoon. Noddy is delightfully simple in its style; It's full of written sounds (WHOOSH, BANG! PARP PARP! etc.), little sing-song rhymes that Noddy invents off the top of his head (and help you to hold your child's interest when you sing along in a silly voice), short, simple sentences, and sw
eetly descriptive character names (Miss Fluffy-Cat, Bumpy-Dog etc.). Oh, how I loved our little hero's antics: He was always getting into a spot of bother and shaking his head vigorously from one side to another, always in a tight spot with a naughty goblin or two, always making good in the end. Ah, Noddy. My next Blyton discovery was the lesser known Mr Meddle; I'm pretty sure that these stories were written in the '40's, but my earliest edition is 1954: "Mr Meddle was a pixie who couldn't mind his own business. He was for ever poking his long nose into other people's houses. and meddling with whatever they were doing." Mr Meddle is a grumpy old pixie who insists on helping his friends (not that he has many) and neighbors. Disastrous events pursue our hapless hero from venture to venture; he can't even brush his own teeth without accidentally using glue instead of toothpaste, he manages to loose poor Mrs Tilly's baby (when he inadvertently takes the wrong pram from outside the shop), and managed to blow his chances with Sally Simple when he sat on her strawberries - Poor old Mr Meddle! The stories contain the same sort of language as Noddy, maybe a little more dated, and with a smattering of rather shocking character names: Fanny Fickle, Mother Mangle, Sally Simple and the Family Flap (Father and Dame). My brother (older than I), was so fond of the Mr Meddle series (and my poor mother could only find three books - Mr Meddle's Muddles, Mr Meddle's Mischief, Merry Mr Meddle), that I had to make up new Mr Meddle stories on a regular basis, just so that he would go to sleep. Small Interlude: Before I go on with my all time favorite Blyton series, I would like to name a few other titles. They are truely classics, but they just didn't grab my attention and imagination as a child: The Secret Seven, The Famous Five, The Adventurous Four - Adventur
ers ahoy! I never really enjoyed the terribly dated Jolly Goshes and What Hoe comradeship, but worth a mention all the same. Malory Towers and St Clares - I suppose the same goes for these two; dripping deeply of public school girlishness and adventure - Not my cup of tea. Brer Rabbit, Mr Twiddle, The Book of Brownies, The Wishing Chair and Amelia Jane - All worth a childish glance. The definitive Enid Blyton, in my humble opinion, is The Faraway Tree series: Jo, Bessie, Fanny and occasionally their cousins Connie and Dick, have marvelous adventures in the Enchanted Wood, where an enormous, old tree awaits them. This is no ordinary tree, oh no, this tree is inhabited by numerous bizarre folk, and at the top of the tree, shrouded in clouds, is an ever changing passageway to other worlds The children are befriended by Mister Watzisname ("nobody knows his real name, not even himself"), old Saucepan Man (so called because he dresses himself with 100 or so saucepans), Moon-Face (yes, you guessed it, a face like a moon) and Silky the fairy/elf ( all inhabitants of the faraway tree), as they journey into unchartered worlds such as: Take-What-You-Want Land, Land of the Snowman, Land of Spells, Land of Toys and the Land of Tempers. The children (or inevitably, Dick, who has a penchant for sweeties), tend to run into a spot of bother with some unyielding elf, gnome or nursery rhyme character every time they explore a new land. Moon-Face and friends are never far away to help the children out of the pickle they find themselves in, and SOMETIMES, the tables are turned, and the heroic kids have to safe their spritely friends. The Faraway Tree series is not written any differently than Blyton's other books (same simple text and un-taxing singsong style), but the subject matter leaves soooo much for the imagination of a young child to play with. Imagine; what would you do if you could go to The Land of Do-As-Y
ou-Please? This is what Jo, Bessie, Fannie and Dick did: They ate six icecream cones, each! They had six consecutive rides on the merry-go-round, without getting off or paying! Jo drove a train, all by himself.They all rode on elephants, then they all went paddling in the sea, and it was "one of the nicest lands that has ever been at the top of the tree". A little tip to end with: If you have any Blyton books, DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY. I have a growing collection of Dean and Son editions (which I have bought for my son, since my mother had thrown all my books away), which are already worth between five and ten pounds each. Other later editions are still selling for about two to five pounds each, and all things Noddy are incredibly collectible in their own right.
When I was a child, I adored Enid Blyton and had over eighty of her books. Being an only child (until three months ago anyway !), I kept my books nice and neat and still have them today, to pass on to my children. My ten year old daughter loves the Naughtiest Girl in the School series - and thankfully, does not try to emulate her actions ! My seven year old daughter likes the Amelia Jane books the best - the tales of the naughty doll in the child's bedroom, surrounded by the sailor doll, teddy bear and other cuddly toys. There really is something for everyone in Enid Blyton's books, from the exploits of cute little Noddy in Toyland for the youngsters to the exciting adventures of the Famous Five for older children. I loved the stories of girls in boarding schools, being something I never had any personal experience of. It all sounded so exciting, with midnight feasts and shared dormitories. The Malory Towers set of books were my favourites. Mr. Pink Whistle and Mr. Twiddle were comic characters and I enjoyed hearing their stories read to me by my parents, before reading them to myself as soon as I was old enough. Enid Blyton has written a wide variety of books and children have had many years of enjoyment out of them and will continue to do so. However, I cannot write an opinion on her books, without commenting on the negative side - it would not be a fair review otherwise. In recent years, details of Enid Blyton's private life have been revealed and it seems she was far from perfect - but that is not the issue here. Her books have often been criticised for their sexism, stereotypes and racism, and I understand that, but they were a product of their times and should be seen in that context. I do not always agree with censorship, but I think it is right that the modern day versions of her books have been slightly altered, especially with her references to 'gol
liwogs', which can be understandably upsetting and definitely gives out wrong impressions in our multi-cultural society. Where I have no problems with Big Ears sharing a bed with Noddy (and I don't think children would either), I am pleased that the new TV version of the books contain more female characters and positive images. Long Live Enid Blyton - with a few alterations !
I read Enid Blyton as a child and my favourites were the Famous Five Series. At the time I found them stimulating and exciting and could never wait to get hold of the next one. These books helped me develop a life long love of reading. I read my own collection of Famous Five to my own children and they grew up with a love and respect for books. The same set of originals are now being enjoyed by my grandsons. Whoever made the original purchase certainly got their moneys worth!
I'm 17 now and haven't read an Enid Blyton book for a few years because i've moved onto more macabre authors such as King, Herbert and Banks. But, if it wasn't for Enid Blyton, i probably wouldn't be bothering with books at all. I would be just another mindless zombie sitting in front of the t.v. 24/7. I first read a Famous Five book when i was about 6 (although only because i was miles ahead of everyone else in terms of reading age) and ended up buying all of them and some Secret Seven and Mystery books as well. They were what kept me going throughout my childhood and i don't think it would've anywhere near as enjoyable without her. Not even Roald Dahl was fit to scrub her boots. And modern authors such as JK Rowling don't hold a patch on her either. Some of the books may seem a bit outdated and the fact that the kids managed to have 21 adventures within the space of about a year (if their ages in each are to be believed) is a bit extreme, but even so there is no-one else out there to compete as a children's author. So, if you are a child, get out there and find some Enid Blyton books. And, if you are a parent, buy one for your child(ren) and watch their faces light up.