Enid Blyton Books

Enid Blyton was my first writing heroine. Though the first ever book I read was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Enid Blyton books were much more prevalent. She died before I was born, but her popularity continued well after her death, and continues today.

Children of Cherry Tree Farm book cover, still got it!

Bimbo and Topsy I love it!!!Naughtiest Girl

Starting with Bimbo and Topsy (we had a cat named Bimbo after this book), progressing through Pip the Pixie and Mr Pinkwhistle and onto The Children of Cherry Tree Farm. The first book I ever got to choose and buy for myself was a sixty pence paperback, The Naughtiest Girl In The School (the irony was not lost on me). I’ve still got The Naughtiest Girl, and I read it hundreds of times.

I loved Enid Blyton books as a child and was still reading the Famous Five and the Mallory Towers series when I was fourteen, in between the Dickens and John Wyndham. They were my comforting trash when other children were watching Neighbours. I’m not ashamed to say that my writing has been heavily influenced by Blyton.

The most recent Blyton I’ve bought is The Six Bad Boys which was first published in 1951 but reprinted in 2001. This is an incredible leap from her usual fluffy fairy stories and is about a group of children who end up in juvenile court. Although it is still as riddled with racist, sexist and classist bloopers as her other books, it is at least a genuine attempt at social commentary.

Even though my life was nothing like the jolly old lashings of ginger beer life enjoyed by the lovely tomboy George and her faithful dog Timmy, I could still dream. And one day, one day, I was determined that I’d get to do all of those daring things and go on those exciting adventures. Boarding school was my chief ambition, but I would have settled for a camping trip with a group of friends on an island or a night in a lighthouse.

When I did eventually get to boarding school, I was sorely disappointed that it didn’t have its own swimming pool carved out of the rock and filled by the sea at every high tide. It didn’t have stabling or hockey, or even midnight feasts. And I never once met anyone like Darrell Rivers, for whom I had a passion that almost rivalled the pash I had on George.

Enid Blyton is still popular today, rising above politically correct protests. I had a friend who banned her daughter from reading them. Unfortunately this resulted in the books becoming exceptionally desirable objects, as were toy guns to her brother. For my own son, we decided to ban guns and sexist books up until he was old enough to understand why they were banned. Now he’s reading Five go to Mystery Moor and enjoying it, while also being able to discuss any issues that arise.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


8 Responses

  1. Always good to read about swimming, my ex was an olympic swimmer..

    Can I ask though – how did you get this picked up and into google news?

    Very impressive, is it something that is just up to Google or you actively created?

    Obviously this is a popular blog with great data so well done on your seo success..

  2. ooh, google news? no, nothing I did deliberately. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. My mother learnt how to read english with Enid Blyton books so she never banned them- I think they are perfect mileage . I would read one a day for weeks on end when I was six or seven…
    LOVED the secret seven!

  4. Hello ,

    Yes no doubt Alys told you about our mother’s attempt at banning Enid Blyton, which was sort of like using your hands for an umbrella , as she was the local librarian and we were allowed to run amok amidst the books in the children’s section. Iin the end her patience and energy levels won out over her social concience.

    I LOVED Children of Cherry Tree Farm, and Enid Blyton was my favourite author from six through to seven and a bit – when I deserted her for Noel Streatfield.

    Interesting that your pash was on Darrell Rivers – far too goody golly gosh for me. I always wanted to be the wicked glamorous one – was it Alicia?

    Well done on your book Jo, thoroughly enjoyed it!

  5. rgoodchild, I loved the Secret Seven too! When I was a bit younger than when I got into the Famous Five and a bit older than Bimbo and Topsy, that was probably the appeal of Enid – that you could read her books throughout your childhood.

    Carole, yes and I was banned from them at school as well, but banned books hold more of an appeal, don’t they? Yes it was Alicia, I don’t know maybe it was because Darrell was the hero. Thanks for the well done on the book, glad you enjoyed it!

  6. I sometimes think Enid Blyton was a better writer than she was given credit for. I have a vivid memory of a scene at the end of Six Cousins at Mistletoe Farm. All the way through, the reader has seen the housekeeper through the eyes of the children, so she’s dependable and always there for them and so on. Suddenly, at the end of the book, you get a view of the housekeeper through the eyes of the baddy – and all he sees is a fat old woman snoozing in a chair in the kitchen – and you hate him for it, on her behalf!
    It taught me a lot about different points of view in fiction.

  7. I love enid blyton books :~P I’m still reading the folk of the faraway tree :~)

  8. Just read “The Magic Carpet ” to my friends kids the other night !! Also love the Mallory Towers books, have a hardback set , read them at least once a year ..no, really 🙂

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