‘Enid Blyton and the books we loved reading as children’

Nov 10, 2019
Enid Blyton signing copies of her books in 1949. This community writer was a real fan of her stories. Source: Getty Images

There is a pendulum in matters of the world, which swings from one side to another. For example, as in politics in Australia, the pendulum swings from Liberal to Labor. Or in America, from Democrat to Republican. This is so for authors. There are fads and swings in popularity for writers in all genres.

When I was growing up, Enid Blyton was the favourite preferred writer for children in many lands, not only in England where her stories were situated. Did you read Enid Blyton too?

Once I could read, I devoured her books. I started with Noddy, and his slightly gay, all male adventures with Big Ears and Mr Plod. This progressed to the enchantment of The Magic Faraway Tree, then devoted wonderful hours to page-turning ripping yarns, such as The Famous Five. Then Malory Towers, totally English school stories, were very popular.

I loved all of Enid Blyton’s books. I drooled over the descriptions of parties and midnight feasts, with piles of sausage rolls and scones, slathered with jam and cream. Enid taught us to love ginger ale and ginger beer, full of fizz. I became so immersed in the escapades of children named Dick and Fanny, who prowled around half the night with a sheepdog, totally lacking in adult supervision.

But then Enid Blyton’s pendulum swung, she was banned from children’s literature shelves. She was even blackballed by the BBC in England. Children had to read politically correct epic literary giants, such as ‘Miffy has Two Mummies’, or some such nonsense, as well as similar delights.

However, after a time in the wilderness, Enid Blyton’s lack of supposed literary suitability for impressionable children, has caused her books to sell 600 million copies worldwide. Fortunately, Enid Blyton’s popularity pendulum has swung to bring her back into favour once more. New generations of millennial children are learning to enjoy reading, or being read to, the magical enchantment of pixies and trips to strange lands, where an array of children’s and fairies’ issues are always resolved with a happy ending.

Yes, real page-turners. Everything old is new again. Enid Blyton’s books are being reprinted and translated into languages other than English, more than ever before. Reading books such as The Magic Faraway Tree to your grandchildren can teach them the real treasures to be discovered in books that stimulate their imagination. All part of the magic of childhood.

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What books were you reading as a child? Are there books you read as a child you've recommended to children today?

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