I loved to read as a very young girl. I learned to read when I was four and have been devouring books ever since. As the oldest of four girls, I usually only received new books on my birthday or for Christmas. As a result, I haunted our local library, and read everything on their shelves. Enid Blyton was one of my most admired authors and I absolutely loved her books. She wrote over 700 books so there were plenty to choose from. I read as many as I could, the stories about Mr Pink-Whistle and Mr Meddle, the Wishing Chair series of books, books about girls at school, namely, the St Clare series and the Malory Towers series and, of course, the very well known Famous Five and Secret Seven series of books. I managed over the years to acquire them all and when I was twelve I created my own library with library cards and the works. My very favourite Enid Blyton books were, and still are, The Land of Far Beyond (I paid GBP 90 plus postage for a copy of this last year – shhhh! Don’t tell my husband) and the adventure books such as The Valley of Adventure (my personal favourite), The Castle of Adventure and many others.
I have encouraged both my sons to read Enid Blyton’s books and I have also read extracts and short stories of hers to the children in my Sunday School.
There has been a lot of controversy about Enid Blyton and her books, particularly with regards to the quality of her writing and her politics.
So, are her books still relevant for modern children? Many of the issues that were identified in her books have been amended and changed. For example, the gollywog, who was a good character, that featured in her Noddy series of books has disappeared. So, it would seem, that this particular concern is no longer relevant. The quality of her writing? Well, I for one think her simple style of writing is perfect for the age group she wrote for and her creativity is completely amazing. Her stories for older age groups teach children about independence and the idea of going adventuring without adult supervision, while impractical in our modern world, are very appealing to that age group. Her characters are very responsible in her books so she is not sending a message of irresponsible and silly behaviour in these unsupervised circumstances. I find that very attractive in a book series as so many modern books seem to promote rudeness and lack of respect towards authority figures. The modern books about schools also seem to focus on silly and “bad” behaviour in pre-teen and teenage characters to create the humour and interest and I am not a fan of that. My own oldest son tried to melt his crayons on the heater at school, after reading a story in which the main character did the same thing. He also blew pepper right into the fact of my younger son, a chronic asthmatic, after seeing this done in a popular television show.
In summary, in my opinion, Enid Blyton books are still amazing and portals to wonderful worlds populated by Brownies, Elves, Fairies and other magical creatures as well as thrilling adventures where children conquer various bad characters.
So, what do you think? Would you recommend Enid Blyton books to your children?
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