The Enid Blyton Society

Journal 63

What did you think of the latest Journal?

Re: Journal 63

Postby Rob Houghton » 17 Jul 2017, 11:44

Thank you for your great review of my article, too, John! Very nice to hear when people enjoy things (or indeed when they don't!) I enjoyed writing it and look forward to writing other instalments! :-D

Anyone wanting a copy of The Mystery that never was, I have three for sale on eBay (including one first edition which sadly only has a copy dj). If I know its an EB member buying them, I will always give a small discount.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=hough.rob&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xthe+mystery+that+never+was.TRS0&_nkw=the+mystery+that+never+was&_sacat=0
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Journal 63

Postby Courtenay » 18 Jul 2017, 16:28

Still enjoying the Journal, bit by bit! (I haven't made time to sit down for a long read but am just doing a few articles at a time). :D I agree with Lucky Star, One Winter Afternoon is a brilliant and very effective story — unusual for Enid to have a character come so close to actually dying, but she was writing about a very real danger that children could face and I guess she wanted to get her point across unforgettably. Perhaps she even knew of a child who had been drowned, or very nearly, after going and playing on ice that wasn't solid enough.

Just had fun, too, with Prince Furious and the Spanking Slippers — a smashing (or smacking??) little yarn! :wink:

Very much enjoyed John Lester's review of favourite Blyton dust jackets — they do add so much to the appeal of a book, I completely agree. I also particularly love the Adventure series dust jackets and many of the Famous Five.

I was intrigued by the ad from Sunny Stories for The Children's Garden — a book I hadn't heard of before. I see from the Cave it was first published in 1935 and later reprinted twice (the Cave doesn't give the dates) as Let's Garden. I'd love to read Enid's gardening advice some time, if I can ever find a copy!
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Courtenay » 18 Jul 2017, 20:08

Read a few more articles over dinner. Thank you, Anita, for a very interesting review of The Mystery that Never Was — one I've never read. We had it at home when I was little but for some reason the title didn't grab me and I never got around to reading it.

I notice from the Cave (in Julie's review) that the book was declined by one publisher on account of being "racist", which I guess isn't so surprising if the villains are Indian or Middle Eastern. It's just unfortunate and annoying that the stereotype still persists that in all or most of Enid's books, "black and foreign equals bad" — to quote the screenplay writer in Nick Hopkins' article about the Secret Series TV adaptation — as that is simply not true. :evil:

Lovely "From My Window" article by Enid herself, too — even that early in her writing career, she already had the knack for combining vivid descriptions of the natural world with a good dose of imagination. I love the way she portrays the gradual change in the scene — "slow, hardly perceptible, mysterious" — as the daisies close themselves up and leave the field to the buttercups.

"A Letter from Enid Blyton" at the end was one of the most fascinating so far. Young Chris Poole was definitely a very perceptive four-year-old to have noticed the discrepancy between the text and a picture a lot further along — and very sporting of Enid to make sure the text was changed in future editions, even though probably very few other readers (children or adults) ever picked up the mistake!
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Re: Journal 63

Postby John Pickup » 18 Jul 2017, 21:38

I've finally got around to reading my journal and started as usual with Tony's editorial which made me wonder if his tower is as big a landmark as the cathedral in Salisbury.
Straight into Anita's article which deals with a book I've only read once. I always felt that the story had a credible plot-line but borrowed too heavily from other books Enid had written. The characters were bland and lacked substance and after reading the article, Anita confirms my view that this book could have been sharper and more exciting if it had been written 20 years earlier.
It is always enjoyable to read of others experiences on holiday in "Blyton Country" and Emilia Brooks links hers with the Famous Five in an imaginative way.
One Winter Afternoon is another story I have never seen before and I quite enjoyed this tale although the outcome was fairly predictable. How many children are called Fred, Norman or Arthur nowadays?
As a collector myself, I am always interested in others who share this hobby and Don Townshend's article, although short, provided some engrossing information about a couple of Enid's books I have never seen.
Susie was a character I hated as a child but in later years I came to admire her pluck and cunning and gradually realised that she is probably the cleverest of all the children in the Secret Seven series. Julie confirms my views in a very engaging article about a person who won nearly all her battles with the Seven.
I shall continue reading more tomorrow and will comment in due course.
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Tony Summerfield » 18 Jul 2017, 22:26

Courtenay wrote:"A Letter from Enid Blyton" at the end was one of the most fascinating so far. Young Chris Poole was definitely a very perceptive four-year-old to have noticed the discrepancy between the text and a picture a lot further along — and very sporting of Enid to make sure the text was changed in future editions, even though probably very few other readers (children or adults) ever picked up the mistake!


One of the things that fascinated me about this letter was that this was only the second Noddy book, and at this stage there wasn't a mass of merchandise, so Noddy wasn't a household name, yet the first print run of the book ran to 'over 100,000' and a reprint was already needed (the first of many). I wonder how many children's books nowadays would get a first print run of this size. Even the first Harry Potter book had a relatively conservative first print run which is the main reason for the humungous prices of first editions!!
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Rob Houghton » 18 Jul 2017, 22:57

Exactly my thoughts! I was thinking what a big print run that was anyway, and hadn't even thought about the fact that Noddy wasn't really a household name at that point.

I'm always impressed by the amazing number of reprints Enid Blyton's books had - sometimes a second print-run after just a couple of months!
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Journal 63

Postby Courtenay » 19 Jul 2017, 05:52

I guess, even though Noddy wasn't yet a household name, Enid Blyton was, and the maxim "anything will sell if it's got Enid Blyton's name on it" was already true... :wink:
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Tony Summerfield » 19 Jul 2017, 09:34

I am not so sure about this, as obviously the Noddy books were not going to appeal to all those older readers who were interested in her various series which were all underway by this time. They were really aimed at a completely new market of toddlers.
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 Jul 2017, 10:08

It brings up an interesting question, as I've never really been totally sure WHO the Noddy Books were really aimed at! Judging by the stories and pictures of course, they are aimed at 'toddlers' - but they are obviously too advanced for small children/toddlers to read to themselves...which is why I read and collected most of my Noddy books aged 7, 8 and 9.

By that age they presumably wouldn't appeal to many children...and yet their structure, with small print and several chapters, always makes them seem as if they are aimed at older children, despite the content. I guess they were aimed at small children being read to by parents/grand parents/nannies etc but I've always been amazed at how extremely advanced they are compared to books for that age-group nowadays. Most children don't even start reading 'chapter books' until they are around 6 or 7 at least!
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Journal 63

Postby Moonraker » 19 Jul 2017, 10:21

Anita Bensoussane wrote:
Tony Summerfield wrote:I have already searched for Dimmy illustrations, but can only find three - hopefully there are one or two more that I have missed.

Looking in the Cave I can see 7 or 8 pictures of Dimmy in Spiggy Holes and 3 or 4 in Moon Castle.


If Tony can't find what he's looking for in the Cave, what chance have we got! :roll:

I have now read Sheila Ray's article and found it fascinating. I hadn't realised that some of Enid's books were inspired by other. Of course, Stephen Isabirye thought the same, but his ideas were a lot wilder! Maybe Sheila meant boys stopped reading fiction at 10 - just for a few years. I am certainly still reading fiction - at 66.

Ilsa's conclusion of Anne's Journal - although poor Anne left large gaps, maybe just as well or it would be a 50-part article! - was intelligently written and it was masterfully linked at the end to people we would come to know and love. A unique idea well carried out.

Sadly, I missed Courtenay's Controversy post, but I imagine it referred to spoilers. Yes, I am not a great over of plot summaries disguised as reviews, but I still found Angela Canning's article to be a good read. Thrashings a-plenty certainly seemed to be the ordre du jour!

Another thoroughly good Journal that was a pleasure to read, and shows yet again what a really good value magazine it is. I still can't fathom why some of our forum members don't subscribe. Maybe we have different reasons for joining the forums. Some seem only interested in the TV series, for example. Those of us who do subscribe are always rewarded. I have just re-subscribed to the Malcolm Saville Society - £15 for three issues and I find the EBS Journal to be far more interesting. A big thank-you to all contributors and to Tony for putting it all together.

[edited to remove rogue apostrophe]
Last edited by Moonraker on 19 Jul 2017, 12:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Moonraker » 19 Jul 2017, 10:23

Rob Houghton wrote:I've never really been totally sure WHO the Noddy Books were really aimed at!


I read my grandson most of them when he was 3-6 years old. He loved them. Being less intelligent, I think I read them aged around 6-8. Of course, I can't be sure!
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Re: Journal 63

Postby Angela Canning » 19 Jul 2017, 10:32

Thank you.
Angela Canning
 

Re: Journal 63

Postby Julie2owlsdene » 19 Jul 2017, 10:40

Rob Houghton wrote:I've never really been totally sure WHO the Noddy Books were really aimed at!


I've never liked Noddy, and only ever read the first book.

The same with all the other 'fairy stories' of Enid's. They don't rock my boat, either, sadly. :|

8)
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"See that? It's the black Bentley again. KMF 102!"

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Re: Journal 63

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 Jul 2017, 11:25

Julie2owlsdene wrote:The same with all the other 'fairy stories' of Enid's. They don't rock my boat, either, sadly. :|


I guess I'm lucky in that every book Enid wrote (even those I don't like quite so much!) still 'rock my boat' or 'float it'! ;-) I guess it all depends on what you first encountered, and some of my first encounters were the Book of Brownies, Noddy's Big Book, The Wishing Chair and several short story collections, so I was already into the magical stories from a very young age. :-)
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Journal 63

Postby Rob Houghton » 19 Jul 2017, 11:32

Moonraker wrote:Yes, I am not a great over of plot summaries disguised as reviews, but I still found Angela Canning's article to be a good read. Thrashing's a-plenty certainly seemed to be the ordre du jour!


I also quite enjoyed this one, as its a while since I read the book all the way through (not since a child) and I'm unlikely to reread it any time soon - even though I now have a first edition in a dj. It always intrigued me as a child, as the only Dame Slap I had come across was the one in the Faraway Tree books, so this one was a complete surprise to me! I also loved the illustrations...and again, in my old glazed-board version, many of the illustrations are coloured in with very bright felt pens which stained through the page! :-( That's why I bought a first edition that was unspoiled!

This was a great Journal - I think it was one of the best, though of course they are all good. We all have our favourite articles, and our least favourite - but I still read each and every one. Well done to all the contributors. :-D
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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