The Enid Blyton Society

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Posted by Paul Austin on September 24, 2017
Jamie: The BBC in Enid's day was quite snobby and elitist, thinking it was bringing high culture and the classics to the unwashed masses. It's sort of like how Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister looked down on Jim Hacker because Hacker "only" had an education at the LSE while Sir Humphrey had a degree in Classics from Oxford.
Posted by Courtney on September 23, 2017
Hi! I'm currently writing a doctoral thesis on Enid Blyton and the Enid Blyton Magazine clubs in particular. I'm wondering if anyone was a member of the Famous Five Club and can let me know what the 'initiation'/welcome materials consisted of? I know you'd send away for a badge and membership card, but were there any further details provided about how to go about being part of the club? Thank you!
BarneyBarney says: I hope you get some responses, Courtney. Good luck with your thesis!
Posted by Ken Sayner on September 21, 2017
During our Heritage Weekend we displayed some Enid Blyton New Testament pictures, in a box of 30 or 36, published by Macmillan and co. ltd. Where can I find information about them please?
BarneyBarney says: Enid Blyton's New Testament Bible Plates were produced in the 1950s to accompany her retellings of New Testament Bible Stories. Teachers would put up the relevant poster ("plate") in the classroom so children could look at it while listening to/reading the corresponding story, or while answering questions about it. The illustrator was Elsie Walker. There was also a set of plates for Enid Blyton's Old Testament Bible Stories, produced in the 1940s and illustrated by John Turner. I believe there were 30 plates in each set. The New Testament Plates came out in book form in 1957, published in two volumes, and the Old Testament Plates came out in book form in 1960, also published in two volumes.
Posted by Jamie Davies on September 20, 2017
Enid Blyton died in 1968 which is almost 50 years ago. It will be 50 years in 2018. Could something be organized in Beaconsfield in 2018 to remember Enid? I think the BBC should say a big sorry for banning Enid Blyton for most of her life. Today we lack so much of Enid in film and radio recordings because of the very bad BBC ban.The BBC Director General should say sorry to everyone because today we all collectively lose out as there are very few TV and radio recordings of Enid.
BarneyBarney says: Blyton-themed events have sometimes been held at Beaconsfield but I don't know whether anything is being planned for next year. We can't blame today's BBC Director General for decisions that were made during Enid Blyton's lifetime! At least the material that is available has now been collected together in the BBC Archives.
Posted by Rob Houghton on September 18, 2017
Hi Jenni - many thanks for your kind words regards my Barney serial! Hope you continue to enjoy it! :-)
Posted by L. Pearson on September 16, 2017
Does anyone remember a short story (possibly by Enid Blyton) called 'Harry and the Haystack'? I thought it was in one of the Naughty Children books but I can't find it and I loved it as a child, so if anyone can tell me where I can find it I'd be very pleased. Many thanks.
BarneyBarney says: I'm afraid I don't know that story but I hope someone is able to point you in the right direction.
Posted by Jenni on September 14, 2017
Barney, this is a message for Robert. Hello Robert, I am really enjoying your Barney mystery and it's lovely it has such a long run. Thank you.
BarneyBarney says: Thank you, Jenni. Feedback is always welcome and I know Robert will be pleased to know you're enjoying the story.
Posted by Kaw Nga on September 13, 2017
I love the Malory Towers series.
BarneyBarney says: I'm glad you love the Malory Towers books, Kaw Nga. They're very popular. If you'd said a bit more about what you like about them (e.g. who your favourite character is, and why) it would have made your post more interesting for others to read. Have you also tried the St. Clare's and Naughtiest Girl series?
Posted by Paul Austin on September 12, 2017
It's been heartbreaking but a comfort is that dementia is a disease that we can one day defeat.
BarneyBarney says: I hope so, Paul.
Posted by Paul Austin on September 12, 2017
Enid falling victim to dementia touched me personally because I had to witness it happening to my father. Dementia turned my father from a kind and gentle man into a paranoid and aggressive person who thought his family were plotting against him. He's now declined beyond that - and beyond remembering much of who he is.
BarneyBarney says: That's sad, Paul. A heartbreaking situation. Enid Blyton would wander off by herself and ask to "go home" to her parents, which must have been a great worry to her loved ones.
Posted by Elizabeth on September 11, 2017
I have been given a first edition copy of The Magic Faraway Tree for my birthday. Looking forward to reading it again I have been surprised that many of the pages are not in the right order and have been sewn in that way. Is this how they were all printed or have I found a one-off? Thanks.
BarneyBarney says: I'm sorry the pages are out of order in your copy, Elizabeth. It may be a one-off or have come from a faulty batch. Unfortunately, errors of that kind don't tend to increase the value of books. I hope you're still able to read and enjoy the story.
Posted by P.Sajeewan Hatangala-Hiru Library for rural children and young population/Hirusa Early Childhood Dev on September 8, 2017
Dear Sir, In 2002 we established a library in our village for poor children aged between 5 and 18, to improve their English language and general knowledge. It is a private welfare project designed by me. This is a non-profit making private institution. We don't charge our library members a fee. We have about 1100 library members from poor families. Through this project, we expect to improve their knowledge of English by letting them borrow grammatically correct, high quality English books. If you were able to donate a set of Famous Five books to us, it would be of great benefit to our children. If you can donate, please send your donation to our postal address by a courier service (because the government tax donations. We haven’t pay tax by our owned money. We manage our institutions by the personal money of the management). We hope you will give kind consideration to us. Thank you. Contact Details:- P.S.Hatangala, HIRUSA EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE, No-141/C-Pugoda Road, Kanduboda, Delgoda, Sri Lanka. Telephone-0711 353650. (If you can donate, please send a reply to us.)
BarneyBarney says: Your library sounds very worthwhile. Best of luck for the future!
Posted by Janet on September 4, 2017
I am trying to get the Christmas Stories tape from 1987 I think with 'A Coat for the Snowman', or the original book. Been looking for a few years. Can anyone help? janlay422@yahoo.co.uk
BarneyBarney says: Email addresses don't normally show, Janet, so I've added yours to your message in case anyone can help you. I believe the cassette you want was first released in 1985 - you can see a picture here. If you put the story titles into the search box in the Cave of Books, you can see what book(s) they appeared in.
Posted by Tix on September 2, 2017
On August 31st, 2017, Molly Walker asked for information about a Faraway Tree illustration. The only thing that seems relevant is the artist who is, of course, Georgina Hargreaves. She's received pretty good write-ups about her large and colourful illustrations. The inside pictures of the original books are in mono unfortunately, but The Folk of the Faraway Tree (Dean edition - 1980s) which is in colour, has the required image on Page 109. Can't think of any other details that might be needed offhand.
BarneyBarney says: Thank you, Tix. Those editions are big, annual-sized books and Georgina Hargreaves' coloured illustrations are beautiful.
Posted by Catriona on September 1, 2017
Just interested to know if anyone knows if the word "dammit" features in the Secret Seven, Famous Five or Mystery novels of Enid Blyton. My poor wee 6-year-old has just been devouring these over the summer and was sent out of class for saying "dammit" today which is certainly nothing he's heard at home. Poor mite didn't understand why he was in trouble and I just wondered if Julian, Dick and George are to blame!! ;)
BarneyBarney says: Sorry your son got into trouble without realising he was saying anything inappropriate, Catriona. I'm sure Enid Blyton never used words like that in her books though. Her characters normally say something like "Blow!" or "Bother!" Can your son remember where he came across the expression? Maybe he just heard someone say it in the street or park or somewhere.
Posted by Molly Walker on August 31, 2017
I need help finding an illustration or some key words, any information on one of the Faraway Tree scenes where Connie is being handed sardine ice cream and there is a kitten next to her? I've spent an hour googling everything and nothing is coming up! I remember finding the image about a year ago and it's my absolute favourite illustration. Also, I had a book that had all of the Faraway Tree books in one, it looked almost like the yellow cover with the blue binder? But it had the same illustrations as the 1985 version. Any ideas?
BarneyBarney says: I know Connie only appeared in one book - The Folk of the Faraway Tree - but I can't find a picture like the one you describe online either. I hope someone is able to help. Regarding the book with all the Faraway Tree titles in one, I know there are/have been Faraway Tree omnibuses titled The Faraway Tree Collection, Enid Blyton Collection and The Magic Faraway Tree Collection. If you search for that kind of thing and select "Images", maybe you'll recognise something. Good luck!
Posted by Glenn on August 29, 2017
Hi there. I have only one Noddy book - Noddy and the Bunkey - which I was given by my Nanna for my 5th birthday. Anyway, when checking it with your copy I noticed my copyright date was in Roman numerals (MCMLIX) and your copyright date wasn't and was wondering why. I also live in New Zealand if that matters. Thanks for your time.
BarneyBarney says: The copy in the Cave of Books is a first edition, Glenn, so maybe Roman numerals were used for later printings. Or maybe they were used from the beginning for some foreign editions. I hope someone reading this will know for sure.
Posted by Paul Austin on August 21, 2017
My feeling is that if they want to make political statements, the activists should leave children out of it. Altering Blyton is like those rallies where adults have brought their children along and have them holding signs that they don't really understand.
BarneyBarney says: A few of the changes to Blyton books have been made in the interests of "political correctness" but the rest have involved modernising the language. The thought behind that is that young readers will be able to understand the stories more readily. However, many fans would argue that any old-fashioned words and phrases can easily be understood from the context and that it's a shame to give children an edited view of the society of past decades - and to alter the flow and rhythm of Enid Blyton's prose.
Posted by Ness on August 20, 2017
Just to let readers know there is a very good celebration of 75 years of the Famous Five at Rosemoor Gardens in Great Torrington, Devon, with an Enid Blyton exhibition and two trails whereby the young at heart have to work out clues in order to solve a mystery. It's an excellent day out, suitable for children of all ages and older fanatical nutters like me! We had a really good fun day, and the prize for completing the task is excellent. It's on until 3rd September so try to go if you can.
BarneyBarney says: Thank you, Ness. I'm glad you had such a great time. I believe similar Famous Five-related activities are going on at RHS Wisley in Surrey, also finishing on 3rd September.
Posted by Brigid Brown on August 19, 2017
In one of the Enid Blyton books (Adventure series, perhaps) the children are involved in an eclipse. I read this years ago and now know a bit about the coming eclipse. Which book was this, please?
BarneyBarney says: You're thinking of The Secret Mountain, Brigid, which is the third book in the Secret series. It's a truly thrilling adventure set somewhere in Africa.
Posted by Bassan Frederique on August 19, 2017
Hello, I'm an English teacher in France and I would like to get my students (12 - 13 years old) to know Enid Blyton better this year, by proposing a selection of books for them to read and tell about in class. I used to be fond of the Famous Five when I was a child and I have a lot of the stories at home, but they are all in French and, as an English teacher, I would like to have my pupils read them in English. I am thus looking for "Famous Five" books that I could be given (sorry, but I have no budget for this project). My question is as follows: could you please send me the name and email address/website of people who could help me gather Famous Five books for my students? Looking forward to reading news from you. Best regards. Frédérique Bassan, bassan@ecs-sallanches.net
BarneyBarney says: I've added your email address to your message, Frédérique, in the hope that someone reading this will be able to help. Other series would also be good for that age-group, e.g. the Adventure books and the Barney Mysteries.
Posted by Andrew Clark on August 16, 2017
Apparently my mother-in-law appeared in an issue of Little Dots Playways years ago in an item she remembers as 'Ann on the Farm'. It must have been an early one as she reckons she was only two or three at the time. I know it's not an Enid Blyton comment but I'd love to get a copy for her if anyone can point me in the right direction? Andrew Clark - Andy740876@sky.com
Posted by Paul Austin on August 10, 2017
Soo: That Noddy book is copyrighted 1987 because that is when the text was revised to make it more "modern". The original book's copyright was much earlier.
BarneyBarney says: If Soo means the Purnell editions with illustrations by Edgar Hodges (1986, 1987 or 1988 depending which title is being talked about), the stories are quite heavily abridged. I assume Soo knows they are revised reprints but wants to make use of that particular text.
Posted by Pete9012s on August 7, 2017
Regarding Pat's enquiry, see here on the forums for the poem 'The Kind Policeman'.
BarneyBarney says: Thanks very much, Pete! That's great!
Posted by Maddie on August 6, 2017
Hi Barney! I'm trying to remember the name of a story about a brother and sister whose rabbit is taken by a fairy queen to pull her carriage. I think it was within a compilation of stories but I'm not sure. If you could find which one it is I would be really grateful.
BarneyBarney says: I think the story you remember is 'The Land of Nowhere', Maddie. It appeared in these short story collections.
Posted by Pat on August 6, 2017
I want a copy of the poem 'The Kind Policeman' from the 1924 edition of The Enid Blyton Book of Fairies. How can I get this please?
BarneyBarney says: Maybe someone who has a copy of the book will be able to type the poem out for you, Pat. If they send it to me, I'll put it up on the Message Board.
Posted by Aminmec on August 6, 2017
Where are publishing houses Armada, Dean, Dragon and Knight in this present day and age? Have they closed down publishing?
BarneyBarney says: Publishing houses often merge or get taken over, so perhaps that's what's happened. I'm afraid I don't know about individual cases.
Posted by Soo on August 3, 2017
How long are the copyrights in place for Enid Blyton's Noddy books published by Purnell with the copyright text 1987 to Darrell Waters? And who holds them currently?
BarneyBarney says: The copyright for everything to do with Noddy is held by DreamWorks Classics. Enid Blyton's books won't be out of copyright until the end of 2038.
Posted by Sam Talbot on July 31, 2017
Can we still post our collected tokens from books to get a Secret Seven Club Pack?
BarneyBarney says: I'm afraid I don't know, Sam, but you could contact the publisher about it. You'll find their contact details here.
Posted by Aminmec on July 30, 2017
With regards to Daughter's post, I'd be very interested in knowing if the 1980s Famous Five covers with the red digit 5 were drawn by the artist in question. I especially liked those. Is there any picture you could mail me of the art to see if the style is similar? Email: amin_mecci@hotmail.com
BarneyBarney says: Email addresses don't normally show in posts, Aminmec, so I've added yours to your message.
Posted by Yazzy on July 30, 2017
Hi there, Just curious - were any of Enid Blyton's characters from the Five Find-Outers or St. Clare's books based on real people? Thanks!
BarneyBarney says: Yes, a few of them were. Fatty was based on "a plump, ingenious, very amusing boy" whom Enid Blyton once knew, while Claudine was inspired by a Belgian classmate from Enid's own schooldays. Apparently she was "extremely naughty, very daring, not at all truthful, and hated games. She was, as our form-mistress said, 'as artful as a bagful of monkeys,' and yet everyone liked her. She would go to great extremes to 'pay back' a slight, or to return a kindness." Plump, amusing, hot-tempered Mam'zelle in the St. Clare's books was modelled on one of the French mistresses who taught Enid Blyton at school: "She did many of the things she does in the books. She flew into rages, she stamped and wailed aloud at our stupidity. She was terrified of bats, mice, beetles, bees and spiders." The girls played tricks on Mam'zelle and she always fell for them, much to their delight. She was theatrical in her displays of anger but she had a marvellous sense of humour and the girls loved her.
Posted by Daughter on July 26, 2017
Thank you for your comment. The plot thickens!
Posted by Daughter on July 26, 2017
Hello, I'm afraid I have a very random question! Is there any evidence to suggest that a woman named Penelope Nelson did any illustrations for any Enid Blyton books? I can't find any, but my father has just died and in a letter written to us he says that he has a painting by Penelope Nelson who was a mum at his school in Chorley Wood and who did some illustration for the Famous Five (which I can't find any evidence of!) It is very strange to have written this in a letter to us. He was of sound mind. Does the name mean anything to anyone?
BarneyBarney says: Sorry to read that your father has just died. I think some of the Famous Five books from about the 1980s onwards have uncredited covers, though I could be wrong about that. Also, the illustrators of Famous Five annuals, jigsaws and audios often went uncredited. Is it possible that Penelope Nelson was one of the uncredited artists, I wonder? It would be great if someone could help.
Posted by Paul Austin on July 20, 2017
To people asking would TV and film companies be allowed to base Blyton adaptions on the original texts. A friend of mine who works at the BBC indicated that any BBC adaption would have to follow the BBC's editorial guidelines so, for example, any story with a racial slur or pidgin "Amos 'n' Andy" type English for black characters would have to be changed. They indicated sexist attitudes wouldn't fly either.
BarneyBarney says: TV and film companies wishing to stick closely to the original text and language would have to choose carefully - e.g. perhaps The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage rather than The Island of Adventure. Normally a few changes need to be made anyway when adapting a book, as things that work well on the page may not work as well on the screen.
Posted by Rachel on July 15, 2017
Thank you for the clarification on the dates, Barney. Much appreciated. 😊
BarneyBarney says: No problem, Rachel. I hope all goes well with your dissertation.
Posted by Rachel on July 14, 2017
Hi, I am writing a dissertation on the relevance of classic children's literature to today's children, looking at stereotypes in particular. One of the authors I have chosen is Enid Blyton because her golliwog books changed the characters' names and then the characters themselves as time progressed. I have a copies of the golliwog collection post 1969 when the characters' names were changed to Waggie, Wiggie and Wollie but I need some examples from the original book of the 1950s for comparison. I appreciate this book is now a collectors' item but if anyone has a copy and could send me two or three screenshots of pages where the characters' names are mentioned I would be very grateful. I am particularly interested in the story 'A Muddle of Golliwogs' but any other will do also. Also the page number needs to be visible for citation reasons. Many thanks. Email: Rachelkclifford@gmail.com
BarneyBarney says: Best of luck with your dissertation. I've included your email address in your message in the hope that someone will be able to send you the relevant pages. To clarify things, the book title is The Three Golliwogs and it was first published in 1944. The chapters had previously been printed as individual stories in the magazine Sunny Stories, some having been written in the 1930s.
Posted by Jenny on July 12, 2017
I have the 1987 edition of The Adventures of the Wishing-Chair. Is anyone interested in purchasing? If so, I will provide all the details. Email: jen.benalla@iinet.net.au
BarneyBarney says: Email addresses don't normally show, Jenny, so I've copied yours into your message so people can contact you if they're interested in the book.
Posted by Fiona Kennedy on July 12, 2017
Hello, I am contacting you from a bookshop in London. We have a customer who would like to contact you but has no access to the internet. Are you able to give me your phone number or mail address that I can pass on to him? I look forward to hearing from you.
BarneyBarney says: Thank you, Fiona. If you click on our "Fireside Journal" button (over on the left) and then on the link that says "subscribing", you'll see our postal address.
Posted by Evelyn on July 6, 2017
Wonder if you can help. I have a Bible inscribed with 'Here is the greatest book in the world. I hope you will read it every day. Love from your friend, Enid Blyton.' Think it was for the Coronation as faded writing on the front looks like EIIR. Any ideas if this is what it was for?
BarneyBarney says: Yes, it's known as the Coronation Bible and was published to mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The message from Enid Blyton was printed in every copy.
Posted by Paul Austin on July 5, 2017
I often see it mentioned in the mainstream media that Enid used East German or Soviet villains but I doubt she'd want to be as political as invoking the Cold War, considering her young readership? Barney?
BarneyBarney says: To be honest, I don't actually recall any Soviet villains off the top of my head. There may well be some but they obviously haven't stuck in my mind. The German villains are mainly in the stories with wartime settings (a notable exception being The Castle of Adventure) so the notion of East/West Germany wouldn't have been relevant. There are also crooks with names which appear to be South American, French and Middle Eastern. However, the vast majority of criminals in Blyton books actually have names which sound British - Stan, Jim, Clara, Dick, Maggie, Raymond, Jake and numerous others.
Posted by Julie@owlsdene on July 4, 2017
In answer to your message, Paul, I wouldn't want to move from a family home no matter how much money I had. A house like that would pass down through the generations. The big bonus also is that it is beside the sea and you own your own island.
BarneyBarney says: It would indeed be terrible to see Kirrin Cottage (together with the island and castle) being sold. I always feel sorry when Craggy Tops and Smuggler's Top are to be sold in The Island of Adventure and Five Go to Smuggler's Top respectively. Such wonderful houses full of character and history, in fantastic locations.
Posted by Paul Austin on July 4, 2017
If Quentin (Famous Five books) does get more money, you'd think he'd move house to a place a lot less vulnerable than a tiny seaside village?
BarneyBarney says: It seems that both sides of the family have strong links to the area though!
Posted by Tix on July 4, 2017
Shadow the Sheepdog is a real favourite but some of the prices being quoted on eBay are outrageous. There's a copy (well read) on Trade Me being offered for just under three pounds, plus postage. It's a 1950 printing with original script and illustrations of course - none of that updated stuff with this one; and naturally it's 'well read' being such a popular example of Enid Blyton's work.
Posted by Tony Baker on July 4, 2017
Please tell me the book that has Noddy driving a train. It has a poem that begins: "We've come to the station to wait for the train - we all want to catch it you see..." I would like to get the book for my grandson and read the whole poem. Yours sincerely, Tony Baker.
BarneyBarney says: I hope someone is able to help, Tony.
Posted by Shruti on July 3, 2017
Hi Barney...please can you tell me if Shadow the Sheepdog will ever be in print again? I have been wanting to read it for a long time. Unfortunately I haven't chanced across a second-hand copy yet. From what I have gathered it is a fabulous book.
BarneyBarney says: Shadow the Sheepdog is a wonderful story, Shruti. In my opinion, Shadow is one of Enid Blyton's bravest, cleverest, most admirable characters! I'm afraid I don't know if the book is likely to be reprinted in the near future but there are plenty of second-hand copies available online so I hope you're able to get hold of one soon.
Posted by Anjali on July 2, 2017
The Famous Five and Secret Seven were the first books that I read during my childhood. These books shaped my personality, career and life. I love Enid Blyton's style of writing and sequencing plots.
BarneyBarney says: Many readers say a similar thing, Anjali. It's amazing to think of the power that stories have - especially stories by Enid Blyton!
Posted by Ella on July 1, 2017
Hi, I love the books you have written. They are so good and entertaining. I am your fan!
BarneyBarney says: Although Enid Blyton died in 1968, her books and characters live on and I'm sure she'd be delighted to know that children around the world continue to love them.
Posted by Aminmec on July 1, 2017
What's in Memoirs of Enid Blyton by Gillian Baverstock? I can't seem to find much detail anywhere.
BarneyBarney says: Gillian Baverstock wrote two books about her mother - Tell Me About Writers: Enid Blyton and Gillian Baverstock Remembers Enid Blyton. The first is for very young children, containing basic information about Enid and her books. The second covers similar ground but in rather more detail.
Posted by Paul Austin on June 30, 2017
Uncle Quentin's work presumably involves either using advanced technology or *creating* advanced technology, so why isn't he rich and famous?
BarneyBarney says: In Five on a Treasure Island it seems Quentin works independently with few resources and that he hasn't yet become a success. Events at the end of that book no doubt give him the means to conduct more experiments and mingle with other scientists, enabling him to earn more money (in addition to the gold) and make breakthroughs in his work.
Posted by Richard Lockwood on June 29, 2017
I have a copy of the Noddy in Toyland book of the play (1956) . The print is upside down in relation to the cover. Is this normal or some kind of misprint? Thanks, Richard.
BarneyBarney says: Well, it's obviously not meant to be like that but it shouldn't make much difference when it comes to reading the book! You could always read it in public and see if people give you puzzled looks!