The Enid Blyton Society
Sports and Games
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Book Details...

First edition: 1924
Publisher: Birn Brothers
Illustrator: Richard B. Ogle
Category: One-off Character Books
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Books

On This Page...

List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. An Exciting Football Match
    Story: Specially Written
  2. Hide and Seek
    Story: Specially Written
  3. The Lost Kite
    Story: Specially Written
  4. Scooters
    Story: Specially Written
  5. Joan's Cricket Match
    Story: Specially Written
  6. An Exciting Tennis Party
    Story: Specially Written
  7. A Rowing Adventure
    Story: Specially Written
  8. Swimming Lessons
    Story: Specially Written
  9. Sailing Ships
    Story: Specially Written
  10. Spinning Tops
    Story: Specially Written
  11. A Hoop Race
    Story: Specially Written
  12. Tobogganing Fun
    Story: Specially Written
Cover, title page and illustrations by Richard Bertram Ogle.

Dutch Edition
It's worth going back to the re-discovery of this book which is so old that it features on the first page of entries in the Summerfield Bibliography. Around 1994/1995 the inhabitants of the Enid Blyton World were agog because an important "Find" had been made. I gather (surprisingly) that neither Buckingham Palace nor the House of Commons was informed but the Blyton fans learnt about it immediately. The details couldn't be reported in The Enid Blyton Literary Society Journal (the forerunner of the EBSJ) because the discovery predated that august periodical and, come to think of it, even a few EBSJ subscribers weren't in their present incarnations back then.

An older publication needed to be searched out and the first mention of Sports and Games that I could find was in the quarterly newsletter which was called — "Green Hedges Magazine." It was just a tiny snippet in the December, 1994 issue which asked the question —

"Does anyone know anything about it? Fourteen pages, twelve stories and five colour plates. No publisher, no date, but the plates are signed OGLE"

There was a follow-up in the next issue — "The book is undated but has the distinct 'feel' of early twenties ... or a little earlier. The dress of the children bears this out ... the book might even predate 'Child Whispers.' Any ideas?"

Green Hedges Magazine, Christmas, 1995: "Barbara Stoney tells me (Michael Rouse) that after looking through some of her old research material she has managed to solve the mystery concerning the publication of "Sports and Games." The twelve stories were written between 20th August and 4th September, 1923 and were bought outright by Birn Brothers on 30th October of the same year. The book was then published a year later in October, 1924.
There's Peter, John and their sisters — Betty and Joan. Each story is about one page long so the interest is hardly likely to wane. The title of the booklet reflects a theme that deals with various activities the children take up during the year. There's an exciting football game in the January story. The boys take part in it and the girls watch them kicking the goals that win the match.

It's Hide-and-Seek for February and it reminds me of a game I took part in a long time ago. What happens in the story happened with us when we looked in every possible place the house had to offer yet we couldn't find our "man." We gave up and it was revealed that he had climbed up the dresser to squeeze himself into a partly empty kitchen-cupboard. In the story, Cook is roped in to find the children and she manages to locate John, Peter and Betty but Joan has disappeared and the others are at a loss — where on earth can she be? Cook returns to the kitchen to see how the meat is doing and the three children begin to feel a little frightened — they can't think where else to look for the missing Joan but then a chance discovery reveals her hiding place.

The March winds call out the kites and in April it's scooter time. Each tale has the little EB twist no matter how small so the story doesn't only relate the different activities they pursue. May contains a lovely picture of cricket on the village green (as you can see because this site has all the illustrations posted up) with Joan catching the ball.

"Anyone for tennis?" That's the theme for June. Betty takes it into her head to help John with his practice and she picks up so many tips that she becomes very skilful. The children and their parents are invited to a tennis party and as John and Betty are the only tennis-players in the family they take part and Betty excels herself. She's even better than John and when the tournament is over she and her brother take away the first prize.

Next there's an autumn picture of the kids by the river with their ships. It's July and the children go out all by themselves in Uncle Harry's boat. This is something they had been told not to do because their mother wanted Jim the boatman to go with them but he wasn't there. Tragedy is expected if one knows the Blyton Way and sure enough tragedy takes place. It's early beds for all of them when they arrive home but Rover the dog, who had accompanied them, is rewarded because he saved someone's life!

August and September go by with swimming lessons and a bout of ship-sailing. When they arrive at the pond they see a rather nasty little boy who jeers at them and then he sees some ducks which act as targets for a little stone-throwing. Now when you throw stones at birds in an Enid Blyton story you are setting the stage for something horrible to occur. If you can't recall what happened to Jock when he threw stones at a baby swan then let me tell you — the great big father-swan waddled up to him and broke his arm with one powerful blow of its wing. Well, the little boy in this story gets punished as well — although, less violently.

Something you don't see much these days is kids spinning tops. One day in October Peter, Joan, Betty, and John are a little sulky and rather bored because they've been told to stay in the yard until the grass dries out. However, they're innovative children so they beg some string off the cook to make whips and have a great time spinning their tops on the concrete. Mother is so impressed with their efforts to cheer themselves up that she takes them to the circus.

In November their neighbour, Mrs. Brown, holds a hoop-race on the driveway down to her house and everyone's invited but poor Peter has to stay in bed because he's ill. Betty, John and Joan are good-hearted siblings however and after the hoop-race they're able to share some of the fruits of their endeavours with their sick brother because prizes were awarded to the race-winners.

What better month is there for tobogganing than December with thick snow covering the ground at Christmas? They need the "necessary" of course but that's easily obtained —

On Christmas morning what do you think they found? Why, at the end of John and Peter's bed was a bright blue toboggan, and at the end of Joan and Betty's a red one.

What an enjoyable time they have when Daddy takes them away up the hill to christen their presents and after much fun and frolics they're off home for dinner which includes a big Christmas pudding. It's been twelve months of games and they're looking forward to more next year and this historic little booklet now ends with another old-tyme picture of the children plus their toboggans careering down a snowy slope.

The colourful vintage illustrations (viewable on this site) may whet your appetite to possess a complete copy so that the stories can be read in full.

The Summerfield Bibliography can still be bought and it's well worth getting — in fact I think it's essential for a serious collector and extremely advantageous for one who dabbles.

Barbara Stoney authored Enid Blyton — A Biography.

The late Michael Rouse was the Producer/Editor of Green Hedges Magazine.

The very sad tale of Jock's stone-throwing and the poor duck whose leg he smashed can be found in Enid Blyton's Third Bedside Book.

"Lashings of Joy at Blyton Find" headlined the Sunday Telegraph in April of 1995. Gillian Baverstock (Enid Blyton's daughter) and Richard Walker (Chairman of The Enid Blyton Society) had their comments about it noted, and a few days later, Oliver Morgan of the Sunday Express penned a further article about the wonderful "Find."

Such a rare book is hardly likely to come the way of collectors these days but that's reckoning without the existence of The Enid Blyton Society which has taken into account the yearnings of the Enthusiasts and has therefore brought out several beautifully crafted facsimiles which I think I'd almost prefer to the real article because of the quality ... the techniques of book-reproduction are so advanced these days. Sports and Games which has been printed by Parchments of Oxford would immediately enhance one's own collection — in fact it would be desirous to have several copies of extremely old Enid Blyton books in your book-case but the problem is to find them and then to pay for same. Enid Blyton Society members are privileged of course because only they are allowed to buy the facsimiles — but ... what's the use? How could one afford to pay for such a perfect copy of Sports and Games or any other reproduction with the lovely pictures and atmosphere of the early 1920s? I don't want to be responsible for the possible consequences if I revealed the price because the happy shock might cause one to fall over and hit ones head on the coal-range so all I will say is that the details can be tracked down on this site.

I noticed a comment in an article snippet (GHM) entitled "Rarity Rating" —

Incidentally, has everyone noticed how all the copies of the special (facsimile) edition of Five on a Treasure Island quickly disappeared from the shelves — a rarity to come perhaps?

Sports and Games may suffer the same fate.

(Tony adds: I was recently approached by someone from a Public Relations firm who wanted to buy 50 copies of Sports and Games to send to clients in order to publicise the Olympic Games. I told her I didn't have that many copies and anyway they were only available to Society members. She phoned me again the next day and asked if she could become a member and buy all the copies that I did have. She wasn't very pleased with my answer!)