The Enid Blyton Society
Enid Blyton's Treasury
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Book Details...

First edition: 1947
Publisher: Evans Brothers
Illustrator: various
Category: Non-Series Books
Genre: Mixed
Type: Short Story Series Books

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List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations

  1. The Secret of Sky-Top Hill
    Illustrations: uncredited
    Story: Syndicated Story
  2. The Mystery of Melling Cottage {John Hollins}
    Illustrations: uncredited
    Story: Specially Written
  3. Caravan Holiday
    Illustrations: Geoffrey Higham
    Story: Specially Written
  4. The Cheat
    Illustrations: Stanley Lloyd
    Story: Specially Written
  5. A Night on Thunder Rock
    Illustrations: H.M. Brock
    Story: Specially Written
  6. Smugglers' Cave
    Illustrations: Stanley Lloyd
    Story: Specially Written
  7. The Wild West Kids
    Illustrations: Geoffrey Higham
    Story: Specially Written
  8. Number Sixty-Two {John Hollins}
    Illustrations: uncredited
    Story: Specially Written
  9. White Caps
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Sunny Stories No.57 Feb 11, 1938
  10. A Week Before Christmas
    Illustrations: H.M. Brock
    Story: Specially Written
  11. Snappy Dragons
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Sunny Stories No.70 May 13, 1938
  12. Crocus Candles
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Sunny Stories No.62 Mar 18, 1938
  13. "Well, My Father Says . . . ."
    Illustrations: Stanley Lloyd
    Story: Specially Written
  14. The Case of the Five Dogs {John Hollins}
    Illustrations: uncredited
    Story: Specially Written
  15. Tea-Time
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: Sunny Stories No.53 Jan 14, 1938
  16. The Lonely Old House
    Illustrations: Stanley Lloyd
    Story: Specially Written
  17. Good-Bye Now!
    Illustrations: uncredited
    Poem: Specially Written
{ } indicates popular characters where not mentioned in the title

Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrator uncredited

Caravan Holiday illustrated by Geoffrey Higham

A Night on Thunder Rock illustrated by H.M. Brock

The Wild West Kids illustrated by Geoffrey Higham

A Week Before Christmas illustrated by H.M. Brock

The Lonely Old House illustrated by Stanley Lloyd
This is another of the compilations with the accent, this time, on tales that are written especially for the occasion. I counted 214 pages and about 150 of those contain stories and that's not including the bright full-page pictures that accompany some of them. The 1949 edition that was used for a reference contains nature notes as well and there's a foreword by Enid Blyton complete with a photograph of her - not looking quite as happy as she usually does.

John, Molly, and their cousin populate the first story – you can have a guess at his name. John and Molly take him to see an old ruin at the base of Sky-Top Hill because the rumour is that smugglers used to run it as an inn. Depending on how many Enid Blyton books you have read, it may be possible to guess at the general theme of the story. An old chimney is examined and a box is discovered hidden in a space when John pokes at a few dislodged bricks. Inside it is a map with directions that the children follow to a tree and then down a trap door for which they need a rope. One is found. There are the inevitable stone steps that lead them underground into darkness but a torch is found and on they go. They aren't dumb kids so they realize they could get lost and what a good idea it would be to mark the walls with chalk. Some chalk is found. The children find a cave and some cigarette ends that lead them to a conclusion. There's an encounter and a capture and an aeroplane involved so, although it's all been done before, this story has its little twists and turns that make it readable. In fact as this book came out quite early, perhaps there weren't so many Blyton stories that had similar plots. The Second World War had recently ended so accordingly, the bad people in this tale are spies!

John is not fat but he could be nicknamed Fatty because he has his own string of detective stories in this book and the first is connected with Melling Cottage. His Uncle Thomas is an Inspector in the Force and he's come to stay a few days. With a little instruction from him John is ready to use his "eyes and his ears and even his nose" whenever he ventures from his home ground. It's Mrs. Browning of Melling Cottage who has a problem and it's up to John to get to the bottom of it with some commendable analysis and a little poking around. He's still working on the mystery late at night when he can't sleep and if one thinks that using one's nose might not be much help in detecting, one can be proved wrong. Like all the amateur detectives in the Blyton tales, John would probably need a little help to clear things up at the end and who better than his Uncle Thomas?

Jack and Alice's mother fancies herself as a quizmaster, or mistress as it may be, and her kids together with their next-door neighbours (Joan and Richard) are treated to a list of questions about the various birds they see in the garden. For a month the children study the visitors to the bird table and then comes the time to display their knowledge. The reader can also take part by answering each question before reading down the next few lines to discover the answer and there's a good mix. There's also an enhancement in the form of two colour plates that feature a variety of birds drawn by one E. Mansell and they are very good.

On rainy afternoons there wasn't all that much that Jack, Jane and Lucy could do in the Forties so there are several Things to Make sections where Miss Hannah, their mother's old governess, entertains them with her know-how. The first thing the children are shown is how to make a windmill like those ones we used to have with plastic vanes that whirled around when they were held to the wind. Miss Hannah's are made of paper and they work very well.

The subsequent story deals with Geoffrey, Ann, Jenny and Roddy and if you thought that Julian Kirrin was a bit of a bossy boots you ain't seen nothin' yet. Roddy's a rare find because he's an Enid Blyton boy who can drive a car so I guess he's entitled to be a little bossy with status like that. A caravan has been borrowed from a friend so they're right for transport once they've hooked it up to their father's car but we'll just have to wait a few moments whilst Roddy lays down the law by delegating the various chores and ensuring everyone knows exactly where they stand.

"My word's law, see? You all toe the mark on this holiday and nobody shirks or messes about. We've got to pull together if we're going to enjoy ourselves."

He has a few extra friendly words for young Geoff. "If you play any monkey tricks, I'll kick you out."

Friction can be predicted when there are two girls – Ann, who screams at any creature she sees and Jenny, whose culinary expertise extends perhaps to boiling an egg (if she's lucky) and a boy –Geoff, who's a litterbug,. The story is 20 pages long and they're A4 size so it could merit being reprinted in one of those little books containing a single Enid Blyton tale that the Company turns out every now and again. The theme, if it hasn't already been guessed, deals with the slackness of the three younger children and the bitterness it causes. The girls can't get around to tidying the caravan and when Jenny and Geoff go shopping their attention is taken up by a circus and they forget all about the errand so the larder is bare and Roddy has no cigarettes. Now that's enough to make anyone angry and when you add that to a carelessly put up tent, a lack of water because Ann forgot to turn the tank tap off, and then Geoff's crowning achievement, it's time to get really angry. Geoff attaches the caravan to the car in a less than professional way and a terrible thing happens. Enid Blyton allows fortune to smile on them at the end though.

A Nature Quiz with more birds comes along and then a school story that's not unlike a Malory Towers interlude seeing the five illustrations are by Stanley Lloyd. The girls aren't Darrel and Sally though. There's Susan and Molly and Pam, and Janet and their form mistress - Miss Lesley. The story deals with an incident that is an exact duplicate of one that Isabel O'Sullivan endured in the first St. Clare's book. Same outcome as well.

Robert, Rita, and Fred live in a little community similar to Kirrin Bay and there's the required island (Thunder Rock) not far out from the coast. The kids spend a night there with permission and they naturally have an adventure. Conclusions can be drawn when a discovery is made of silk stockings, bottles of brandy, and perfume.

Miss Hannah makes her second appearance and this time she shows the children how to make little paper dolls. Full instructions are included. Another Nature Quiz deals with butterflies and once again there are two beautiful colour plates depicting butterflies of all shapes and hues.

The heroes of Smugglers' Cave are Ronnie, Susie and George and they're about to lose their lovely old home – Grey Towers. A long time ago theirs was a rich family, however an ancestor offended a friend of the King and this resulted in the loss of their fortunes but there's rumour that great-great-grandpa hid some of the jewels. The tale follows the formula and yes, there's a cellar and a passage and a huge wooden door studded with nails.

Peter and Jill arrive next and they're excellent horse riders. They become involved with a circus camped nearby where they meet a couple of circus boys named Sam and Dan known as The Wild West Kids, who show them around. The two circus elephants are Miss Muffet and Polly Flinders, the chief clown is Tickles, there's Madam Lilliput with her performing dogs and we aren't told the name of the circus but one could take a guess at Mr. Martini's Circus because the owner is Jo Martini. An accident befalls one of the circus lads and one or two substitutes have to be found (Peter and Jill are "two"). The middle of the book arrives during this story and it consists of a two-page colour plate featuring the circus parade in the ring of the Big Top.

John appears again and this time a mystery looms up when the boy is sitting at the top of a tree and reading a book. In the time-honoured way, he overhears the low voice uttering a few words and in this case it's –

"Number 62, tomorrow."

True to his detecting instincts, John has to take the mystery on but what kind of a "62" is it? The number of a house? A telephone number? If he can find out what it pertains to he'll have a fighting chance to solve the riddle and he'd better hurry because it involves a kidnapping.

Miss Hannah's 3rd session arrives and this time the children learn how to make an obedient box. This little gadget made out of a matchbox would have been on the list of many amateur magic acts in the early years. It's followed by a poem about snowdrops – "White Caps," and then the stories continue.

We're introduced to the Jamieson family who are engaged in making their Christmas plans. They haven't much money so it'll be a fat chicken instead of a turkey this year and Mother will see what they can do about a tree. Perhaps they'll be able to afford a small one. Betsy wants a big doll and Ronnie wants a box of aeroplane parts and Ellen wants a proper work-basket for Christmas. Calamity strikes when their mother goes to do the Christmas shopping - she loses her bag with all her money in it. Where could it have gone? Perhaps she's dropped it in the snow or maybe left it somewhere. It looks as if their Yuletide will be bleak but the children are good children - they aren't the types that spend most of the time bickering as many Blyton kids do. Instead they rally and sally. They sally forth to take on little jobs for the locals and charge a small fee for their services - perhaps with the hope that God really does help those who help themselves. In this case it seem to be true because they get more than they bargain for.

Here's Miss Hannah again and it's Red Indian hats this time – those ones with the feathers in them. This is followed by a poem about dragons in your garden, "Snappy Dragons," and then another nature quiz about moths. There are two colourful plates – one is of moths and the other of various water creatures one might introduce into an aquarium. "Crocus Candles" is the subject of an eight-line poem.

Next is a school story starring Alan Richards son of Peter Richards, a famous pilot who was awarded the V.C. a D.S.O. and a D.F.C. for his service during the war. The school is West Dunnett but Alan doesn't like the place because whenever he wants to bathe in his father's reflected glory, the other boys put him down. Alan can't think why. After all, he just likes to tell the boys that his father said this and his father said that and surely the boys could shut up and listen. He goes on trying to impress his fellow students with fatherly wisdom and the boys become really annoyed. When they're discussing cricket Alan's voice chimes in –

"Well, my father says that Bradman was ..."

In science class, when the master asks what the boys think are the most marvelous inventions, Alan's hand goes up –

"Sir, my father says that ..."

The teacher is also one of those who are getting a little tired of Alan's habit and then, like the girls did in one of the St. Clare's books when Alison O'Sullivan kept on and on about the thoughts of her friend Sadie, the boys develop a chant and use it whenever Alan starts up with his "My father says" stuff. Thomson, Harrison and the other boys part company with Alan so the boy is friendless except for William Forest who is his sort of friend. Alan's position in class slips, he refuses to join in activities with the other boys, and then out of sheer frustration he ends up hitting Terry on the head with a ruler. James Walker the head boy of the form ticks him off and finally Alan can't take any more so he packs his bag and clears off. He takes the train to Leaton and runs into Mr. Luton who's in the same carriage. Mr. Luton is the singing master and he's surprised to see a boy with a suitcase on the train. Some sorting out has to take place and near the end Alan's father visits the school for Speech Day so let's hope the sorting out has produced results.

Miss Hannah shows Jack and Lucy and the reader how to make a roundabout with little animals on it and after that comes another mystery that needs to be solved by John because Meg, Colin, George and Katie need some help to save their dogs from being shot. Have their precious pets been guilty of a terrible act? In this story Enid Blyton incorporates a similar clue to one that appeared near the end of The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage.

Next is a very cosy poem called Tea-Time and it precedes a Nature Quiz about flowers with colourful pictures added once again and then Miss Hannah shows us all how to make an aquarium. EB has described how to make an aquarium many times over the years and the example created by Lucy, Jack and Jane, with Miss Hannah's help is typical.

The final story is over seventeen pages long and is all about Harry, Cathy, and Dick who are staying at their seaside cottage not far from Kelty Cliffs with their mother's old governess, Miss Truman, who is looking after them. On an exploratory walk with their dog, Kim, near an old empty house they discover a little tumbledown cottage inside of which is a flagstone with a metal ring embedded in the floor so, naturally, the children have to lift it and they do so with the help of a rope that Dick has tied around his waist. They then do what countless other kids have done in past and future Enid Blyton tales – they climb down some stone steps and end up in a Secret Passage. A cellar is involved and a little more exploring brings them to the kitchen of the old house that has footprints showing clearly in the dust on the floor. At night when the children are in bed Cathy hears a car purring down the lane on it's way to the tree-shrouded old house that signifies someone is about to take up occupation. The plot revolves around the house and it has similar tones to Spiggy Holes and one or two other books where the "face at the window" appears. There are a couple of detailed colour pictures as well that enhance the atmosphere.

Very handily just before the end there is a list that gives the names of all the illustrations (not the colour ones) in the Nature Quiz sections and on the last page there's a twenty-two-line poem all about the contents of the book and it ends -
So now goodbye, and let me say
I hope we'll meet again some day!

Harry was a well-used moniker in Enid Blyton's repertoire and it was the name of John and Molly's cousin. Harry's one of those characters who, like the Trottevelle boy (Find-Outers books), likes to carry every conceivable item on his person – just in case and it's the ultimate in Being Prepared. After many years of reading about ropes around waists I thought it would be educative to learn just what it's like so I hunted one out. It had to be long enough to get a child down to the first rung of a ladder inside a shaft, or to let an adventurer drop down onto a cave floor without being crippled. I made it three metres long and thick enough to wrap one's hands around in reasonable comfort. I then tied the rope around my waist and it didn't actually make too much of a bulge but it would have if it had been much longer. So you mightn't necessarily look a Charlie if, thus encumbered, you strolled down the main road of the village - but then again, you might. However, in the storybook surroundings of secret valleys, caves, and tall castles on cliffs rearing above the sea, the encircling rope would probably be quite acceptable despite its slight hindrance to daily rituals. Harry also carried with him the obligatory chalk and a torch.

When I looked upon the glorious colour pictures of birds (The Four Bird Watchers) it stimulated thought. Why is there such a variety of winged creatures? If there had to be birds on the planet, why didn't just one species evolve? How come there are so many breeds with all their myriad colours, ways of obtaining food, means of defence, nest building techniques, and methods of raising their young (look at the cuckoo), and so on? They're nice to look at of course so were they created to supply us with a pleasant feeling whenever we set eyes upon them? I doubt it. The varied selection of butterflies, moths, and flowers also brought up the same question. There are only fourteen pictures of flowers in the book but even that small amount is a source of wonder. There's a Tansy (not a Pansy) which I'd never heard of and there's Wild Arum and Colt's Foot and Shepherd's Purse and probably half a million other species all with their place on the world scale. Why isn't there just one strain that fulfills all the ecological virtues of every plant? On reflection, I suppose we could keep a few cabbages and potatoes and other favourites so that we have a little variety in our food but anyway, one has to admit that Enid Blyton books are food for thought.

Roddy is eighteen (Caravan Holiday) and he's an Enid Blyton rarity because he drives the family car. What other characters could do that? – Julian? Maybe. Jack and Philip? Fatty? I would think he most definitely could - from about the age of twelve I reckon because he's extremely observant and exceptionally bright. As for the girls ... there are some excellent horse-riders amongst them but as far as car-driving goes one could think of Mollie (Tales after Supper) who had a pedal-car and it might be safer to leave it at that although, thinking about it some more, a few of the older Malory Towers and St. Clare's girls might have taken the plunge. The caravan that Roddy borrowed is blue and yellow as opposed to Mr. Ravelini's that was described as yellow and blue (Three Boys and a Circus).

The awards that Alan Richards' father received are the following – The V.C. - The "Victoria Cross" is the Commonwealth's highest military medal and it's awarded for Valour in the Face of the Enemy. The DSO. - The Distinguished Service Order is a medal that speaks for itself. The DFC. - The "Distinguished Flying Cross" is a Royal Air Force medal awarded for valour when flying on active service against the enemy. Despite possessing very little knowledge of cricket, the name Don Bradman rang a bell because I'd read something about him (possibly a comic strip) in one of the Boys' Annuals years ago. He was an Australian cricketer classed as one of the greatest ever and I think that includes the world! Stanley Lloyd illustrated "Well, My Father Says-" and the pictures can be compared with the girls' school story earlier on (The Cheat). A very long bow can be drawn by relating the singing master's name (Luton) to the city of Luton from whence the Luton Girls' Choir originated.

A Blyton aquarium looks attractive and pictures of them can be viewed in several of her books. I used relevant information and pictures to organize my first aquarium although I didn't have access to such a variety of water creatures, as did the author. There's a picture of one made out of an old wireless accumulator in this volume and also a comparable one in Enid Blyton's Book of the Year –Serial Story for March. There's a photograph of another aquarium in Round the Year with Enid Blyton – Spring, and a very similar picture in Newnes' Pictorial Knowledge Vol. 8 – Pets for Boys and Girls so there's a fairly good selection. After years of ignorance regarding wireless accumulators I looked the subject up and it appears that old radios had large rechargeable batteries that were encased in a glass container so, presumably, the battery could be taken out and voilΰ!

Old governesses feature quite regularly in the Blyton books There are a couple in this one and I remember a girl called Gwendoline from the Malory Towers stories who also had a governess hiding in the wings. Like footmen or butlers, the Blyton governesses hang around for years rather than departing to be a governess somewhere else or to get married. "Spiggy Holes" is the name of an old house with a tower that features in one of the Arnold books about the adventures of Mike, Peggy, and Nora. The titles all begin with The Secret.

When I come in at tea-time
I am so pleased to see
The fire crackling loudly
The table laid for tea.

There's honey on the table
And bread and butter too,
And currant buns and biscuits
And seed-cake nice and new

There's mother at the table
Just pouring out the tea,
And baby in her high chair
Waiting there for me

It is so nice and homey
With Mother smiling there,
I think our little family
Is the nicest anywhere!
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