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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!
Posted by Ann on June 28, 2017
This is a message for Paul Austin. The Family at Red-Roofs is available on eBay new or used. Hope you get one.
Posted by Joanne McNicoll on June 22, 2017
Can someone help? Been looking for a copy of the short story 'The Land of Nod' - where two noisy children end up at the top of the Faraway Tree and learn the importance of being quiet sometimes or they will be put to bed. Can anyone help? Thank you.
BarneyBarney says: Ah yes - the story you're looking for is actually called 'Two Noisy Children' and the land the children visit at the top of the Faraway Tree is the Land of Sound-Asleep. If you go to our Cave of Books (see button over on the left) and put 'Two Noisy Children' into the search box, you'll see which books contained that story.
Posted by Paul Austin on June 22, 2017
Wish I still had my copy of The Family at Red-Roofs. It's criminally underrated.
BarneyBarney says: It tends to be rated highly by people who read it, but many readers of Enid Blyton only know the main series like the Famous Five, the Faraway Tree, Malory Towers, etc.
Posted by Steven on June 22, 2017
I am trying to purchase copies of the original versions of the six books that became the Riddle Series. Any advice?
BarneyBarney says: You should be able to find second-hand copies of the original versions online, Steven. Their titles are Holiday House, The Mystery That Never Was, Adventure of the Strange Ruby, Hollow Tree House, The Treasure Hunters and The Boy Next Door. They often come up on sites like eBay, or you could try the sellers we've listed under Lashings of Links (see button over on the left).
Posted by Paul Austin on June 18, 2017
It seems to me entirely pointless to have altered Jill and Mary which are fairly timeless - there isn't even the argument that today's child readers might find the names funny or obscene - and it feels a bit silly to 'update' names in a book that, unusually for Enid Blyton, is actually firmly situated during WWII! (Unless of course that's also been altered...?)
BarneyBarney says: I think various details have been altered so it's no longer as clear that The Adventurous Four is set during the Second World War. However, part of the plot relies on a gramophone so if that hasn't been changed it will be obvious that the action is set some decades ago.
Posted by Scot on June 15, 2017
I do wish they wouldn't modernise the St Clare's books. I've just bought the first three and they've all been modernised. One bit I noticed is when Isabel and Pat are at a midnight feast and Mam'zelle catches them. The original said she'd box their ears - but the copy I've got merely has her threatening to scold them. Another modernised part is when Matron threatens Janet after Mam'zelle becomes poorly. The original copy says she'll spank her - but this one merely says she'll punish her. And finally, in the Second Form book, when Mirabel is playing the fool, the first copy says Carlotta boxed her ears - but this copy says she merely trod on her toe. Why do they have to modernise them? It spoils the books!
BarneyBarney says: Treading on someone's toe to punish them just doesn't have the same impact!
Posted by Jane on June 5, 2017
I've got an Enid Blyton book called The Flying Goat. Please can you tell me how old this book is? I've looked on your website and it isn't listed. I've been collecting Enid Blyton books for years and this book I'd never seen before until I picked it up from a shop. Thank you.
BarneyBarney says: The Flying Goat is listed on the website, Jane. You can see it here. It's one of the Pitkin Pleasure Series and it was first published in 1951.
Posted by Scot on June 4, 2017
They shouldn't modernise the Malory Towers or St Clare's books - they weren't meant to be modern. They should stay true to the era they're set in - obviously early post-World War II.
BarneyBarney says: Just about all of Enid Blyton's books have undergone some modernisation but many readers would prefer to have the original text. The St Clare's series was written during the Second World War but it's set in a fictional early 1940s with no war.
Posted by Natalie on June 4, 2017
My daughter has been collecting the 70th anniversary editions of The Famous Five. She has books 1-15 but we cannot find book 16 anywhere. Has this been published yet? If not, does anybody know when it will be?
BarneyBarney says: Unfortunately, only the first 15 Famous Five books were published as anniversary editions. Since then, all 21 books have been released with new covers by Laura Ellen Anderson.
Posted by Scot on June 2, 2017
Hi, Barney. I only meant that one copy of First Term at Malory Towers had Darrell slapping Gwen for bullying Mary-Lou - and another copy said she only shook her. Another bit that was reprinted was when Alicia asked if she should cut Gwen's hair - the original said she'd spank her with a hairbrush. I loved the books as a boy - and still do now.
BarneyBarney says: Ah yes - I see what you mean, Scot. It's a shame details like that have been changed in the name of modernisation. Readers who read the original text absorb a great deal of fascinating social history while enjoying a cracking story.
Posted by Scot on June 1, 2017
Hi, Amanda (March 19) - I'd see if there's a local bookshop that would buy your Noddy books. There's a bookshop near where I live that buys second-hand books and sells them on - it's called Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland. I'm sure they'd buy them. I loved the ink blot trick in one of the St Clare's books - I played that on my teacher once back in my native Glasgow. Why did they reprint the Malory Towers and St Clare's books? I loved them and so did my brother David.
BarneyBarney says: Thanks, Scot. I'm not sure I understand your question about the Malory Towers and St. Clare's books. Books will go on being reprinted if they're popular - and most of Enid Blyton's certainly are!
Posted by Hope on May 31, 2017
"Lashings of ginger beer" doesn't even make sense as lashings imply something hard and solid and ginger beer is a liquid.
BarneyBarney says: If you know the origin of the word, it makes sense. An old meaning of "to lash" was "to lavish" or "to give in large quantities". "Lashings of" is related to that.
Posted by Hope on May 30, 2017
Has anyone to do with Enid lived past 90 or 100?
BarneyBarney says: Marjorie Davies, Enid Blyton illustrator, lived to be 101.
Posted by Samantha M on May 29, 2017
Hi. I have a 1990 copy of A Book of Brownies. I believe the book to be a misprint or a prototype as it is missing signature, series list and the pictures are in an orange-looking colour inside. Would this book be worth anything?
BarneyBarney says: I doubt the book would have much extra value but you could put it on a site like eBay and see what you get for it.
Posted by Margaret on May 27, 2017
I have been given a Bible with a Christmas message by Enid Blyton handwritten on the front book plate. Is this one of many or is it quite rare?
BarneyBarney says: I believe it's a printed message that appeared in all the Bibles, even though it looks handwritten. Nevertheless, it's a nice item to have.
Posted by Sarah on May 24, 2017
I have been desperately searching for the pocket library collection - is there anywhere I can still buy these? :)
BarneyBarney says: Do you mean the Parragon Pocket Library books, Sarah? You may be able to get them second-hand from sites like eBay or Amazon, or from the sellers we list under Lashings of Links (see button over on the left).
Posted by George Johnson on May 22, 2017
Is the name NODDY still copyrighted?
BarneyBarney says: It probably depends how people want to use the name. Certainly the character of Noddy is still under copyright until the end of 2038. If in doubt, check with DreamWorks Classics who own the Noddy copyright.