Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reading Throwback: Enid Blyton

So recently, I was thinking about the books I read as a kid, and Enid Blyton was one of the first few that popped to mind. So I started listing the books that I loved (more than the others) and...

it turned out to be a long, long list. So if you're an Enid Blyton fan, take a trip down memory lane with me!

Tales of Long Ago is actually a collection of Greek Myths! So yeah, I have Enid Blyton to thank for introducing me to the greek myths. There's the story of Pandora's box, Echo and Narcissus, Midas, Cupid and Psyche, etc.

I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading this book, getting to know the myths!

Tales of Brave Adventure is about Robin Hood and King Arthur!! How Robin Hood and the Merry Men came to be, the enchanted sword, the adventures of Balin, etc. I remember that the death of Robin Hood and the passing of King Arthur always made me sad.

Wow, haven't thought of these books in a long time! I only remembered them today, when I was trying to recall what Enid Blyton books I've read.

And now you know - she's also the one who introduced these myths and legends to me.

I think a lot of people will remember/love The Naughtiest Girl series!

By the way, most of the covers here are the same as the ones on the books I own. I don't quite like the newest ones because they look so cartoonish, when the books are anything but. I think the older covers are better.

Digression aside, I used to wish I could go to Whyteleafe! I mean, I wanted to go to ALL her school, but quite possible Whyteleafe the most, because the students govern themselves! So cool, right?

And I just realised that I don't know the piano piece that Elizabeth liked! (I'm looking at the Enid Blyton society page, cause they have the covers I want). Anyone have any idea what it is?

Oh, and Enid Blyton only wrote the first three books, which I loved. I think I read the later books by the other author, but they absolutely didn't leave an impression in my mind AT ALL.

Enid Blyton originals are the best, I think.

The Secret Series!

The first book, The Secret Island introduced me to Jack, Peggy, Mike and Nora, and make me want to live on an island! Of course in real life, I'd probably die because I need proper toilets (Japanese toilets, preferably), but whenever I reread the book, I want to stay on the island with them!

The second book introduced Prince Paul of Baronia, who is in the rest of the books too.

I know I've read (and own) the first four books, but as for the fifth and last book, The Secret of Moon Castle, I cannot remember if I read it!! Parts of it sound super familiar, but parts don't. And I don't recognise a single cover either >< I have to go home and check, and reread this series too!

I think the Famous Five series is Enid Blyton's most famous series. I saw this cover (Ok, this style of cover) all the time when I was younger.

I think everyone has their own favourite character, but mine was probably George. Second was Anne hahahaha.

Oddly enough, I don't have a favourite book in the series. Actually, I probably prefer The Secret Series, but the Famous Five is also fun, and there are a lot of books.

More to read = good, in my opinion

Oh, there's one book that I remember more clearly than the others - Five on Finniston Farm. But this is probably because I found a super old copy of the book at the MG carnival rather than anything special about the story. I do really like stories set on farms though.

And I remember watching a film (not in English, I think?) adaption of the Famous Five a few years back. But when I went to Google, I found a TV series and even a cartoon so... Can't remember what I watched!

Of course, I can't forget about the Faraway Tree!

Basically, I used to spend my holidays in Malaysia, so I have a lot of books there. Among them would be this Faraway Tree collection, and I'd bring thing huge hardback up to my room and put it near my bed, so that once I woke up, I could read without having to leave the bed. Those were the good old days of sleeping until 12! Now I feel guilty is I sleep until 10.

I guess one big appeal of The Faraway Tree (apart from the slide down - no wonder I was so excited at the Changi slide!) was that these kids could travel to all sorts of exciting lands without having to leave home! Best of both worlds, for sure!

Plus, the worlds were those that, as a kid, I always wanted to go to! Land of Goodies, for one!

And the other books I used to read a lot would be the Wishing Chair collection! Considering where I put the books, it's a wonder that none of them fell on my head!

The wishing chair is another way to travel - actually, I want the chair now, so I can go home, visit friends in London, Australia, Edinburgh, etc.

I sort of remember there being a wishing-chair/faraway tree crossover story, but I can't remember the particulars! More reasons to go home and do an Enid Blyton readathon!

This book is another favourite of mine! Although I have so many favourites the word is starting to lose its meaning.

Anyway, the Family at Red Roofs is like what the title says. At first, they seem to be a super happy family, but then tragedy strikes, and they're in danger of losing their house.

I guess the reason why I love this book is that though the characters (especially the two oldest children), seem too good to be true sometimes, they all make sacrifices. Real sacrifices that involve them giving up things that they love. Which I guess is why they don't count as Mary Sue/Gary Stu-type characters to me.

And I guess one of the good things about Enid Blyton is that her characters are very proactive and practical. They don't wait to be rescued, they do things to help. Sometimes they make the wrong decisions, but they're kids, so it's expected. Their heart is always in the right place.

I guess it's a good thing they were role models for me.

And this is the reason why I wanted to live on a farm. I mean, Enid Blyton managed to make farm work, which I'm guessing is back-breaking and smelly, sound attractive.

Definitely a genius, if you ask me.

And here's another animal book from here:

The Children at Green Meadows is about an animal loving family at the edge of financial ruin. But despite their financial constraints, the kids find a way to take in animals in need from the people who just moved into the "no animals" housing estate.

And this is the book that made me want to live in a houseboat! The first book in this series is The Caravan family, which I remember reading, but I own a copy of The Saucy-Jane family, so obviously I know this better.

It's basically about a family taking a holiday. Nothing much happens, except for the fact that every time I read this, I want to live on a houseboat! Too bad my parents will probably get seasick.

And I think I shall stop here. There are still a lot of books I haven't talked about, like Mallory Towers and St. Clare's, or Mr. Pink-Whistle or the Three Golliwogs, but if I keep going on, I'll never stop, so here's an arbitrarily drawn line.

I have so many books I want to re-read now! How about you? Did you read Enid Blyton when you were growing up? If you did, what was your favourite book?

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