Enid Blyton is a name which instantly brings back sweet memories of our childhood reading habits. Blyton was a dedicated author who wrote some 700 books between 1922 up till her death in 1968. A voracious writer, she often rumbled out 6,000 words a day on the typewriter.
From Famous Five to Noddy, Enid Blyton’s books and characters have captured the hearts of readers all over the globe. They have also inspired a thirst for action in more than 600 million books. These books have never gone out of print, and have maintained a devoted fanbase amongst young readers for decades.
Besides all the love, Blyton has also received a lot of flak. Throughout her lifetime, the BBC declined to dramatize her work on the basis that she’s just a “second-rater”. She had also been criticized for representing patriarchal attitudes, elitism, and xenophobia in her books.
Despite this, Blyton’s charm perseveres. Her stories of adolescent bravery and recreational lunches with floggings of ginger beer seemed playfully outdated in the Swinging 60s. Such is the old school charm of this children’s darling, that her works are the first to come to one’s minds when remembering . Blyton’s stories are full of ideals of companionship, equality, and liberation. Therefore, we bring to you this curated list of the author’s top 9 works. After all, whose shelf is considered complete without a Blyton novel?
Best Works of Enid Blyton
Mr. Galliano’s Circus
The notion that Blyton only penned stories about affluent families is debunked by this tale of a lonesome young child. The child discovers acknowledgment and family ties when the big top comes to town: Jimmy Brown’s dad is already out of work and miserable because he cannot provide for his family.
In recounting the budding relationship between Jimmy and Lotta, the pony jockey, which resembles Sissy Jupe from Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, Blyton portrays a child’s innocent delight at the enchantment of the circus.
Stanley the clown, Mr. Tonks, and Lilliput, the elephant, and monkey keepers are one of the remainders of the colorful ensemble — in a work that would be extended into a trilogy.
The Magic Faraway Tree
Blyton expands the scope of The Enchanted Wood (which also features in our list) by introducing us to the cynical Cousin Dick and other fantasy realms such as the Land of Goodies in this sequel.
The abrupt departure of certain oddballs from the first book, coupled with the invasion of the tree by inhabitants of the Land of Tempers, strikes a chilling note among the readers. A book which keeps you on the edge, this work by Enid Blyton will surely appeal the readers of the fantasy genre.
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Naughty Amelia Jane!
Enid’s older daughter Gillian vividly remembers that the author based her Amelia Jane books on a handmade doll. The doll was a gift from Blyton on Gillian’s third birthday.
Not all of the author’s protagonists were law-abiding. As the name indicates, Amelia Jane is a notorious character who plays nasty tricks on the other toys in the nursery.
Although the presence of a golliwog in the accompanying company is likely to make Amelia Jane unpopular with today’s parents, the concept of life like toys lives on. This continues to captivate youngsters, as Pixar can testify through the success of their Toy Story film franchise.
The Secret Seven
The septet had a significant audience while being marginally less renowned than the Famous Five. The first 15 books were built on the promise of their previous two short tales, “At Seaside Cottage” and “Secret of the Old Mill,” to offer a snowy ancient house mystery involving a lost club badge and a deaf caretaker.
The Enchanted Wood
Jo, Bessie, and Fanny relocate to a new rural house in the woodland. The trees are “a deeper green than normal” and speak to one another, with the highest limbs reaching the skies.
They make friends with the odd characters that dwell there, such as Moon-Face, Dame Washalot, Mr. Watzisname, and the Saucepan Man. They climb the trees to explore fascinating new locations, such as the Land of Take-What-You-Want. The Enchanted Wood is a leap of imagination based on the magic of conventional fairy tales. These woods see Blyton break away from the pattern that would come to characterize most of her works.
Adventures of the Wishing-Chair
During their quest for their mother’s gift, Mollie and Peter come into an unsettling antique store in the Wishing-Chair books. That leads to another experiment in fantasy by Enid Blyton. The children discover a magical rocking chair with wings that fly the person to whatever place they choose.
The youngsters take the chair to various worlds after saving Chinky the fairy from a giant. The other worlds are the Land of Dreams, the Village of Slippery, and Mr. Grim’s School for Bad Brownies.
Little Noddy Goes to Toyland
Blyton’s most well-known figure is also happens to be one of her most controversial creations.
Noddy has been widely panned by others, including writer Colin Welch. Welch characterized the tiny elf as “insipid” and claimed the novels “encompass nothing unintelligible even to the dimmest kid”. He also labelled it as “nothing strange or exciting” in his piece “A Parent’s Lament” from the Encounter magazine in 1958.
Despite this, Noddy, Mr.Plod and Big Ears have thrilled younger readers for over 70 years, and it all began with the books. The adventures of Noddy in Toy land acquire a life like quality with the lovely illustrations by the famous Dutch artist Harmsen van der Beek. Check out an episode from the British cartoon series based on the book, here!
The River of Adventure
Like the Famous Five, the Adventurous Four series started in 1944 and involved a group of youngsters and their pet (this time a parrot called Kiki) engaging in mischief and trying to right the wrongdoings of unscrupulous grownups, sometimes in places other than the British Isles.
The Valley of Adventure (1947), for example, is situated in the Austrian Alps and contains a surprising allusion to the Nazis, a rare case of current events intruding into her fiction. In this last installment, Jack, Philip, Dinah, and Lucy-Ann go to the Middle East, where they meet a criminal wanted by MI6 called Raya Uma on their way to discovering an old hidden city a story worthy of Herge’s Tintin and showing Lucy-Ann’s flexibility once again.
Five on a Treasure Island
The Famous Five’s first adventure takes them to Kirrin Island during their summer vacation. The four children, with their dog Timmy search for lost gold from an age old family disaster.
Blyton discovered the ideal vehicle for her skills with this airy escapade, drawing influences from Corfe Castle in Dorset and LT Meade’s curiously similar Four on an Island (1892).
Fans praise the first novel of a 22-volume series for its natural descriptions, revealing the author’s love of the southern English countryside and shorelines.
Despite the burning criticism Blyton faced in her time as a children’s author, her books are received with overwhelming love. Many people attest to the fact that their first brush with reading was through Enid Blyton’s books.
Thus, we think that it is about time you pick a Blyton book to read over a lazy summer weekend. Feel free to begin your tryst with adventure with some reads from this list and share with us which one did you like the best!
You can also discover other authors and add them to the TBR! And we guarantee you that you will never run out of options. Have a look at these Top 10 Children’s books by Ruskin Bond !