About the Author
Enid Blyton was probably the most successful British children's writer of the twentieth century, she was born in London on 11th August 1897 and she died in 1968
Enid Blyton's books have received much literary criticism, indeed the attitudes displayed in many of the books can be considered as sexist and outdated. At the end of the fifties many librarians refused to stock books by Enid Blyton on the grounds that children would not read the great works of literature, this had the result that Enid Blyton sold even more books.
Enid Blyton's first book was Child Whispers, published in 1922. In 1937 she wrote her first full length novel The Adventures of the Wishing chair. She went on to write a large number of books, probably exceeding six hundred though Enid blyton is probably best known for her series books, the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, the Adventure series, the Mystery series, the Barney Junior Mystery and her school books (St Clare Books, Mallory towers books). In addition Noddy was also extremely successful.
For a number of years only a few Blyton fanatics collected her books and indeed the view of many dealers is that it was hard to sell Enid Blyton books to collectors . The situation is now completely reversed with most first editions having risen dramatically in price and the early (war time books) in the popular series becoming extremely difficult to find. This may be partly due to the fact that 1997 was the centenary of the Birth of Enid Blyton.
The Famous Five
The Famous Five are probably the most famous of Enid Blyton's creations. In 1957, the children's film foundation in the UK made a film serial of Five on a Treasure Island. More recently a television series of most of the Five books has been shown which more or less followed the plot of the books. (The only problem I had with the television series was Timmy the Dog. He was too small !)
Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the Dog make up the Famous Five. Julian, Dick and Anne are brothers and sister, In the first book, Five on a Treasure Island, they meet their cousin Georgina. Georgina likes to act like a boy and hence is called George. In one interview Enid confessed that George was based on herself.
Notes on Collecting:
These are probably the most sought after books in the Enid Blyton collection and first editions in dust wrappers have become very hard to find for the early books.
The first eight books were published with a white text only spine (black bands on some). The ninth book has an illustrated spine whilst from book ten onwards the spine was illustrated as well as the number in the series of the book (ie: Tenth, Eleventh etc.), at about the same time (1951) the first nine books were given new dustjackets with the number in the series indicated on the spine. I have listed the books with the date first published and a scan of the dust wrapper, in many cases showing the variation between editions. In addition to books there were also playing cards and jigsaw puzzles.
THE MYSTERY SERIES
Enid Blyton wrote a series of books in which the five children Fatty, Larry, Daisy, Pip and Bets act as detectives, these were known as The Mystery series introducing the 'Five Find-Outers and Dog'. The dog was called Buster.
All the stories involve a mystery of sorts and the five children always seem to solve it before the local policeman, Mr Goon.