Updated: Jul 16, 2020
About the author: • Enid Blyton was born in London in 1879 and began writing when she was a child. • She was a trained teacher but dedicated her life to children’s writing. • Blyton wrote over 700 books but is best known for her series - The Secret Seven, The Famous Five and Mallory Towers. • Her writing was unplanned and was formed as she went along. This is cited as the reason for the sheer volume of work she produced. • Blyton’s writing is still popular today despite some of her work being considered controversial when viewed through a more modern and liberal lens. • Displays of sexism, racism and xenophobia can be seen in much of her work which of course cannot be ignored and does somewhat cast a shadow over the love I had for her writing as a child. • Nevertheless, whilst bearing this in mind, my intention for this blog was to be truthful to books that impacted me at the time, regardless of things I learnt later. • These specific books are largely free from these views, (aside from some strident gender stereotypes, typical of the time of writing.) It goes without saying I do not condone any of her views at all. About the books: • Each collection is made up of three bedtime stories each with a magical theme. • In Goodnight stories the stories are - The land of the Blue Mountains, The Enchanted slippers and Jumbo saves the day. • In Night-times tales they are - The Toys new palace, Teddy and the Elves and The Wishing Carpet. My copies of Goodnight stories and Night-time tales were bought for me by my Godfather when I was a young child. Considering I was very little I vividly remember reading them almost every night with my Mum and Dad. I was absolutely besotted with this amazing gift. As a kid I loved books - they were, and still are my favourite present. You are literally gifting someone another world. This is what my Godfather with Blyton’s books gave me - several new worlds to dream about, imagine and love. It’s fair to say I don’t remember much about the books or stories themselves, just the impact they had. However, a quick look back through made me reminisce and realise how they managed to enchant me as a child. The simple but distinct illustrations alone leave a whole world of imagination open with their depictions of goblins, mystical mountains, toys and everything else in between. The language is clearly adapted for children but is magical enough to conjure up exciting visions for kids, ones which are brought to life by the beautiful pictures in the copies I own. There is a strong moralistic message in every story, which at times when read as an adult can feel a bit put on. Yet as said before Blyton’s inclusion of this in amongst new lands, beautiful scenery and a wide range of creatures and characters means the books are well - done and maintain sense of childlike innocence and excitement whereby the morals aren’t blindingly obvious to a child but still have a subtle impact. Her matter of fact depictions of magic- E.g- characters receive magical items from others with very little reason. As a child for example I truly believed and spent whole afternoons running around with the ‘fairies at the bottom of the garden’ because through these stories I genuinely thought magic was possible. Personally, I think that’s quite a beautiful thing - through reading, I translated fairy-tales into reality and created a new world for myself to explore. Perhaps, these collections had more of an influence on my reading life than I first realised. Yet, although I no longer instinctively read books with a magical theme, I find them fascinating to study as I love applying the themes to the real world. This is why not only this book but others exploring fantasy lands are so important. They create new realms, with their own problems, whilst highlighting the issues of our own.