Friday, April 01, 2016

Take-What-You-Want or Do-As-You-Please: Enid Blyton lives on

by Sarah Forster, The Read, Booksellers NZ, originally published on The Spinoff

Who else can bring the world of everyday magic alive as well as Enid Blyton? I read the Faraway Tree books to my five-year-old, Dan recently, and he became an instant and avid fan. Soon after finishing the series with Dan, I saw Bill Manhire in the regional Fairfax papers saying that The Magic Faraway Tree ‘is the most exciting book I’ve ever read, and sits up there alongside the best of Dickens and Ursula Le Guin.’ And during the NZ Festival Writer’s Week, I attended Australian essayist Robert Dessaix's lecture about Enid Blyton’s influence on his childhood.

 So what is it that Blyton had, besides an indefatigable ability to write children’s books – in the 1950s she was publishing up to 50 children’s books a year – that makes this series the most magically enduring of so many people’s childhoods? I read around, and talked to friends and staff from The Children’s Bookshop, and Melanee Winder from Hachette NZ about the enduring legacy of Enid Blyton. (600 million books sold, and counting.) 

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