Doing the Impossible#1 : My Top Five Enid Blyton Books

05Aug09

I absolutely love Enid Blyton. I’ve practically grown up reading only her, and I actually feel like I’ve had a better childhood as a result of it. So, I set out to do the impossible: name my five favorite books by her. Nope – not series, books! As I’m writing this, I already have about fifteen books in mind – how can one limit themselves to only five favorites, when they’ve probably read over a hundred and fifty? Right, I’m going to do this…

5. Noddy Goes To Toyland


This is the first Enid Blyton book I read, and I was absolutely captivated. A land of toys? People can buy bricks, and build their own house? A doll can befriend a brownie? And have a teddy bear as a neighbor?

Honestly, it’s the kind of things dreams are made of – at least, for a five year old. As soon as I finished this, I made my mum reach out and get the second book in the series : Hurrah For Little Noddy!

4. The Secret Of Spiggy Holes

This is the first book I read in the “Secret” series, and while all five of them were vivid, imaginative, and could easily be read independently, this is my favorite (only marginally).

Four children are on holiday in Cornwall, with almost no parental supervision, and staying at a place called “Peep Hole”. Who wouldn’t envy those kids?! Across them is “Old House”, a place where a prince from a distant land is being kept prisoner, and it’s Jack, Nora, Mike and Peggy to the rescue!

And, of course, the book leads us back to ‘The Secret Island’…

3. The Naughtiest Girl


This one, I’ve actually struggled with. I loved all the school series: Malory Towers, St. Clares, and of course, The Naughtiest Girl. And I’ve sat her, drumming the table with my fingers, contemplating which was my favorite, and this one edges it, mostly because, while I really wanted to be like Darrell from Malory Towers, I was always more like Elizabeth from Whyteleafe: I always tried to be really good, and always did something or the other, which resulted in the aftermath not being great!

Elizabeth has all the qualities: fun-loving, good at sports, good student, etc. And most importantly, she always had a trick up her sleeve, and she was, all said and done, an angel at heart!

2. Five Run Away Together

I know, you aren’t allowed to have a favorite Famous Five book. I mean, you can’t choose between Five On Treasure Island, or Five On Kirrin Island again, right? Well, this one’s always been mine. I think I know it by heart. Read it so many times, that the book’s in pieces now – probably one of the three books I possess which is in such a terrible condition. And I can still pick it up and read it, and lose myself in the adventures of the Famous Five.

The four children go to George’s for the holidays, only to find that Joan, the cook, has been ill, and sour-faced grumpy Mrs. Stick has taken her place. Then, poor George’s mum falls very ill, and when she is hospitalized, the Five decide to run away to Kirrin Island, rather than spend their holidays with dour Mrs. Stick, her lazy husband, and rude son.

1. The Magic Faraway Tree


How cool would it be, to move from the city to the countryside, next to The Enchanted Wood, right in the heart of which stands, The Magic Faraway Tree – a tree where magical creatures live, and where, a new land is atop the tree every few days: be it The Land Of Do-As-You-Please, or the Land Of Goodies. There’s the Land of Spells and the Land of Presents as well.

Characters like Moon Face, Silky, The Angry Pixie, Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, and Whatzisname befriend the three kids who move nearby, and they all join in the adventures together – be it to find the medicine needed to cure the children’s ill mum, or to indulge themselves with something nice.

Honestly, at the age of twenty-four, if I could do it now, I would! I’d give up a whole lot, just to spend one day in this magical faraway land.

0. The Ship Of Adventure

You didn’t honestly think I’d be able to end this at just five, did you?! Well, sorry!! I promise though, this is the last one, and it’s the only one that actually led me to have a hobby outside reading – collecting ships in bottles. I have twelve now, and they’re my pride and joy!

So, the children board the Viking Star to tour the Greek Islands with their parents. LucyAnn gets a ship in a bottle for Pip as a birthday present, and when that accidentally breaks, the children discover a map. You can imagine what ensues – with the bad guys wanting to know there the treasure is, and the children wanting to do the “right” thing.

I live in constant hope that if and when one of my ships in bottles break, I’ll find a treasure map snuggled comfortably inside.

So, are you an Enid Blyton fan? Do you have a favorite five, or ten, books by her? Do you think she influenced much of your childhood?

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18 Responses to “Doing the Impossible#1 : My Top Five Enid Blyton Books”

  1. 1 Mish

    I’m unfamiliar with Blyton, but her books sound like something I would have loved.

    • If nothing else, I’d strongly recommend finding ‘The Enchanted Woods’ series, or the ‘Faraway Tree’ series, as they’re called. I honestly think it’s timeless, and, it was literally my introduction to ‘fantasy’ as well.

  2. I LOVE The Secret Island and reading about Mike, Peggy, Nora, Jack and the cow living on the island. I especially love Enid Blyton’s descriptions of food!

    I also adored The Castle of Adventure and the St Clare’s, Mallory Towers, and Famous Five books but it’s been so long since I’ve re-read them that I can’t narrow it down to specific books.

    • I know! Secret Island was amazing; my favorite bit was the cow scaring away the tourists, because they thought the moo was the sound of thunder!! The descriptions of food, specially in Famous Five, and the midnight feasts in the school series always made me drool.

      I feel like re-reading the Adventure series now….. I think they’re due re-reads. :)

  3. Wow, this takes me way back – almost 35 years ago I used to read these books over and over again – it’s probably why I read so much these days! The Famous Five series was super – thanks for the memories!

    • Yeah, I owe my love for reading to Enid Blyton myself. Famous Five, I thought, was much better than Secret Seven. Did quite enjoy The Five Find Outers though. Good ol’ Fatty and Mr. Goon.

      I always have the biggest grin on my face when I remember some of the Enid Blyton stories and plots.

  4. 7 Sarah

    The Island of Adventure and The Secret Mountain for me. And the first St Clare’s book which features the fiery Carlotta. And can I have all the Faraway Tree books! (Now read aloud twice, in their entirety, to daughters 1 and 2; and no. 3 daughter is nearly ready for her turn…)

    • Lucky daughters. I envy them :)

      I still remember fantasizing about living near the Enchanted Woods. Sometimes, I still wonder what it would be like to adventure in a magical land atop a tree…. Alright, you can have all three.

      Carlotta was great in the first book, wasn’t she? Much later, but I also loved Claudine, and Annette.

  5. Thanks for your comment on my Banned Books Challenge. You, of course, can join anytime you want because it is perpetual. However, BiblioBrat is hosting a Banned Books Challenge too that is very popular if you want to check out hers as well.

    • Ah cool – thanks for letting me know. Will definitely check that out – and will join in on yours as well. Somehow, if there’s some controversy surrounding a book, I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. :)

  6. 11 Sarah

    I may be taking this a bit too seriously, but I suddenly realised that I missed out The Land of Far Beyond! Of course, you can’t get a copy for love nor money (unless you have circa £30 going spare) but it’s a whole lot easier than reading the Pilgrim’s Progress.

    • I haven’t actually read this! I can’t believe it’s 30 quid… and now, I really want to read it… :(

      Any idea why it’s so expensive?

      • 13 Sarah

        I promised to read it to the kids (they wanted Pilgrim’s Progress, I said no!) then discovered we didn’t have a copy… It’s out of print, and they’re like gold dust on ebay. Price might have dropped in the current economic climate, but I suspect that it will keep going up.

        Luckily for me my memory of a childhood copy wasn’t entirely false, and I was able to borrow it from my sister.

        But none of this helps you; sorry! Off topic, am looking forward to your review of the Angela Carter. Have never read any, but am keen to do so.

  7. Looked it up on Amazon, and the cheapest for £31. See, now I’m all curious, and I might just end up succumbing to the temptation of buying it. If I do, I’ll be blaming you :)

    So far, I absolutely love The Magic Toyshop, and it’s the first Angela Carter I’ve read. Review should be coming up soon, but if the first half of the book is anything to go by – it’s fantastic!

  8. I’m so glad that you are enjoying The Magic Toyshop so far :). It’s one that I really must re-read at some point.

  9. What a fantastic post! I went to Corfe Castle and Lullworth Cove at the weekend (inspiration for the Famous Five books) and Paperback Reader pointed me to your blog. I’ve just ordered Stoney’s biog of Blyton to reread.

    PS: I’m glad you’re enjoying the Magic Toyshop – I am currently reading my way through Virago Modern Classics and recently wrote about it on one of my blogs – http://veritysviragoventure.blogspot.com

    • Thank you! Feel free to share your favorite five (if you can limit it to five!).

      I am so envious! It’s one of those things I’ll have to do soon – specially as Kirrin Islands sounds so idyll-like, and heavenly (and exciting). I’d love to see what inspired it.

      That’s a great blog idea – it’s something I’d love to do myself. I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye on that one! By the way, I finished and looooved The Magic Toyshop. I almost cried when the book ended.


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