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Enid Blyton's Adventure Series

After reading other Enid Blyton titles (mostly Secret Seven and Famous Five), I discovered in my local library another series penned by Blyton - the Adventure Series. To me the titles in this series felt more grown-up and exciting than the other books I'd read by Blyton and they quickly became my favourites (with perhaps the exception of 'The Secret of Spiggy Holes' - my favourite Blyton title of all time!).

As with other Blyton books you have a group of central characters and in this series they are Philip and his sister Dinah, together with orphaned brother and sister, Jack and timid Lucy-Ann. Philip is an animal lover and no animal seems to dislike him. Dinah, his sister is adventurous and in total contrast to Lucy-Ann, whom you feel would rather not get into these dangerous adventures, but would opt for a quieter time if she didn't always want to be so close to her beloved brother, Jack! Jack is bird mad, and his quest to go bird watching contributes to some of their adventures. An example of this is in 'The Castle of Adventure' - Jack wants to watch some eagles and when he decides to stay overnight he realizes that he is not alone in the castle! Last but not least, who can forget Kiki, Jack's 'scarlet and grey', very talkative parrot?

Molly Brett

MOLLY BRETT (born: Mary Elizabeth Brett)

The daughter of the noted animal painter Mary Gould Brett, Molly was born in 1912 and brought up in a country district of Surrey. She had little formal training but after taking a correspondence course she started illustrating and writing children's books.

She wrote and illustrated more than sixteen books for the Medici Society and illustrated many other books,however, here we are most interested in the books she illustrated for Enid Blyton. There are thirteen in total, all published by Brockhampton press between 1951 and 1961.

Enid Blyton Society Day 2007

As this was my 1st Enid Blyton Day, I had been anticipating it for some time. To increase my knowledge of our stock for weeks I had been cataloguing and pricing any Enid Bylton books which were sitting in our store room. There was also great excitement as this website was being built all with the 12th of May in mind as a launch day. At times it was touch and go to see if everything was going to be ready in time, thankful everybody pulled together and Stella and Rose's Books were ready for the fair 1 only week early, which is most unusual.

On the 11th May, the difficult decisions are made, which books do we take and which books do we leave in the shop. Thankful as I had a day off I could escape these difficult decisions and the boxes of books were packed up by my colleagues. With everything packed ready to go the next day, all that was needed was a good nights sleep.

Enid Blyton Society Day 2005

Stella & Roses Books were delighted to participate in the Enid Blyton’s Society Day meeting at Twyford, UK on 7th May.

Above, left to right: Stella and Roses Books Stand; Settling down for the 1st talk of the day; Enid Blyton's daughter, Gillian, at our stand.

The aim of the Society, which was formed in early 1995, is to provide a focal point for collectors and enthusiasts of Enid Blyton through its magazine The Enid Blyton Society Journal, issued three times a year, its annual Enid Blyton Day and its website. (www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk).

Around 100 enthusiasts, including Enid’s two daughters Imogen & Gillian, spent the day gossiping (sorry I think networking is the word), browsing the Enid Blyton items for sale and listening to a talk on the early years of Enid Blyton as a governess in Hook in the 1920’s by Mark Davison. The talk was based on material from Mark’s book ‘Hook Remembered’ (mark.davison@virgin.net).

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

The Secret Seven series of 15 books, by prolific author Enid Blyton, follows the adventures of a strictly secret society made up of 7 children, who like to solve mysteries that they happen upon, or actively go looking for!

The History:

Although many may think, like I did before doing this research, that The Secret Seven - the first title in this series - is the first time we are introduced to the seven, this is not the case. In 1947, At Seaside Cottage a small volume was published by Brockhampton Press and featured the main characters of Peter and Janet, with their golden spaniel, Scamper. A year later in 1948, Secret of the Old Mill was published, in which Peter and Janet, after reading a book called The Secret Society, decide to create a secret society of their own, using the old mill on a hill near their home as a meeting place. They invite five of their friends to join them, and so The Secret Seven are born.

Enid Blyton

Enid Mary Blyton, born 11th August 1897 and died 28th November 1968, was probably the twentieth century's most successful writer of children's books. A phenomenally prolific author, she wrote an estimated 800 books during a literary career that spanned more than forty years. In 2007 she was the fifth most popular author in the world, placing her ahead of Shakespeare.

Enid Blyton trained as a teacher and qualified in 1918 after which she taught for several years at schools in London. She wrote in her spare time and in 1920 she renewed her acqaintance with school-friend Phyllis Chase who was working as an illustrator. The pair decided to submit work together, a turning point in their careers. Enid's first book, Child Whispers, is published in 1922 and the following year she met Hugh Pollock, editor at George Newnes publishers, whom she was to marry in 1924.

THE FAMOUS FIVE SERIES: THE MYSTERY OF THE 3 EXTRA FIRST EDITION DUSTWRAPPERS. PART 2

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

PART 2 THE DOUBLE-VERSION DUSTWRAPPERS

FIVE GO OFF TO CAMP

The first edition was published in 1948 and the second impression in 1949. Two different dustwrappers have been found accompanying first edition books and one further dustwrapper is associated with the second impression book.

The last title listed on the rear flap of the second impression dustwrapper is Five Get Into Trouble which was first published in 1949 - this alone is enough to confirm that this dustwrapper is a reprint. This leaves 2 dustwrappers to consider. As the spine and pictorial front panel are identical on these dustwrappers, only the flaps and rear panel will be compared (the same will apply to titles 8 and 9).

THE FAMOUS FIVE SERIES: THE MYSTERY OF THE 3 EXTRA FIRST EDITION DUSTWRAPPERS. Part 1

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

PART 1 INTRODUCTION

Collectors of the Famous Five (FF) series will know that a total of 21 titles were published by Hodder and Stoughton (H and S) between 1942 and 1963. What is less commonly known is that 24, rather than 21, first edition dustwrappers are known to exist - so the question is why are there 3 extra dustwrapppers?

Research has shown that this is a complex question to answer but hopefully this article will provide some degree of explanation.

In the first instance it is necessary for the reader to be aware of the 3 different types of dustwrappers that were used during the series:

Golliwoggs!

Current stock of Negro Interest

Many of us are familiar with battered old Gollies left in the toy cupboard, much loved and then forgotten and many of us have also been brought up with the Robertson Jam Golly brooches which have now ceased production. Perhaps not so familiar to some, is the fact that Florence Upton created the golliwogg character in a series of picture books which were written by her mother, Bertha Upton. The first appearance of the Golliwogg in 1895 in 'The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg' caused the Dutch Dolls to "scatter in their fright". Happily for us, they soon got over their shock and the Golliwogg became their closest friend.

THE FAMOUS FIVE SERIES: THE MYSTERY OF THE 3 EXTRA FIRST EDITION DUSTWRAPPERS. PART 4

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

SINGLE BLOCK DUSTWRAPPERS

ABOVE, left to right: Figures 40 - 43

Figure 40 - Five Run Away Together 1st ed. 1944  

Figure 41 - Five Go To Smuggler's Top 1st ed. 1945

Figure 42 - Five Run Away Together 1st ed. 1944   

Figure 43 -Five Go To Smuggler's Top 1st ed. 1945

When all 11 SB dustwrappers were examined in detail, only 3 inconsistencies were found. These are as follows:

The word Anne is correctly spelled on the front flap of the 1st edition of Five Go To Smuggler's Top but is incorrectly spelled on the other dustwrapper.

THE FAMOUS FIVE SERIES: THE MYSTERY OF THE 3 EXTRA FIRST EDITION DUSTWRAPPERS. PART 3

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

PART 3 THE DOUBLE BLOCK (DB) REPRINT DUSTWRAPPERS

When all 23 dustwrappers were examined in detail, it soon became evident that a significant number of inconsistencies were present. To reproduce this research here would be too long and detailed for the purposes of this article so, as a compromise, only selected examples will be described. Note that with some examples, the first edition dustwrappers are included to provide a complete picture of the DB era.

ABOVE, left to right: Figures 32 - 35

Example 1:

Figures 32: Five Go Adventuring Again 3rd imp. 1948Figure 33 - Five Go Adventuring Again 4th imp.1949

Eileen Soper

Eileen will inevitably be most famous for her illustrations in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five Series , but there is so much more to be told. At one point she was running three careers in parallel; that of a respected wildlife author, a noted children’s illustrator and a commercial artists for among others The National Association of Mental Health Education and the Central Council for Heath Education.

Eileen was born in 1905, the second daughter of George and Ada Soper. When Eileen was three years old the family moved to a new house built by George in the Hertfordshire countryside. This house, christened Wildings by Eileen after her Fathers death in 1942, is where Eileen and her sister Eva spent most of their life. Eileen was a woman of extreme drive, single mindedness and business acumen who chose to isolate herself at Wildings with its large garden.

Enid Blyton Society Day - 2006

Stella & Rose's Books were delighted to attend the Enid Blyton Society Day, held this year (2006) on May 13th at Lodden Hall, Twyford, Berkshire . For those Enid Blyton fans who were unable to attend, we hope that this article will give a flavour of the events of the day.

The doors opened for programme holders at 10:30 and there was opportunity for the first hour and a half to browse the thousands of Blyton books and related items displayed by the specialist booksellers.

The first talk of the day was given by Robert Tyndall, one of the original Noddy illustrators. Robert began to illustrate Noddy after Harmsen Van der Beek's untimely death in 1953. The first Noddy book Robert worked on, along with Peter Wienk, was the 9th in the series, Noddy and the Magic Rubber, published in 1954.