At the risk of giving away my age, the first book I fell in love with was THE ENCHANTED WOOD by Enid Blyton. Introduced to Moonface and the fairy, Silky among other characters, it was the beginning of my love of fairy tales. THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE and THE FOLK OF THE FARAWAY TREE soon followed. A wonderful teacher read the books to the class as we sat on the mat at her feet. I recall holding my breath and hoping the rest of the class would be quiet, waiting impatiently for Mrs Fitz to turn the page to continue the story, hanging off each word. I’d heave a huge sigh of disappointment as the chapters finished and the book was closed for the day.
So enamoured was I with her stories, that I went on to read anything written by Enid Blyton for years after that! All the Famous Five series, Malory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, and of course the Noddy series.
I regret that subjects and characters that seemed innocent to me in my childhood are now identified as portraying a form of racism. Nowadays, Blyton’s stories highlight the inequality that factions of society have experienced. As a child, all I remember is that Noddy was always a little confused, Big Ears was grumpy and golliwogs were soft toys that sat alongside cars and rag dolls and building blocks in the toy box! Enough said on that subject for now— I’d prefer not to dwell on the author and her predilections. I certainly don’t agree with her, but these books were written almost a century ago— we are far more tolerant and understanding of differences these days— or so I’d like to hope.