Monday, 23 July 2012

Collecting Enid Blyton

Born in 1897 Enid Blyton is one of the best-selling children’s authors of all time. She began writing at an early age, but her first real success came in 1922 when J. Saville published child whispers, a slim volume of poems.

Her second book, Real Fairies published in 1923, appeared simultaneously in card covers and hardback. These early works are some of the most sought-after, but the "Famous Five" and "Adventure" series remain the most desirable.

During her lifetime, Enid Blyton wrote approximately 800 books and more than 4,500 short stories. Today her books are widely read and avidly collected, but that wasn’t always the case. Twenty years ago, a first edition five on a Treasure Island in the original dust jacket could be bought for just a few pounds but now costs somewhere in the region of two to three thousand pounds.

The 24 volumes of the "Noddy Library" are fairly easy to find in reprint editions, but first editions in dust-jackets are much harder to find. Later editions were issued in glazed boards without dust-jackets. Much of Noddy’s success was down to the wonderful illustrations of Harmsen Van der Beek, and the various illustrators who continued the work after his death.

Enid Blyton's first full-length work of fiction was the adventures of the wishing chair (1937), and in 1939 the first of the Magic Faraway Tree stories, The enchanted wood, was published. These are also avidly collected and therefore hard to find. 

There are many other books of interest for the collector,  the secret seven, the five find-outers, the adventurous four, the Barney mysteries, St. Clare’s and Malory Towers to name just a few.

To find out more about Enid Blyton visit; The Enid Blyton Society

I'm a big fan of The Famous Five books and the Adventure series - do you have a favourite? Or maybe you don't like Enid Blyton at all - please feel free to leave a comment.


  1. I have just read a (n interesting) biography on Blyton and have the movie Enid, downloaded and ready to watch, so this is a serendipidous post Barbara. I don't collect Blyton's myself, but I have a couple of friends who do, so I always buy them when I spy them in an oppy. My faves as a little girl, The Naughtiest Girl series and Famous Five.

  2. Barbara, dear friend, hope you've been well? You've been busy! I'll catch up on your previous posts in a second. Enid Blyton ~ my favourite author in childhood. I never knew about her first published work. "Child Whispers" is such a great title. My faves you know ~ The Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair, and oh, the Malory Towers were excellet, too!

  3. I haven't read much Enid Blyton, I guess because she isn't terribly well known in the US. I have been trying to find an affordable, unabridged copy of The Adventurous Four, though. And I have always liked the covers on her books - well, most of them.

  4. You got me all excited there for a moment. I could remember having 3 of the Adventure series with dust jackets (Island, Castle and Circus). I rushed off to look and can only find the Circus of Adventure - in dust jacket but 1966 not 1952! Never thought I'd say this but I am obviously just at little bit too young! Oh well - no treasure in the attic for me then.

    Absolutely adored her books by the way!!

  5. I don't think I have ever read anything by her! I do have The Magic Faraway Tree on my TBR list because it sounds like something I will love. I just haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. She sounds like an amazing author and I really need to pick up some of her work!

  6. barbaraannefisher23 July 2012 at 22:57

    I’ve heard about the movie Enid a few times, but I’ve never seen it. I must watch out for it maybe it will be on TV again soon. Famous Five and Secret Seven are my favourites but I also like the adventure series.

    The first time my Australian daughter-in-law suggested we visit an oppy I was mystified! I love the word though and use it all the time now, much nicer than Charity shop.

  7. barbaraannefisher23 July 2012 at 23:02

    Hello Claudine, you’re back - how lovely! I will be over to visit you in a little while. I’ve missed you! I forgot all about the Malory Towers books when putting this post together. It was all done in rather a hurry because I’m busy updating my website – more of that later.
    I can’t wait to visit your blog and find out what you’ve been up to.

  8. barbaraannefisher23 July 2012 at 23:26

    Hi Alex, I didn’t realise Enid Blyton wasn’t that well known in the US – I just assumed she was well known everywhere! Have you tried looking an ABE books for a copy of the adventurous four? I'm sure there will be at least one copy.

  9. I cannot believe how many books she has written! That alone is amazing!

  10. barbaraannefisher24 July 2012 at 08:48

    I hope being a little too young makes up for not finding any cash in the attic!
    I have a sneaky feeling you wouldn’t part with any of your books, even if they were worth a fortune. :)

  11. barbaraannefisher24 July 2012 at 08:57

    If you like fairy-folk and magic you will enjoy the magic faraway tree. The first title of the trilogy, The Enchanted Wood, was published in 1939, the magic faraway tree in 1943 and the folk of the faraway tree in 1946, so they are a little dated, but if you like magical lands (about the clouds) you will enjoy them.

  12. barbaraannefisher24 July 2012 at 19:22

    It surprised me too. I had no idea she had written so many books – I knew it was a lot, but not that many!

  13. You know me too well! My husband asked me if I found out one of my books was worth £10 000 would I sell it - and I said probably not!

  14. barbaraannefisher24 July 2012 at 21:42

    And if you did you would be trying to find it again six months later! No amount of money can replace lost memories.

  15. I loved Enid Blyton when I was young. My all time favourites were Five Find Outers - and dog.

  16. *Sigh* I love them all.

    My all time favourites are the Noddy books, that's what got me started on this whole Enid Blyton adventure.

    I think I'll just have to bite the bullet soon and shell out for her first two books, I'm deluding myself if I think I'm ever going to come across them at an Oppy, Rotary or Lifeline book sale.

  17. Even better to know the right order! Thanks for letting me know. I hope to read them by the end of this year. I have heard they are such fun and I love fairy-folk and fantasies. :)

  18. barbaraannefisher25 July 2012 at 21:13

    Hi Roger, I’ve still got to read that series. I have no idea how Enid Blyton managed to write so many books in one lifetime. I’m sure I will never have time to read them all in my lifetime!

  19. barbaraannefisher25 July 2012 at 21:23

    Hi Michelle,
    I’ve always loved the Noddy books they are so colourful.
    Keep looking, you just never know what might turn up.
    I’m still hoping to find a 1st edition five on a treasure island with the dust jacket for my collection, I look in every charity shop I see – no luck yet – but I’m going to keep on looking.

  20. I need to read some Enid Blyton! I have added the Faraway Tree series to my Goodreads list. I don't know how I missed these. The photos and details about her work make me want to dig in. :)

  21. barbaraannefisher27 July 2012 at 18:59

    That’s fantastic! I must spend some time exploring Goodreads – I call in now and again, but that’s about all I do. I can see there must be lots more to it.

  22. We've got a few Enid Blyton books here. I'll have to see which ones we've got. I know we've got a few Noddy ones as I loved Noddy as a child... and my niece loves him now!

  23. barbaraannefisher30 July 2012 at 21:42

    I hope you find lots of lovely Enid Blyton books to share with your niece. Noddy never goes out of fashion.

  24. I'm collecting myself. But it's hard to find copies of Enid Blyton's books in my place. I have so far The Night the Toys had a Party and The Island of Adventure. Both books are great and I cherish them dearly.

  25. barbaraannefisher2 August 2012 at 18:56

    Hello Nancy,I love the island of adventure; I read it over and over when I was a child, and I must read it again sometime soon. Thanks for calling in.


I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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