Have you heard about The Birth Year Reading Challenge? The idea is to read and comment on books published in the year you were born. It's hosted by the Hotchpot Café if you would like more information, rules, etc., please click on the link at the end of this post.
It’s an interesting challenge but in an effort to stay true to my blog, I’m going to focus on children’s books. Then to make it a tad more difficult, I’m going to concentrate on children's books by a single author. When I started thinking about this, I realised I would need to find a prolific writer to make the challenge worthwhile. So who had a large number of books published in … gulp … 1948? As far as I’m concerned there is just one contender and that’s Enid Blyton.
I realised Enid Blyton had written a lot of books but had no idea just how many. So far, I’ve identified forty published in 1948 but there could be more. I have three of them already, which leaves thirty seven to find. Remember the books are close to seventy years old so it could take some time, but it will be an interesting project. I could simplify things by buying later reprints, but I much prefer the original editions so those are the ones I'm going to look for.
The purpose of this post and the one to follow next week is to list all forty books and add images where possible. The majority of the images are from an illustrated bibliography by Tony Summerfield. Others are from The Enid Blyton Society Website, and three are from books in my collection.
There are four books in this the Nature Series each in a uniform edition with tan, brown, green and black on cream covers.
Book 1 Jinky and the birds
Book 2 Jinky and the animals
Book 3 Jinky and the flowers
Book 4 Jinky and the insects
These were all in 1948 by E. J. Arnold & Son. Phyllis Denton provided the illustrations. Each book contains four short stories. In Book one the stories are Jinky and the birds, Jinky makes a nest, all kinds of eggs and Jinky helps with the bird-babies.
Secret of the Old Mill (Janet and Peter Book no. 2) published in September 1948 with illustrations by Eileen Soper. This was published by Brockhampton Press as were the above books and the three that follow.
The Red-Spotted Handkerchief and other stories, published in April 1948. The book contains ten stories, which previously appeared in Sunny Stories a children’s magazine published by George Newnes. Sunny Stories began life as Sunny Stories for Little Folk in 1926 and was both written and edited by Enid Blyton. I thought about excluding this as the stories were written in earlier years, but as the challenge is to find books published in my birth year it had to be included. Besides I would really like to read it, and it would look nice on my shelf!
The cover on this next book really appeals to me, and I very much hope I can find it. Tales of the Twins (The Nursery Series No. 1) illustrated with 12 colour plates by Eileen A Soper. Published October, 1948.
They Ran Away Together (Nursery Series No. 2) Once again published in October 1948 but this time the illustrations are by Jeanne Farrar. I realise this cover could be offensive to some people but please remember it was published in 1948, and no offence is intended.
Three books from the Old Thatch Series, No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 each of these are new editions published in June 1948 by J. Coker. The cover illustrations are by Mary Smith.
A fourth book published by J. Coker in 1948 Tales of Old Thatch, with a pretty cover illustration by Mary Smith.
I would love to add a dust jacketed copy of Six Cousins of Mistletoe Farm to my collection and would be willing to pay a little more for this one. It was published by Evans Brothers in November 1948, and the jacket illustration is by Peter Beigel.
Now For a Story published by Harold Hill contains seventeen stories from Sunny Stories Magazine. Cover illustration by Frank Varty.
Five Go Off to Camp published in October 1948 by Hodder & Stoughton. Eileen Soper provided the dust jacket illustrations and the eight two-colour illustrations inside. This is one of the three books already in my collection.
Nature Tales and Jolly Tales from the Old Thatch Series both published in April 1948 by W. & A. K. Johnston.
My Enid Blyton Book No. 1 published by Latimer House with 14 stories originally published in The Red Pixie Book. Dust jacket illustration by Grace Lodge.
Mister Icy Cold published by the Shakespeare Head Press (Basil Blackwell). I didn’t find a single copy of this during my years as a book dealer I don't know if that is because it's scarce, or if I was just unlucky.
So there you have it. Quite a challenge I think you will agree. It’s possible I could buy many of these online but as funds are limited, I’m going to try to source them locally where prices might be lower. Besides it’s more of a challenge that way, and I do love a bargain. If I have any luck in locating any/all of them, I will let you know in a future post or posts.
If you would like more details about The Birth Year Reading Challenge, please pay a visit to the Hotchpot Café.
In next weeks post I will share another twenty books written by Enid Blyton and published in 1948.