Saturday, May 24, 2014

Enid Blyton

Before the frenzy of activity this week promises I wanted to quickly steal out some time for this indulgence..

Since a small kid I scribbled in long misplaced notebooks what I liked to importantly call.. book reviews.. 7-8 year old me had a vague idea that I would pass it on to my daughter with all the reading I wanted to recommend.. No idea what I would pass on if I had a son .. silly me!

I grew up.. want to still pass on the wealth of treasure that reading holds, but have realized to each his own. An interesting article on Yahoo, I think it was, that said the best way to get kids interested in reading is to just read around them. Leave books lying around. Colorful pictures on the covers. Talk of books. Tell stories. In short son't scare them, don't force them and definitely don't compel them to like reading. The day you do that you ensure the reader inside the little one just died.

I remember my father reading a book at night.. on its covers were a palette and colors.. a funny name it had.. "Five Little Pigs".. It is an Agatha Christie murder mystery.. I was so proud and happy the day I read that book. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Marier, Wuthering Height by Emily Bronte, not Charlotte Bronte as I often confuse, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull all flashes of books that my mother read and passed on to me.

So when I thought what book to start my review on my very own blog I contemplated Harry Potter. It did make me very very happy for almost 10 years of my life. Something more everlasting.. To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. Or I was tempted to be all grown and write about Fountainhead , Ayn Rand's legacy to us.

Then I thought what started all this? Enid Blyton. I didn't know for a long long time that she was a she and not a he, as the name felt like to me. I don't know if the books I mention here are even in print anymore. Well, what the (hehehe..), here goes..

The Famous Five.. And the newer editions had these beautiful covers. of stormy islands and lush green meadows.. Am testing myself to see if I remember all the names. Julian (spelling sadly maybe incorrect) . His younger brother, Dick . The gentle sister Anne. And their wild friend Georgina. Dare you call her by that name. George is who she was. And would any mystery be solved without a little intervention and magical rescue by Timothy, her dog.

I liked The Secret Seven too. Thinner books and more popular, but there was another series I liked way better. The Five Find Outers. Fatty the head of the detective group did the best disguises ever. He once became a wax statue and only got caught by the smugglers because one of his overenthusiastic friends who followed him into the danger had sneezed. And when lights shown on poor wax statue's face, the statue blinked. And statues don't blink, do they?

There was so much to learn for Pat and Isabel, the twins as they crossed each year in St' Claires. The world of English boarding school is still utterly foreign to me, but I learnt of Lacrosse, French and their artistic temperaments. A little ragging has to taken in right spirits. be gentle, be kind, be brave and above all be honest. Darrel and her best friend Sally Hope went through same growing up in Malory Towers. I had hard bounded set of seven books. One for each year they spent in the school. And I meant to give it to my daughter some day. Hmm wonder where those books went? There was no love story, no boy and yet what a story! Life's simple pleasures in a forbidden secret midnight party with food secretly stolen from the hostel kitchen..

And finally the Faraway Tree Series.. In a forest no one is quite sure where, and if we did know we could all move there. There is a magical trees on whose branches lived difference people. Elves I think and grumpy old gnomes and pixies. Someone called Silky and Moonface, was it? And every week a new land would swing into the topmost branches that disappeared into clouds. A land of fairy tales. The next week a land of Nursery Rhymes. How could your imagination not just spark but reach a full on conflagration when you read something like this.

In today's world when I see kids eating with an ipad in front of them to keep them quiet. Or an iphone thrust in their hands during long drives. I feel sad. I feel worried. I don't know enough to judge if this change is for the good or bad. Just that there is a kingdom of knowledge safely tucked away in simple books for kids. And I hope every kid gets a chance to atleast see if the kingdom is where he is meant to be... 


  1. I use to love to read not necessarily as a child but as an adult. Avid reader of romance novels i was although in High School took many literature classes and read all the required novels you mentioned above. Unfortunatly, my parents never read to me as a child which is sad because I think that is a priority in a child's life.
    Reading takes them to their dreams, to another world where they can soar and play. I read to my children nearly every night before sleep, we would cuddle in bed together....The Giving Tree, When You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Shel Silverstein's Poetry, Where The Wild Things Are, just to name a few.....oh what bliss!
    I pray that the parents of this modern world read to their children all the classics whether on paper or ebook...just read.

  2. Rhea lovely write up up there .Really feeling very close to something....can't explain...some feelings are impossibel to put in words for me.

    1. Faiqa you are here! and you read all that I had to say.. Thank you so much for this lovely comment..You are so very right.. we don't need to meet.. I already think of you all as my very good friends.. Love spending time with you all..