Sunday, 4 May 2014

The changing face of Children's books

I don't seem to get the time these days to read as much as I'd like, but I've been an avid book reader for as long as I can remember. I don't really know where I got the love of reading from as I don't recall being read to that much at home, but I devoured books as a youngster.

I mainly read books either through the public library or through items purchased through the school book club. I read as much as I could - all the classics you might expect, Jamie and the Giant Peach, Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ... but my absolute favourites were ... the Famous Five - I had all of them at one stage, eventually growing out of them and either myself or my mum giving them away. I loved those adventures and even the body blow dealt by the 'Comic Strip presents' couldn't dull my favourable memories:

For some reason I never got into The Secret Seven (maybe I saw them as arch-enemies') but I was reminded of all this childhood enthusiasm when finding these two books in one of my random assorted boxes:
Book 10 - The Secret Seven witnesses a house burn down, and after that a precious violin stolen. Are the two incidents related?

Book 9 - The Secret Seven find that a girl, called Elizabeth Mary Welhemina Sonning, has disappeared after she is blamed for stealing some money from her teacher's desk. Will the Secret Seven find her, and solve the mystery, or will the police do it first?

Despite the condition of the dust jacket, these two first publications from '57 and '58 are in good enough nick to hang onto and share with my little 'un when he gets to the right age, but I find myself wondering about their relevance - do children nowadays read Enid Blyton? It would almost seem a fantastical age to them - almost another 'fantasy' world. "Why do they not have mobile phones daddy?"

I'm interested to know - is Enid Blyton still widely read to or by children nowadays? Is she too politically incorrect or plain irrelevant?