The days are starting to get a little shorter and colder now, after a glorious summer. Soon the leaves will be turning and falling, and it will be perfect curl-up-with-a-book season, so I thought I would put together a list of Blyton’s autumnal reads (some easier to get a hold of than others).
Five On a Hike Together takes place at October half-term, and it’s cool enough that the children choose to stay in farmhouses instead of sleeping outdoors – of course until they end up at Two Trees and set up camp in the cellar.
The orange colour for the end-papers must have been chosen to give them an autumnal feel, just as blue end-papers often depict seaside scenes or night-time ones.
Autumn Days is a book of songs for children, first published in 1926. It would appear to also have the musical scores for the six songs (music written by Cecil Sharman).
I Do Like
The Little Smoker
The Very Tall Daisies
The Magic Key
The Little Red Leaves
I don’t have any further information however, not even a picture of the cover. This seems like quite a rare little book, so if you come across one think yourself lucky!
Secret Seven on the Trail is set in a foggy time of autumn while the Seven are busy competing with the rival group the ‘Famous Five’ (not that Five, but Susie’s group of friends) and also unravelling a mystery involving half-heard messages and a railway line.
Secret Seven Fireworks is (naturally) set in November, and focuses on the children trying to solve a burglary. They still have time to make a guy to burn and procure a number of fireworks for their own fireworks party. There’s an extract in our post about Bonfires Guys and Fireworks and also other bonfire night tales, so I won’t repeat them all here even though they are autumnal.
The Hidey-Hole is Enid Blyton’s last full-length novel, though it’s a short one. It is primarily about three children who go blackberry picking and also find some stolen goods while they’re at it.
Round the Year Autumn as the title suggests is a whole book about autumn. It is a non-fiction book with eleven chapters covering all sorts of interesting things about the season.
In our cornfields
The birds fly south
All about shadows
Bulbs for the classroom
Spiders and their ways
The rain and what it does
Our tiny ploughman, the worm
How seeds seek their fortunes
The clouds we see
Our cats and dogs
The cheeky house-sparrow
There are plenty of short stories which are set in autumn – and this is in no way an exhaustive list. I’ve picked out ones I knew to be autumnal and added anything I could find by searching for autumnal keywords too.
Rambles with Uncle Nat – a fictional story full of factual information – has seven stories (each story is a chapter) covering autumnal themes like acorns, leaves and squirrels.
The Bee Postman
Away Go the Seeds
Conkers and Acorns
The Brilliant Leaves
The Busy Squirrel
The Ivy Feast
The Wonder Working Worm
Into The Heart of the Wood is from The Enid Blyton Holiday Book. I have every holiday book except the first and third, but I know that this one had a lovely autumnal colour plate by Grace Lodge to go with it.
Blackberry Pie and The Squirrels and the Nuts are from The Enid Blyton Book of the Year (a large volume with stories, songs, plays, poems and more for every month).
Blackberry Pie is a very short tale about a boy called Jeffery who is disappointing when he can’t go blackberry picking because his mother wants him to do some errands for her. He does it with good grace after a minor grumble and is rewarded with a huge blackberry bush to pick to his hearts content at the house he goes to on his errands.
The Squirrels and the Nuts is no longer, and is about two red squirrels who get into an argument when they can’t agree which stored nuts belong to which squirrel. By the time they’ve stopped fighting the other woodland animals have helped themselves to all the nuts.
And in The Nature Lover’s Book you will find Autumn Days and An Exciting Ramble. The Nature Lover’s Book is about three children, Pat, Janet and John, who go on walks with their Uncle Merry. He uses each walk to teach them about the countryside they pass through.
Autumn Days has Uncle Merry teaching them about spiders and their webs, why the leaves change colour, about hedgehogs hibernating, flowers of autumn and swallows migrating.
In An Exciting Ramble they collect hazel nuts, acorns, blackberries, elderberries, seeds of all kinds and anything else that could be planted to grow the next year.
There are many more, though! There’s the aptly named Autumn from Enid Blyton’s Calendar of 1943, and Happy Days which can be read here on the Enid Blyton Society’s webpage.
I love how with Blyton you never know what you’re going to get from a poem. It might be an education trip through a plant’s growth (Blackberries) or the migration of birds (Off to the South), or it might be an imaginative tale including pixies (Hazel Nuts).
Off to the South (From Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year)
WHERE ARE the Cuckoos? One by one
They gathered together and then were gone.
And the Swifts that darted high and low
Cried “Summer is over and we must go!”
The Nightingale no longer sings,
South he’s gone on his russet-wings,
And the Willow-wren and the Chiff-chaff, too,
Have flown to a land where the skies are blue.
The Fly-catcher’s gone, for his larder’s bare,
And the Blackcap’s flown where there’s food to spare,
The Martins are off and the Swallows sing
“Good-bye! Good-bye! We’ll be back in the spring!”
We’re sad when the twittering migrants go,
But they’ll be back when the daffodils blow!
Hazel Nuts (Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year)
THERE ARE NUTS on the hazel-tree, pointed and brown,
And the pixies are waiting until they fall down!
Now what are they waiting for? Pixies don’t feast
On hard hazel nuts they don’t like in the least!
Oh, they’re waiting until the nuts fall from the bough,
Then up they fly – see them, they’re fluttering up now!
And each little pixie pulls of the green case
That holds the brown hazel nut neatly in place.
They turn them the other way up – and behold,
They were hats, snugly fitting, to keep out the cold!
The hazel-tree’s generous – it grows nuts for you,
And hats for the pixies in winter-time, too!
Blackberries (Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year)
THE BLACKBERRY FLOWERS, small and shy,
Shone in August when we passed by.
The petals fell to the ditch below,
And little green knobs began to grow.
We watched them eagerly till one day
We saw them redden on every spray.
They turned to purple, they grew and grew
And the sun shone down on them all day through.
And now they are black and juicy and sweet
Ready for children (and birds!) to eat.
So let’s take our baskets and run down the lane,
For it’s blackberry, blackberry time again!
October (Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year)
I GIVE you nuts in cloaks of green
I give you berries, black and red,
Conkers, polished bright and clean,
Dropping down from overhead.
In the fields for you I grow
Mushrooms at the dawn of day,
And on the hedged high and low,
Old Man’s beard, soft and grey.
I give you leaves of red and gold,
I bid the ivy spread its honey,
And though my nights are long and cold,
My autumn days are sweet and sunny.
The Last Feast of Autumn (Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year)
ON MY WALL the ivy grows,
And now, when other flowers are dead,
A thousand buds of green it shows,
And soon a honeyed feast is spread
For starving flies and drowsy bees,
For hungry wasps and beetles bright,
Who dip as often as they please
Into nectar with delight.
The peacock butterflies are there,
Red Admirals spread their gaudy wings,
And blustering blue bottles share
The feast that ivy blossom brings.
Drink and be glad, you creatures small,
For soon Jack Frost, with fingers white,
Will creep along the ivied wall,
And nip you cruelly in the night!
Autumn Fruits is also from Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year but unfortunately my copy is a slightly later edition and it is abridged so doesn’t contain this poem. There are possibly some other autumn-themed poems in it, too.
Some other stuff
A while back Stef visited Bourne End in Autumn and wrote about it – Bourne End in the Autumn.
Enid Blyton’s Book of the Year contains more than just poems and stories, it also has nature notes for each month, detailing trees, fruits, flowers, birds, animals and more. The autumnal notes discuss the turning and falling of leaves, the migration of birds and so on.
There are also plays (Goodbye Swallows) and songs (Goodbye Song and The Wind’s Broom).