On my bookshelf part 5


I have written about most of my Blyton books already, but there are more children’s books in my collection. I have another shelf of mostly vintage books and one of mostly newer ones, which also has my collection of Blyton biographies.


Some vintage children’s books

From the left;

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce in a 1970s edition formerly a library book.

An huge hardback omnibus of the first four Borrowers books by Mary Norton and a paperback of the last book The Borrower’s Avenged.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (this is actually a recent paperback).

Jean Becomes a Nurse by Yvonne Trewin.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. I absolutely love the film but have never finished the book as I found it quite slow.

The Story of The Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit, which I liked but it’s not what I expected from the title. It’s more akin to The Family at Red Roofs than The Treasure Hunters.

Two ‘Cherries’ titles by Will Scott (these are so hard to find!) The Cherrys to the Rescue and The Cherrys’ Famous Case.

The Treasure of Trevellyans by Doris Pocock (bought just because I liked the cover).

Torridon’s Surprise by Mary Muir, this is set in Scotland and I’m looking for the first in the series so I can start reading.

The Secret of the Loch and The Secret of Grange Farm by Frances Cowen.

Then I have some Collin’s Seagull Library books, I love the spines on these and can’t resist if I see them going cheaply in charity shops. They are The Harveys See it Through by Phyllis Gegan, The Children of Primrose Lane by Noel Streatfeild (I have more of hers further along the shelf), The Red Flower Mystery by Juliet Marais Louw, and A Mystery for Ninepence by Phyllis Gegan.

I should put Torridon’s Surprise by the other Seagull Library books, and put the two Phyllis Gegans together – I’m seriously looking at my shelves anew doing these posts.

After that is Sue Barton Student Nurse by Helen Dore Boylston.

Then some school books – Queen of the Daffodils by Leslie Laing, Three Terms at Uplands, The Leader of the Lower School and The School at the Chalet all by Angela Brazil. I’m now questioning why I’ve split my Angela Brazils onto two shelves and how to fix it. Lastly, Kits at Clynton Court School by May Wynne.

Finally, the rest of the Noel Streatfeilds. Party Frock, Ballet Shoes, Apple Bough, The Painted Garden, By Special Request and The Fearless Treasure.

I have to admit I haven’t read quite a lot of these books! I just couldn’t help buying them because they look nice!  At a rough count I have read 14 out of the 29, so not quite half.


Some newer children’s books amongst other things

First, which you can barely see, is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a special edition with the characters names changed to that of my family. It was a present. I’ve read the story but not in that edition, as I find it really weird!

Then are my Roald Dahls (not the most modern of children’s books, but newer than a lot of what I have on my other shelves);

Storyteller, the Life of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock, which I’ve only ever read the first chapter or so of.

The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, The Roald Dahl Diary 1997, Boy and Going Solo, Danny Champion of the World, George’s Marvellous Medicine, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Other Stories, The Witches, The Twits, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Great Glass Elevator.

I should also have a copy of Matilda, but I think I might have lent it to my sister. As you can see lots of the Dahls are very well read. My favourites are mostly the longer one; The BFG, The Witches, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Then some much newer stuff: Diamonds and Daggers by Elen Caldecott, Mr Lemoncello’s Library Olympics (I have read two more in this series, and they are great literary and inventive fun) by Chris Grabenstein, Pea’s Book of Holidays and Pea’s Book of Big Dreams by Susie Day. I have reviewed Pea’s Book of Holidays as it has a Blyton connection.

I have the whole Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry, they have been read so many times that they are falling apart. The omnibus of the first three books actually has a chunk missing and I really need to get a new copy so I can re-read. In a similar vein, two of the Little Sister books by Allan Frewin Jones. There are a dozen or more of these and I’d love to find some more.

Some classics from the Parragon library. My aunt used to buy me boxed sets of these for my birthdays, so I had dozens but I only kept my favourites (I don’t think I even read them all). I have; A Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson, What Katy Did by Susan M Coolidge (not sure why I didn’t keep the rest of the Katy books!), and Heidi by Johanna Spyri. I’m also wondering why I didn’t keep ones like The Secret Garden! I would like to replace some of these with older editions, if it weren’t for considerations of money and space!

Anyway. Another Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes for Anna, Love From Greg by Maureen Stewart (I’d love to find Dear Emily by the same author, to find out more about Emily, who Greg is writing to in his book).

Then we are back to Blyton stuff! There are four of the Famous Five Adventure Game Books, some with the dice and cards still there. The Whispering Island, The Shuddering Mountain, The Wailing Lighthouse and The Secret Airfield. I’ve never played any of them, and there are eight in total.

The rest are biographies/autobiographies. Enid Blyton by George Greenfield (her literary agent) Enid Blyton and her Enchantment with Dorset by Andrew Norman, So You Think You Know Enid Blyton’s Famous Five? by Clive Gifford (actually a quiz book), Looking For Enid by Duncan MacLaren (gets slated by many fans but I enjoyed it), A Childhood at Green Hedges by Imogen Smallwood (Blyton’s younger daughter), Tell Me About Enid Blyton by Gillian Baverstock (Blyton’s older daughter), Enid Blyton at Old Thatch by Tess Livingstone, Enid Blyton by Barbara Stoney (the seminal biography), The Story of My Life by Enid herself, The Famous Five; Everything You Wanted to Know by Norman Price, and The Enid Blyton Story by Bob Mullan. I’ve also recently purchased The Blyton Phenomenon by Sheila Ray and slotted that in beside the Stoney biography.

On top are;

The Clue of the Velvet Mask by Carolyn Keene. I have hundreds of Nancy Drews but this is my only vintage hardback. The rest are 80s and 90s paperbacks are are stacked in my wardrobe.

The Parent Trap by Erich Kastner, which is really quite different from either of the movies.

The Railway Children by E Nesbit. I’ve not read this edition but I have read the book at least twice before.

The Mysterious Boy by Julie Robinson.

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6 Responses to On my bookshelf part 5

  1. chrissie777 says:

    I can relate to your Wyss reading experience. I once read as a child “Heidi” by Johanna Spyry and found it rather boring. I loved the different movie versions, but never read the book again. Do you have “Good Night, Mr. Tom” by Michelle Magorian? That’s one of the best children’s books I ever read about the evacuation of a boy from London during WW II. Probably my most often read British children’s book apart from EB and Norman Dale. It was also filmed, but I like the book better.

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    • fiona says:

      I had read and loved a very abridged version of Heidi (maybe a Ladybird book) with lovely illustrations so the full novel didn’t quite live up to my expectations. I’ve not read Goodnight Mr Tom. I remember my younger sister reading it at school and she and my mum crying over it a lot!

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  2. chrissie777 says:

    If you like children’s books set in Scotland, Elinor Lyon wrote the Ian & Sovra series way back in the early 1950’s to 1960’s. Vol. 1 “House in Hiding” is very blytonesque.
    French children’s book author Paul-Jacques Bonzon wrote “The Runaway Flying Horse” which I re-read after many years after our Scotland trip in May. It’s beautifully written and also takes place mostly in Scotland and in the beginning for a bit in London.

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  3. chrissie777 says:

    Did you read “A Summer to die” by Lois Lowry? I can also recommend “The Hideaway Summer” by Beverly H. Renner. Both I read several times.

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  4. chrissie777 says:

    Except of the George Greenfield book I have all the EB biographies that you’ve listed plus Viv Endecott’s book on EB and Dorset. I also enjoyed reading Duncan MacLaren’s book, but it was quite a while ago.

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