Over the years we have reviewed lots of books by other authors, because we think that they’re the kind of thing other people might like if they like Enid Blyton books.
I thought I would pull together a list of our reviews, and add a little bit about each author and what else they have written.
There are some writers who were contemporaries of Blyton, writing during her lifetime. There are also lots of modern writers who write in the genres she excelled at, some set in her era and some set now.
I’ll not include books which are prequels, sequels or continuations of Blyton’s work. They have their own tag here and I plan to do a guide to them all in the future, too.
Brisley, Joyce Lankester
Recommended read: Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories
Joyce Lankester Brisley was an English writer, born in 1896. A contemporary of Blyton the first book of her famous Milly Molly Mandy series came out in 1928.
Milly-Molly-Mandy is a little girl in a pink and white striped dress, and each book contains several short stories about her life in a little village during her four-to-eight year old years. She finds joy in many simple games and activities, helps out when she can and explores her world in the way only a young child can.
Recommended reads: Diamonds and Daggers (book 1 of 5 in the Marsh Road Mysteries) and The Mystery of Wickworth Manor which is a stand-alone title.
Elen Caldecott has written several books for children, her debut novel How Kirsty Jenkins Stole The Elephant was published in 2009.
Recommended read: The Animals of Farthing Wood
Colin Dann (born 1943) has written many books for children, most of them about animals. His Animals of Farthing Wood series has eight books, the first published in 1979 and the last in 1994. The BBC made a cartoon series based on the Farthing Wood books in the 90s.
Recommended read: Pea’s Book of Holidays
Susie Day describes herself as writing inclusive, diverse children’s books about the real world we live in. (Plus the occasional dragon.) Those include four books about Pea Llewellyn, three books in her Secrets series (not to be confused with the Secret Series), as well as a few stand alone young adult titles.
Recommended reads: A Mystery for Ninepence and The Harveys See it Through
Born in 1903 Phyllis Gegan was a teacher at a convent school in Kent. These two books are the only ones she had published, though she wrote several short stories for magazines as well as some non-fiction pieces for The Lady. (My thanks go to her nephew, Philip Gegan, for this information about his aunt.)
Recommended read: Mischief at Midnight from the Knight’s Haddon series.
Esme Kerr has written two boarding school books set at Knight’s Haddon. The Glass Bird Girl in 2014 and Mischief at Midnight in 2015. Although the books are set in the present say a technology ban at the school makes them seem more of Blyton’s time.
McGregor, R. J.
Recommended read: The Secret of Dead Man’s Cove
R. J. McGregor, a headmaster at a boys’ school, wrote both mystery and science fiction books for children from the 1930s through to the 1950s. The Secret of Dead Man’s Cove is a sequel to his 1934 book The Young Detectives.
Recommended reads: The Adventure Island Series
There are 14 books in the Adventure Island series, published between 2011 and 2013. The books are about three children; Scott, Jack and Emily, who, along with Emily’s dog drift, solve mysteries on Castle Key. Helen Moss has also written three Time Dogs books and three Secrets of the Tombs books.
Recommended read: The Borrowers series
Born in 1903 Mary Norton’s first book was The Magic Bedknob in 1945, followed by Bonfires and Broomsticks in 1947. The film Bedknobs and Broomsticks starring the wonderful Angela Lansbury is based on these books. Her Borrowers series (which has spawned a TV adaptation and several films) has five books and a short story, published between 1952 and 1982.
Recommended read: The Secret of Cliff Castle
Author of six very familiar sounding stories in the adventure, animal and adventure genres, Mary Pollock is actually just Enid Blyton writing under another name.
Recommended read: The Mysterious Boy
A life-long Blyton fan, Julie has written plenty of Blyton fan fiction, but The Mysterious Boy is her first published novel.
Recommended read: The Lone Pine series
Malcolm Saville was a prolific writer for children, writing books in eight different series, as well as many books about nature and the countryside and several travel guides. He was born in 1901 and his first book – Mystery at Witchend, the first Lone Pine title – was published in 1943. The series concluded in 1978, with the children having aged and developed somewhat, and each book reflecting the time it was published in. Saville’s books were primarily set in England, in Shropshire, Sussex, Dartmoor, and so on, and he included many real-life details to bring these locations to life.
Recommended reads: The Cherrys series
Born in 1893 Will Scott was an artist and a journalist before he began writing grown-up detective novels and plays. It wasn’t until 1952 that he began his Cherrys series which ran to fourteen books.
Recommended read: Frozen in Time
Ali Sparkes is children’s author with at least 40 books to her name. Many, like her 6 book Shapeshifter series or 5 book Unleashed series have a supernatural element, while others are more sci-fi. Frozen in Time is a stand-alone book which probably fits into the sci-fi genre.
St John, Lauren
Recommended read: Dead Man’s Cove
Dead Man’s Cove is the first of five books about Laura Marlin, a girl detective, published between 2010 and 2017. Lauren St John has written many other children’s books including five in her Animal Healers series.
Recommended reads: Murder Most Unladylike, Arsenic for Tea and Cream Buns and Crime.
Robin Stevens is the author of the Murder Most Unladylike books of which there are currently eight novels and a few short stories, with a new book expected in 2020. She has also written two books in her London Eye Mystery series.
Recommended read: The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is the first of four books in Katherine Woodfine’s Sinclair’s Mysteries series which began in 2005. She as also written two books in her Taylor and Rose Secret Agents series.
I will update this guide as and when I review any other authors’ books.
What a wonderful list! I’ll definitely have to read some of these – and in some cases rediscover them. Thank you!
Can I also give a mention to Joyce Lankester Brisley’s lovely book Bunchy, which I think is actually a spin-off of MMM, and which beautifully conveys the way that young children can live comfortably inside an overlap between reality and imagination.
I hadn’t heard of Bunchy before, but I will keep an eye out for it now.
This is a fabulous list, I read it as I’ve been looking for a book from my childhood and can’t find it. Would it be possible to chat via email please? I’ve searched everywhere but can’t remember what it was called just certain parts of the book.
Of course. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 🙂