My favourite Blyton covers part one

Having done some posts on the worst and most misleading covers lately I thought it was time to balance that out with a celebration of some of the covers that I love.

I’m not going to rank them in order, and I’ve tried to keep to a reasonable number of covers because we all know that I could just pick everything Soper ever did.

I learned a few things about my preferences while doing this, hence the slightly odd headings. I mean we all knew that I prefer the early/original covers but who knew I loved covers with either water, primary colours, or both?

Eileen Soper

I’ll start with Soper – and there are quite a few of hers but I think I have been quite restrained because she did do an awful lot more than I’ve picked out.

OK, so Famous Fives first.

I’ve always appreciated her work on the Famous Five covers but not having a lot of the dustjackets myself I’ve actually overlooked all the additional details on the spine and the back. I usually just use the fronts of the covers on the blog as well.

But as you can see the second edition covers have not only the attractive front cover (here Five on a Treasure Island was chosen for the tantalising view of Kirrin Island and the wreck) but also another illustration on the spine and headshots of the Five on the back.

The list of the rest of my favourite Famous Five covers is interesting because it shows that my favourite covers and my favourite books from the series don’t align all that well.

For example Five on a Secret Trail, Five Have Plenty of Fun and Five Go Off to Camp are in my bottom seven, whilst my top two don’t feature in this covers list.

I chose Secret Trail because the colours are appealing (see primary colours, below) and I love the detail of the rope around Julian’s waist. The colours on Plenty of Fun are also attractive and I love the vignette on the back of the children swimming. And Camp I chose as it’s so atmospheric and who wouldn’t choose a spook train?

The other two I like are Five Get Into a Fix with George and Dick frozen in that moment of fun before they plummet into the snow, and Five Go To Demon’s Rocks with the lighthouse in the background, that mix of red, blue and yellow I seem to find so irresistible and of course the sea in the background.

Aside from her work on the Famous Five series, though, there are some real beauties. This one from More Adventures on Willow Farm shows how Soper has made use of the entire of the dustjacket to create a stunning wrap around scene from the farm. The front cover alone is attractive but when you open it out like there’s just so much more to see. I love the gambolling lambs (or are they kids, I must re-read the book!) and all the other details she has packed in.

A similar farmhouse and bridge appear on the equally lovely cover for I’ll Tell You A Story (and I’ll Tell You Another Story which reuses the same artwork).

Another perfect example of a wraparound scene on a dustjacket is from The Wonderful Carpet and Other Stories. At the risk of not sounding like myself, this one’s just so pretty and I love the little scenes inside the bubbles.

The two covers Soper did for the Secret Seven prequels make me wish that she had done the whole series.

I love how Scamper is always just that bit behind them, hidden on the back cover!

Primary Colours

A recurring theme was covers I seemed to choose based on not a lot more than an attractive mix of colours, namely red, blue and yellow.

While I like all of Tresilian’s Adventure Series covers my favourites are the Thames one for The Valley of Adventure followed by The Sea of Adventure.

Notice the bold colours the children are wearing, plus both have water in them which something else I appear to be drawn to!

This edition of The Rockingdown Mystery is actually the third, and to me, far more attractive than the first two. Again notice the prominent reds and yellows in the text and clothes and the blue of the sky.

rockingdown mystery

Two that take primary colours to the extreme are two of the Mary Pollock books. The third edition of The Children of Kidillin in particular is bright to the point of almost garishness and yet I find it really striking and a joy to look at. The sky is yellow, the heather is red, but I would happily frame this and put it on my wall.

Mischief at St Rollo’s, meanwhile, is almost tame in comparison.

This was supposed to be a quick and easy post throwing together some nice covers. As it turns out, however, there are so many that even this first 16 have taken me ages. I have at least 20 more so I’ll save them for another day!

Which are your favourite covers?


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5 Responses to My favourite Blyton covers part one

  1. Suzy Howlett says:

    Once again, your post has made me smile. Great choices, thank you!


  2. chrissie777 says:

    Fiona, thank you for a lovely post!


  3. Dale Vincero, Brisbane Australia says:

    “Five Have a Wonderful Time” would have to be my favourite FF front cover.
    Thanks for the article, Fiona.


  4. The cover of ‘The Wonderful Carpet and Other Stories’ is so evocative of the 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’, with Dorothy sitting with Toto (in this image, a rabbit) in the wide, flat field of flowers, in Oz; the image of Glinda, the Witch of the South, riding overhead in her bubble; and the ‘Wonderful’ wizard of Oz referenced in the title (‘The Wonderful Carpet’). It’s not hard to see that this 1953 cover, easily my favourite, has been strongly influenced by the 1939 movie.


  5. Diane says:

    Have a lot of the hardback books (Famous Five) with the Eileen Soper cover from 1960s I think. My favourites are Five get into a Fix and Five have a Wonderful Time.


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