Enid Blyton references in other works of fiction part 2


For years I have been collecting little quotes where other authors have mentioned Blyton in their books. The first I noted long before the blog even existed, though I have no idea what purpose I had noted it down for back then. I pulled together all the references I had collected in a post a while back, but since then I have found more (plus a couple I forgot to add last time) so here’s another collection of quotes.


Class: Welcome to the Little School by the Sea – Jenny Colgan

It’s perhaps not surprising that Jenny Colgan is featuring here, seeing as she wrote her own boarding school stories which she admits are highly influenced by Malory Towers. She mentions Blyton and Malory Towers in her author’s notes in those titles, which I have quoted in my reviews so I won’t repeat them here. However there’s another reference within the first story.

She looked through it all nervously in the staff room. Some modern poetry, nothing too frightening, plus the novel. She was looking forward to Wuthering Heights and Tess for the older ones; she’d never been able to teach those before… Although, she wondered, maybe all the girls here would have read those books already? They were going to be way ahead of what she was used to. What if this was the equivalent for them of Noddy stories?


The Bookshop on the Shore – Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore an indirect sequel to The Bookshop on the Corner, as it follows a different main character. Zoe has moved to Kirrinfief (a Blyton reference in its own right) to take over Nina’s mobile bookshop while the latter is on maternity leave, and also to act as an au pair for her host’s unruly children. Her host happens to be a book buyer / seller, scouring estate sales for books which he sells on to bookshops. He is not that good at the job however as his study is crammed full of books he has bought but can’t part with…

Zoe grabbed the nearest book to her. It was a beautiful golden-edged copy of the Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald.

Although not a direct Blyton reference, the book Zoe finds in Ramsay’s study is Blyton’s favourite as a child. This may be coincidence as lots of classic Children’s books are mentioned, but as Colgan is a Blyton fan it may be more than coincidence.

Zoe had been a cheerful, bookish child not much given to introspection. If she had a bad day at school she’d read the Famous Five where friendship was assumed and never questioned. If she’d had a good day at school she’d read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where untold treats and wishes came to good unspoilt children. If she was feeling sorry for herself she’d read What Katy Did and imagine the horror of being trapped in bed. If she was feeling in a positive mood she’d read The Magic Faraway Tree and make up her own lands. In short, she self-medicated with books.


500 Miles From You – Jenny Colgan

500 Miles From You is another sort-of sequel. Set in Kirrinfief again it has a different main character to both the previous two, though Zoe and Nina pop up now and again. It’s less literary as it’s based on a nurse rather than a bookseller, but Colgan still works in a Blyton reference for us.

Now, he knew there was warm bread in the kitchen from the baker’s as well as good cheese and ripe tomatoes and, if he wasn’t mistaken, Nina had bought some ironic Enid Blytonesque ginger beer which they were both enjoying entirely unironically.


Death and Croissants – Ian Moore

A Facebook group I’m in has been running a casual book group lately so I read this so I could join in. I didn’t think it was particularly great but it netted me a new Blyton reference!

If he was going to take part in this adventure – an innocent word, he reckoned, more reminiscent of Enid Blyton than old blokes being possibly done in – then he was going to make damn sure that Valérie d’Orçay didn’t just take him for granted.


True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop – Annie Darling

The first in this series also had a couple of references which I noted in my last post.

So, as the summer’s giddy whirl of parties and celebrations continued, on non-going-out nights, she was in bed by nine. Even missing The Midnight Bell pub quiz, much to Tom and Nina’s dismay because Verity could answer questions on obscure saints and feast days and was no slouch on geography, beekeeping and the collected works of Enid Blyton (though admittedly those last two categories rarely came up).


The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

I was surprised to find a Blyton reference in a Neil Gaiman book, it seemed somehow incongrious in the middle of quite a dark, scary book, but it seems that Gaiman was a fan of Blyton – at least as a child.

I went back to the bedroom. It was my night to have the door to the hallway open, and I waited until my sister was asleep, and wouldn’t tell on me, and then, in the dim light from the hall, I read a Secret Seven mystery until I fell asleep.

There is also a more oblique reference which is not necessarily Blyton, or not exclusive to Blyton anyway.

Adult stories never made sense, and they were so slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn’t adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?


The Little Wartime Library – Kate Thompson

I featured references from this book in my last post but forgot entirely about the interview with the author at the end.

What did your childhood library look, feel and smell like? Bet you can remember!

Like most, when it came to Enid Blyton, I virtually read the print off the page. Malory Towers gave me the keys to a boarding school experience I’d never have.


The Last Library – Freya Sampson

This is not from the main body of the novel but again is from the author at the end. Or it might have been the beginning I have forgotten!

When I was a child, I used to go to my local library every week and take out six books. It was there that I first discovered Matilda, where I worked my way through the St. Clare’s, Nancy Drew and Point Horror series, and where I borrowed my first Jilly Cooper novel.


Have you spotted any references lately?

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