In case you missed it, I’ve recently read Enid Blyton’s Holiday Stories – the 2015 Hodder collection – to Brodie at bedtimes.
This is the first in what will probably be a reasonably long series of posts as I half-review and half-compare the texts of the various stories in it.
I don’t have all the original stories but I expect I have a decent number of them – so I’ll begin by hauling all the potential sources off the shelves.
This is one of many recent Hodder collections which brings together around 30 stories with a particular theme.
This one has 26 stories, and below are the titles, where they were originally found and where my version comes from (if I have it). I tend not to collect anything published after Blyton stopped writing new material in the mid 60s, and most pre 1940s books are harder to find, so the bulk of my collection is from 1940-1964, which mostly explains why I’m missing the titles I am below.
At Seaside Cottage – At Seaside Cottage – I don’t have this as it’s very hard (and also expensive) to find in the original form, though there’s one paperback reprint from 1969.
The Magic Ice Cream – Sunny Stories For Little Folks 222 – The Red Story Book
Wagger Goes to the Show – Sunny Stories 407 – The Eighth Holiday Book
A Surprise for Jimmy – Sunny Stories For Little Folks 163 – The Astonishing Ladder and Other Stories
The Twins Get in a Fix – Sunny Stories 138 – The Tenth Holiday Book
The Enchanted Cloak – Sunny Stories 244 – Tales After Tea
Adventure Up a Tree – Sunny Stories 486 – The Twelfth Holiday Book
John’s Hanky – Good Housekeeping – I don’t have this (its only reprint pre 1975 was in The Big Bedtime Book 1951)
The Magic Watering Can – Sunny Stories For Little Folks 227 – I don’t have this, it looks like pre 1997 it’s only in The Daily Mail Annual for Boys and Girls from 1946.
Peppermint Rock – Sunny Stories 468 – The Eleventh Holiday Book
The Donkey on the Sands – Sunny Stories 192 – I don’t have this but it was in three versions of Jolly Tales plus a few post 1960s collections.
In the Middle of the Night – Sunny Stories For Little Folks 245 – I thought I had this but it turns out that the stories by the same title in The Red Story Book and Tricky The Goblin and Other Stories are both entirely different tales.
A Bit of Blue Sky – Sunny Stories 150 – The Happy Story Book
The Smuggler’s Caves – Sunny Stories 386 – The Sixth Holiday Book
Mr Gobo’s Green Grass – Sunny Stories 179 – The Third Holiday Book
Smokey and the Seagull – Enid Blyton’s Magazine 4.15 – Not reprinted until 1991
Adventures Under the Sea – Merry Moments Annual – I discovered a Blyton book I’d never heard of when looking for this one – it’s only pre 1989 reprint was in Tarrydiddle Town and Other Stories!
An Exciting Afternoon – Sunny Stories 417 – The Water-Lily Story Book
Lazy Lenny (originally titled Lazy Leonard) – Sunny Stories 310 – The Fifth Holiday Book
Pink Paint for a Pixie – Sunny Stories 303 – A Story Party at Green Hedges
Shut the Gate – Sunny Stories 424 – The Eleventh Holiday Book
Look Out for the Elephant! – Sunny Stories 465 – The Tenth Holiday Book
Staying with Auntie Sue (Originally titled The Spoilt Little Girl) – Sunny Stories 399 – The Eleventh Holiday Book
A Puppy in Wonderland (Originally titled A Puppy in Fairyland) – Sunny Stories For Little Folks 95 – I don’t have this, it’s in the News Chronicle no4 and the Pitkin Pleasure Series which I haven’t collected
The Three Sailors – Sunny Stories 82 – The Gay Story Book
The Magic Seaweed – Sunny Stories for Little Folks 144 – The Little White Duck and Other Stories
That’s not bad – I have 18 of the stories out of 26.
How many books (and bookmarks) it takes to make up one new collection, and one series of blog posts.
At Seaside Cottage
This is an unusual inclusion for two reasons. First, it’s the only longer story in the collection and is actually split into three chapters. Perhaps if this hadn’t been included then there would have been 29 or 30 stories in total.
Secondly, this is the precursor to the Secret Seven, though that is not mentioned. Peter and Janet are a bit younger in this story, so they haven’t even thought up the Secret Seven yet. That comes in their second short book – The Secret of the Old Mill. Both of these are pretty scarce – the only copies I could see at the moment are going for £325 for Seaside Cottage and £98 for Old Mill.
Unlike in the later Secret Seven books there is no mystery in this short story, instead it’s a quintessential Blyton holiday tale, full of sand, sea, boats, ice-cream, rockpools, and of course beach caves. Granny’s cottage’s back garden has a gate that leads straight onto the beach, so close the winter tides sometimes splash up the garden path. I immediately wanted to go and stay right there (but perhaps not in the middle of winter).
Sadly the new collection is unillustrated and so we miss out on Eileen Soper’s beautiful work – but it’s all in the Cave.
Obviously without the original edition I can’t compare the text but this has probably been updated in places. They take the train to Granny’s and obviously at the time it would have been a steam train but there are none of the usual references to trains puffing into stations and so on.
Hopefully, these stories are unaltered, as many of her books are, today?
No, I can tell even having not read the originals that there are updates. There’s modern money in at least a few and who knows what else.
Which is why I dont want to buy the moderns.
‘At Seaside Cottage’ by Enid Blyton, 1969; PAPERBACK.
Here’s a bookseller in Hay on Wye in England who will sell it you for £2.50 :
I’m semi-tempted to buy the paperback version so I’d at least have my own copy(the Holiday Stories book is actually from the library) but what I’d really love is the original which would definitely have at least a couple of zeros added to that price.
You might find this link useful. Steve
That’s great – I’d not seen that site before.
Eileen Soper’s superb illustrations really capture the time period when Blyton wrote her stories. They encapsulate a world of childhood wonder and remembrance to the point that the text does not convey the same sense of engagement if they are absent.
Here is ‘Enid Blyton’s Summer Stories’, which anyone can read online with a free account at the Internet Archive’s open library –
Contains 27 classic Blyton short stories.
The Fish That Got Away — The Enchanted Toadstool — Jimmy and the Elephant Man — The Little Button Elves — The Girl Who Was Left Behind — A Story of Magic Strawberries — The Marvellous Pink Vase — When Mollie Missed the Bus — A Bit of Good Luck — The Surprising Buns — Pretty Star the Pony — The Stolen Shadow — On Jimmy’s Birthday — Bonzo Gets Into Trouble — The Roundabout Man — The Fairies’ Shoemaker — Something Funny Going On — The Little Toy-Maker — Billy’s Bicycle — That Girl Next Door! — The Boy Who Never Put Things Back — Policeman Billy — Think Hard, Boatman — The Wishing Spells — The Girl Who Had Hiccups — Christina’s Kite — The Galloping Seahorse.