(M.J.E. / Book Listings / Children's Fiction / Blyton)

Enid Blyton F.A.Q.

Questions I am commonly asked about Enid Blyton, and my answers to them.

      From one point of view, my Enid Blyton page is the most successful of all the various pages on my web site: it appears to attract the interest of readers most, because I receive far more e-mails from readers of the page than I do from readers of all other pages put together.
      I don't attribute this success either to my special knowledge of Blyton (which is reasonable but by no means at the expert level), or to having used extra skill in writing this page; rather, I think it is simply because, of all the topics I have covered on any web pages, Enid Blyton is the one with the widest interest amongst the public generally.
      Sometimes I am able to answer these questions from readers, and sometimes I'm not. However, I notice a number of questions coming up more than once (in slight variations), and I thought I'd put them here together with my answers.
      Please note that, in doing so, I am not trying to stop people writing to me about this page, and I welcome any comments or questions people might have. But since I do get the same questions a number of times, and write similar answers, I thought it would save people with these frequent questions and myself a bit of time if I dealt here with those questions that come up repeatedly.
      The questions are not taken directly from any correspondence I've received, but are in a simple form distilled from various enquiries. Where a questioner would insert into the question something specific such as the title of a book or a story, I will use a description such as "[title of story]" in my generalized version of the question.
      There is an Enid Blyton list on Yahoo! Groups which I belong to, and there are members of the list who are more knowledgeable than I am about certain aspects of Blyton's books. If you have questions you want to ask, and I can't help you, and they are not covered by my answers below, you might like to consider joining the list and posing your question there. You can join by visiting this page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Blyton.
      Alternatively, if you can't or don't want to do this, I would be willing to put your question to the list for you, then get back to you if I get any answers.
      I get sufficiently few e-mails about my Blyton page so far (perhaps just one every month or so) that I am willing to do this at the present time. If the volume of mail I had to respond to got too high, though, I might have to decline to put every query I can't answer to this mailing list, and just say to you, "I don't know".
      I welcome questions; but you might first like to see if your question is covered below.
      The questions are given in the approximate order of frequency that I get the questions, starting with the commonest. You can use the following links to go directly to them.

Do you know the title of a short story I read many years ago? [Followed by a few sentences summarizing what the questioner remembers about the characters or plot.]

      Do you know in which book I can find [short story title, or description of the story]?

      Where can I find [title of novel or short-story collection]?

      Do you know what book this is? [Description of plot of novel (as against short story) follows.]

      Do you know how valuable [book title] is?

      Where can I sell [book title]?

      Are you interested in buying [book title] from me?

Q. Do you know the title of a short story I read many years ago? [Followed by a few sentences summarizing what the questioner remembers about the characters or plot.]

      This is probably the commonest query I get. I would like to be able to help you; but unfortunately the chances are that I probably can't. Most of the Blyton books I have knowledge of are ones I first read as a child (hence my nostalgic interest in this author), and I didn't read any of the short-story collections then. I have more recently acquired a few of these collections and read them, and their contents are listed in detail
here. If I acquire and read any more, I will include their contents in the same section on the page.
      Enid Blyton wrote over 10,000 short stories (and, no, my fingers didn't slip and type too many zeroes), and it would be a hopeless task to attempt to collect and read them all, and, even if I could, I don't think I'm that interested in Blyton that I would doggedly read through them all - being, as they are, of different types and for different age-groups, and therefore of varying degrees of interest to me. My main interest in Blyton is oriented towards the work for older children, since I came to Blyton as a child later than most children do, and therefore read mainly books for older children. And, as far as I can tell, most of the short stories are targeted towards younger children.
      If I could at least obtain from somewhere a complete listing of all the 10,000 short stories, I would consider listing them on my web site, but, even so, I might end up not doing so, because my Internet service provider does impose a limit on the total size of my web site. They don't appear to enforce it rigidly, but I don't want to breach their trust by going too far over that - and I am already close to that limit, and still have new stuff I would like to put on my site. I'm hoping the standard size they allow will increase later, as computer hardware and storage space get cheaper in the future. I can pay extra for more space right now, but don't want to do that until the extra space I need justifies that.
      Anyway, this is academic for the current purpose, because there is no place I know of where I could get a listing of those 10,000 short stories.
      In conclusion, if I can't help you to identify the story, you could join the Blyton list mentioned above and ask there; or else I could post the question there for you and tell you any answers I get. [Back to list of questions]

Q. Do you know in which book I can find [short story title, or description of the story]?

      Unfortunately, I probably don't. See my answer to the
previous question for more on the needle-in-a-haystack problems that face anyone trying to identify individual short stories.
      There is a 2-volume Blyton bibliography by Tony Summerfield which may possibly list the various short-story collections Blyton produce and maybe the stories they contain. I don't know, since I don't have a copy of this bibliography and haven't even seen it, and I believe it is out of print at the moment (as of 2003). But I have heard that it may be reprinted, and, if it is, I intend to buy a copy. This may help me update my web page a bit, and perhaps provide a bit more detail on points I'm currently unsure of, or lack detailed information on. This could include information about short stories.
      Once again, the Blyton list is another possible source of answers to this question, since some of the members there know a lot more about the short stories than I do. [Back to list of questions]

Q. Where can I find [title of novel or short-story collection]?

      I don't have any special contacts, any magical sources of rare books: I get them from sources that anyone can go to. I will list here my suggestions on this:

Second-hand book-shops:
      If you're looking for a particular title, going round to dozens or hundreds of second-hand book-shops is a very time-consuming way to get it, unless it is sufficiently common that you are reasonably likely to find it quickly. But if you are a collector of many different books, and regularly visit second-hand book-shops generally, you probably have a whole list, maybe written, of things you've been looking for for months or even years (or even decades!). In that case, add the title to the list, and continuing doing your rounds of the shops. You will be quite likely to be lucky with many of the titles on your list.

      If it's a specific title you're after, and you're not in the habit of doing the rounds of second-hand book-shops, then on-line is the best way of locating a particular title, especially if it's rare. I have found titles immediately in this way that I had been looking for in book-shops for a decade or two. It will cost you, mainly because of shipping costs, which regularly exceed the cost of the book itself; and you may have to be very patient and spend quite a lot of time looking in different places, or coming back to check the same ones again and again. But if you want the book badly enough, you will be willing to pay up, and it will be money well-spent, since it will, in the end, be less of a liability to you than the many hours it would take to go round looking in dozens of different second-hand book-shops.
      These are the main on-line resources I've used with great success to find many rare books:

      eBay -
Auction site for all sorts of things, but worth checking for books.
      Advanced Book Exchange - http://www.abe.com:
Database linking together hundreds of different used-book dealers, mainly but not exclusively in the U.S.
      Addall - http://www.addall.com:
Similar to A. B. E. It seems to me that everything A. B. E. lists is also covered in Addall, and that Addall have further listings of their own. So I tend to look more often in Addall than A. B. E. For Addall, go to "Out of Print Books" before entering author name or book title.
      Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com:
They sell second-hand books, too.
      Bibliofind - http://www.bibliofind.com:
I think they are owned by Amazon now, so I don't know if this would be the same or not. Even though owned by them, it might still act as a separate service, and thus yield different results to http://www.amazon.com.

      There are hundreds of Blyton books for sale in these various locations, so I think you are highly likely to find the title you're after, unless it's uncommonly rare - and, even then, it will probably come up sooner or later. In all cases, keep trying these sources every couple of weeks if at first you can't find the book you want: stock are always coming and going, and the one you want may come up at any moment. [Back to list of questions]

Q. Do you know what book this is? [Follwed by description of plot of novel (as against short story).]

      I have better news here. If it is an adventure/mystery novel, school novel, or family novel, I probably can name the book from a bit of plot information. Maybe I can also do so with some of the animal or circus stories, although I would be a bit patchy on that.
      (If you're unsure what I am classifying as "adventure/mystery", "family", etc. stories, just go to the following links:

Adventure and mystery stories
            School stories
            Family stories
            Animal stories

The listing of titles on the page these links go to is classified first of all by these categories, so the links take you to the start of each of these categories.)
      If I got enough questions of this sort, I could consider adding one- or two-sentence plot summaries for each title to this page, and people could just read them and recognize the title they're after. But this would greatly increase the size and awkwardness of the page, or else require a new page, and, either way, it would use up more of my limited web-site space (already starting to run short), and I won't do this unless I reach a point where I'm getting too many questions asking what this or that novel is to manage comfortably, and until I have more space available for my web site to expand into.
      Until then, just ask me by e-mail - so far, I can manage the few questions of this sort I get quite easily. [Back to list of questions]

Q. Do you know how valuable [book title] is?

      In general, I don't. I can say that some of the early hardcover editions, especially first editions, of Blyton's books are quite expensive - or even very expensive, occasionally - as they are increasingly sought after by collectors. Their value is very much less if the dustjacket is missing. The general condition of the book will have an effect too, of course. Paperbacks and later hardcovers are normally just the regular prices you'd expect to see for used books; but the condition of the book will come into that, too.
      If you need more detail than these general guidelines, or feel for some reason that what I've said doesn't apply to your particular book, you could join the Blyton list I mentioned above and post an enquiry there. (If you don't feel you're interested enough in Blyton's work to join a mailing list, but simply want to value the book, there's nothing to stop you joining, asking your question, getting answers, then unsubscribing.)
      Alternatively, if you can't or don't want to do this, you could write to me and I could pose the question there and get back to you. I wouldn't be wanting to do this all the time (a few times a week, for example), and I think list members would start to ignore too many questions of this sort. But in fact I only get asked about the value of books a few times a year, and I offer to put the question on the list, and I sometimes get opinions - so I don't think there would be a problem with doing this at the frequency that I do.
[Back to list of questions]

Q. Where can I sell [book title]?

      I don't have any knowledge about the best places to sell books of any sort; nor do I even have particular knowledge of the general way to go about finding the best place to sell. I collect certain types of books, but I do not have any expert knowledge on book-collecting as such.
      If you think the book could have some value, I would have it valued reliably first, before selling it. I would imagine you could go to a second-hand book-shop (preferably one that sells a lot of children's books and whose owner appears to know a lot about used books) and ask what they will pay for it. This could effectively be a free, off-the-cuff valuing service, since you can refuse to sell it to them if they don't offer enough. It might even be best to go to several different shops and get a few different opinions.
      Having valued your book, you may like to sell it on eBay (
http://www.ebay.com) (in setting a reserve, the valuation should guide you), or at a regular used book-shop. You might get a better price (if it is worth it) if you go to a dealer that specializes in children's books, or at least has a large selection of them (which may not be quite the same thing, but it's something at least, and indicates the dealer may know something about children's books). You could also read the next question and see if I might be interested in buying it from you.
      Alternatively, you could join the Blyton list I mentioned above, even if only temporarily, and offer it for sale. It is not primarily intended simply as a channel for selling books, and is more a discussion forum for Blyton enthusiasts; but such enthusiasts are often also collectors, and I don't think there would be any real objection to a book being offered for sale there from time to time.
      Or else you could write to me, and I could post a message offering the book for sale, and get back to you if anyone seems interested. [Back to list of questions]

Q. Are you interested in buying [book title] from me?

      It depends what it is. Blyton wrote over 700 books, and I am not attempting to collect them all. The cost of doing this, the time it would take to read them, the storage space they would take up in my house, and the time it would take to find copies of all these books are all factors that enter into this. I also have a large science-fiction, thriller, and horror collection which is full of books I have yet to read, so I'm not especially looking for further Blyton to get involved in. So I limit my collecting to specific areas of her work that especially interest me.
      In general, titles I would be interested would be in the categories of adventure or mystery stories, school stories, and family stories; and these would be either books I don't yet have copies of, or books of which I do have a copy, but it's in poor condition, or it's a different edition from the one I would like to have. In general, I am not interested in the books involving magical elements written for younger children.
      If you are looking for somewhere to sell some books you don't want, and you really want details on what I might be interested in buying, please go
here. [Back to list of questions]

      If these questions don't cover what you would like to know, or you need more detail, I can be contacted at the e-mail address given below. (Go here if you need more information about how to handle the strange way the address appears, or the reasons why I have done this.)

Michael Edwards,
Victoria, Australia.

        E-mail: m j e (no dots or spaces) at remove-spam-block foxall dot com dot au
        Web site: http://www.foxall.com.au/users/mje

Do you have Enid Blyton books you are interested in selling? Here's what I might be interested in buying.
      Okay, you asked for it: I will now describe in more detail exactly what I might be interested in buying, if you have Enid Blyton books you'd like to sell. There could be exceptions to this, depending on the exact situation; so none of what I'm about to say should be taken as a promise to buy a book, and of course if I was made an offer I'd want to discuss it with you: the condition, the edition, the price, and so on.
      In general, I am more interested in books that have not been "updated" than I am in books that have been. This applies to all categories of books. The reason for this is not only because I prefer the unaltered original texts to bowdlerized ones, but also because in general I tend to like the style, illustrations, and presentation of the older editions anyway. I am especially interested in buying the precise editions I had as a child (which, alas, I no longer have). In some cases, I have managed to find such copies again. However, I might consider buying an "updated" one if it was attractive in some particular way, or if it was a title of which I don't have any edition at all.
      So these are my main areas of interest:

Adventure or mystery stories:
      This refers to stories in which the central characters solve crimes or other strange events, look for criminals, face great danger, and so on. It doesn't include the books for younger readers including elements of magic or fantasy. (Do you think this last point is arbitrary? But I have to set limits if I am to meaningfully describe different types of books at all. This definition of adventure and mystery books is commonly used in discussion of Blyton's work.)
      I have all titles in all the series of such books, except for some Secret Seven books; but some of my copies are in poor condition or lacking dustjackets. Most of them are paperback anyway, but some are not the editions I had as a child. I would like, for nostalgic reasons, to get the editions I knew as a child, with the same cover picture, and so on. I could, therefore, be interested in buying a paperback.
      I collect only hardcovers of the Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I have all the Famous Five books (one only in paperback), but probably two thirds of these lack dustjackets, and, of the remaining third, perhaps over half the dustjackets are torn or in poor condition. I could, therefore, be interested in buying further copies to replace these, but the price asked for would also be a factor I'd consider. (Yes, I know they are quite expensive, and it would depend on how much money I felt at the time I could spare, how interested I felt at the time, and various other subjective factors.)
      I could be interested in buying Secret Seven books with dustjackets. Recently both the Famous Five and Secret Seven series have been issued in paperbacks with the original illustrations (in full colour in one edition) and also the original cover picture. I am probably not interested in buying these from readers of this page, unless they are in good condition and at a lowish price (perhaps because the seller just wants to get rid of them), since I am tossing up in my mind whether to buy those editions at all; but if I do, I will probably simply go to a book-shop and buy new copies, rather than fiddling around with buying used copies, sight unseen, by e-mail, dealing with shipping costs, and so on. (Only a very attractive offer might tempt me on this.)
      I also have almost all the single (non-series) adventure stories. However, ones I do not have are Holiday House, What an Adventure, and The Queer Adventure. I'm not actually sure if the last two of these are adventure stories at all (I only guess so from the titles), so I'm not quite sure if I want to obtain them. However, I do very much wish to get a copy of Holiday House, which appears to be extremely scarce now - so I am open to any offers of a copy of this book.

School stories:
      I have all 17 of Enid Blyton's school stories, and most of these are in paperback, but some copies are in terrible condition: torn, falling apart, and so on. However, these are easily found in second-hand book-shops, so I probably wouldn't buy these by e-mail unless the deal look attractive in some way (such as being an older paperback in good condition). I could be interested in hardcover copies, but it would depend on how much they cost. These are books I read only as an adult (except for the Naughtiest Girl books and Mischief at St. Rollo's), so, although they are fascinating stories (and probably with more depth than the adventure and mystery stories I grew up on), they don't quite have the nostalgic interest to me that the adventure and mystery stories do. So I am probably less interested in acquiring hardcovers there, especially if they are expensive. (By "expensive", I mean, let's say, more than double the standard cost you would be likely to pay for non-rare hardcovers in a second-hand book-shop.)

Family stories:
      I already have all the well-known ones, some in editions that are less than adequate, and which I might like to replace. The well-known ones appear to be The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, The Children of Willow Farm, More Adventures on Willow Farm, The Family at Red-Roofs, Hollow Tree House, The Put-Em-Rights, House-at-the-Corner, Six Cousins at Mistletoe Farm, Six Cousins Again, Those Dreadful Children, The Six Bad Boys, and The Children at Green Meadows. Lesser-known ones I also have include Four Cousins and The Happy House Children (the 1966 volume containing the two short novels The Happy House Children and The Happy House Children Again).
      There are several lesser-known ones I don't have, and I would be interested in purchasing any copies of these you might have. These include: At Appletree Farm, The Brown Family, The Caravan Family, The Pole Star Family, The Queen Elizabeth Family, The Smith Family (books 1 to 3), They Ran Away Together, the Twins series, The Troublesome Three, Four in a Family, or The Boy Who Came Back.

Short stories:
      I have only a few collections of short stories, and they are all listed
here. In general, I am not trying to collect as many short story collections as possible. However, I would be interested in buying a collection if it has more than a few adventure-type stories in it: that is, children playing detective, getting into danger, and so on. I would be especially interested if the collection included one or more stories featuring characters from one of the main adventure and mystery series (listed here). That is, if the story is not already in a collection I have - I don't want to needlessly duplicate copies of stories I already have.
      All the Famous Five and Secret Seven stories I know of are included in the collections Five Have a Puzzling Time and Other Stories and The Secret Seven Short Story Collection, which I already have copies of. Their contents are listed on the web page at the links just given. If you have a copy you wish to sell of any story featuring these characters which is not in one of these collections, I would be very interested in buying it (that is, the collection it is included in).
      Similarly, there are two Find-Outers short stories included in Enid Blyton's Adventure Treasury; but I already have this volume, and they are the only two short stories in this series. But if others exist, I would buy a collection that included another such story.

      In general, I am not particularly interested in the numerous books for younger children. And that also includes series such as Noddy, The Wishing Chair, The Faraway Tree, and the like. I didn't read them as a child, and I just don't have time to get interested in them now. My interest in Blyton is probably more than half a nostalgic one, so I am not especially seeking to widen my coverage of Blyton's work, for the time, cost, storage space, etc. reasons mentioned above.
      Similarly, I am not collecting the various nature books, educational books, Bible story collections, retelling of old myths and legends, and so on. I would only make an exception for such books if, on the basis of a clear description, it sounded especially interesting to me.

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This page created on Wednesday, 11 June, 2003;
last modified on Wednesday, 11 June, 2003.