Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton

Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton My rating: 1 of 5 stars “And what did you do when you finished reading Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton?” “Well, my imaginary friend who has been invented to help me make a rhetorical point on the internet, I screamed. And then I screamed some more and a little moreContinue reading “Polly Piglet by Enid Blyton”

Mischief at St Rollo’s by Enid Blyton

Mischief at St Rollo’s by Enid Blyton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Mischief at St Rollo’s is never going to change the world. It’s a typically Blytonian school story; new kids go to a school, thing happen, shenanigans, shenanigans, end of term, I can’t wait to go back! It’s not high literature nor isContinue reading “Mischief at St Rollo’s by Enid Blyton”

The Naughtiest Girl by Enid Blyton

The Naughtiest Girl books then, eh? Let’s talk about them and what riots of weirdness they are. I’ve been rereading them for an article and I have thoughts noodling around in my brain about them. Blyton’s fascinating like that. She makes me noodle (is that a verb? Let’s make it one if it isn’t.). I’veContinue reading “The Naughtiest Girl by Enid Blyton”

The Children At Green Meadows : Enid Blyton

The Children At Green Meadows by Enid Blyton My rating: 5 of 5 stars Sometimes Enid Blyton could be rather brilliant. I picked this up in a second hand bookshop the other day as a treat to myself. I had a vague memory of the title and, what’s more, I had the odd ache forContinue reading “The Children At Green Meadows : Enid Blyton”

Five Fall Into Adventure : Enid Blyton

Five Fall into Adventure by Enid Blyton My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s a little part in this where Julian, after detailing the current predicament that the Famous Five have gotten themselves into, remarks, “…This is all very stupid and melodramatic” and it’s kind of the highlight of the entire book for me. It’sContinue reading “Five Fall Into Adventure : Enid Blyton”

Conversations with dead authors : Enid Blyton

  Enid Blyton “Can you write a biography of somebody without ever knowing the true facts? Why, you barely know anything about me.” She’s bored and not trying to hide it. I suspect that she never hides the way that she feels. I saw the little flash of irritation when they took a little tooContinue reading “Conversations with dead authors : Enid Blyton”

Happy birthday Enid Blyton!

Enid Blyton was born on this day in 1897. Happy birthday Enid! I’ve become increasingly fascinated by Blyton the more I’ve worked on the second chapter of my thesis. I’m considering the changing relationship of children’s literature with landscape; the Arcadian idyll of the Victorian period shifting through to the movements of the post-war period where boundariesContinue reading “Happy birthday Enid Blyton!”

A spectrum of choice : Girlhood and Enid Blyton

“Shall I tell you what I want? What I really really want? I really really really want to see a recognition of the diverse modes of femininity and girlhood presented in Enid Blyton’s school stories zig a zig aah.” Whilst I’m conscious that these aren’t the exact lyrics for the Spice Girls classic, I want you to imagineContinue reading “A spectrum of choice : Girlhood and Enid Blyton”

Last Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton

Last Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton My rating: 4 of 5 stars There’s maybe three or four books locked up in this finale to the Malory Towers series, three or four other stories waiting to be told in this tale of pace and speed and so important moments are lost in chapters, andContinue reading “Last Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton”

First Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton

First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton My rating: 5 of 5 stars And so my Blyton marathon reaches another great classic, her series of school stories set at the deliciously described Malory Towers. It’s a school set nebulously on the Cornish coast somewhere, but the detail is what makes this school sing. Turrets.Continue reading “First Term at Malory Towers : Enid Blyton”

Enid Blyton, St Clare’s and ferocious readability

I finished my St Clare’s reread last night. I’ve been reading these books as part of my research; they form one of the big aspects of my next chapter alongside the Malory Towers books. It’s been a long time since I read St Clare’s. I had fond memories but bare ones, you know? The sortContinue reading “Enid Blyton, St Clare’s and ferocious readability”

The O’Sullivan Twins : Enid Blyton

The O’Sullivan Twins by Enid Blyton My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m going to be deliberately provocative here and begin with the assertion that this might be one of the best school stories out there. At first glance, this is a strange assertion to make: The O’Sullivan Twins is the second novel in aContinue reading “The O’Sullivan Twins : Enid Blyton”

Enid Blyton’s Nature Lover’s Book : Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton’s Nature Lover’s Book by Enid Blyton My rating: 4 of 5 stars As ever with me and Enid Blyton, the idea of ‘rating’ one of her books is something quite different than rating another. So four stars, yes, definitely, but they are four Blyton-shaped stars and thus of a very different ilk toContinue reading “Enid Blyton’s Nature Lover’s Book : Enid Blyton”

The Story of My Life : Enid Blyton

The Story Of My Life by Enid Blyton My rating: 5 of 5 stars This book. This strange and terrifying and amazing book. The first thing to say is that it sort of defies rating. The five stars I’ve given it reflect, mainly, the outstanding audacity of it. It is supremely constructed in order toContinue reading “The Story of My Life : Enid Blyton”

The Joy of Enid Blyton

Yay! The fab team at Seven Stories (I’m such a fangirl) have put up a recording of their event on “The Joy Of Enid Blyton” via SoundCloud. I love Enid Blyton. Admittedly in real life she might have been a little … different… but in book form, she’s quite simply astounding. And that’s not justContinue reading “The Joy of Enid Blyton”

Looking for Enid : Duncan McLaren

Looking for Enid: The Mysterious and Inventive Life of Enid Blyton by Duncan McLaren My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is possibly the strangest and yet, maybe, one of the most brilliant biographies of an author I’ve ever read. It’s an approach that I don’t think would have worked for anybody but Enid BlytonContinue reading “Looking for Enid : Duncan McLaren”

Blyton. Bourne End. Birthday!

(Another phase of The Spectacularly Self-Indulgent Birthday Weekend!) Enid Blyton is a thing of wonder. I’m sure we can all agree on this? And on Sunday I visited her old house. Old Thatch is located just outside of Bourne End, Bucks. There’s a nice part about it here and the official website here. Guys, IContinue reading “Blyton. Bourne End. Birthday!”

Guest Post: Rachel Playforth on The Melling School series by Margaret Biggs

[I am so thrilled to bring you this guest post today on the Melling books from the lovely Rachel Playforth. Rachel is a poet, editor, crossword setter and librarian. She has poems in the recent anthologies:  Night Feeds and Morning Songs by Ana Sampson (Hachette UK) and These Are The Hands – Poems from the Heart ofContinue reading “Guest Post: Rachel Playforth on The Melling School series by Margaret Biggs”

Freelance Work

I’d be happy to work with you if you’re looking for a writer, tutor, or researcher on a temporary, part-time or longer basis. Here’s an outline of some of the things I’ve done, and I’d love to talk further if they sound of interest. My rates vary as to circumstance and the initial consultation isContinue reading “Freelance Work”

Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore

Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore My rating: 4 of 5 stars Oh man, I loved this! Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore is a new venture to me; new author, much more ‘Guide’ orientated then many of my normal reads, and yet it’s a delight. A rampant, utter, delight. It’s vivid, heartfelt, ferociously readableContinue reading “Judy, Patrol Leader by Dorothea Moore”

New Class At Malory Towers

Malory Towers: New Class at Malory Towers: Four brand-new Malory Towers by Enid Blyton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Malory Towers is having a moment. The past couple of years have seen theatre adaptations, news of the rights being sold to the BBC, and the publication of this: four new Malory Towers stories fromContinue reading “New Class At Malory Towers”

2016 : the year in children’s literature

“Wasn’t it good?” The sound of Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson slide into my ears as I settle down to write this look back at the bookish year, and they’re more of an appropriate soundtrack than I originally thought they were. 2016 has been a year, a whole hefty stomach punch of a year, and yetContinue reading “2016 : the year in children’s literature”

The Butterfly Club : Jacqueline Wilson

The Butterfly Club by Jacqueline Wilson My rating: 4 of 5 stars It’s been a while since I read one of Jacqueline Wilson’s books. I went through a phase of them when I got access to a new library (I say that like I was a burglar, but trust me I was legitimate and hadContinue reading “The Butterfly Club : Jacqueline Wilson”

1000 points in England related to children’s books

Originally posted on Big boots and adventures :
A pithy title, I know, but you wouldn’t believe how long it took me to boil that down from something substantially longer. Anyway; today I wanted to share a sample of the project I’m trying to get funding for (and if you’d like to fund an app of this, dudes…

The urge for the classic : on children’s books and those eternal surveys

Another day, another survey that says what children can and should read. The click bait nature of most of these articles aside (and note, I say most and not all), there’s something interesting here worth teasing out. I suspect that something might centre on the historic constructions of children’s literature itself; the nature of ageContinue reading “The urge for the classic : on children’s books and those eternal surveys”

First Class Murder : Robin Stevens

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens My rating: 5 of 5 stars It’s strange, sometimes, how books can make you long to read them and then freeze a little when you have them finally in your hands. And this was one: I love the work of Robin Stevens. I have adored Murder Most Unladylike andContinue reading “First Class Murder : Robin Stevens”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that every rainy day requires a very good book”

I wish I wrote this sitting in the kitchen sink but I don’t, I write it upstairs and I write it staring out onto a grey and rain spotted day. The sky’s a smudge of sadness and the roofs are slat-dark with the rain that’s pounded on them since first thing this morning. So what doContinue reading ““It is a truth universally acknowledged that every rainy day requires a very good book””

2014 : The year of the paradigm shift?

Was 2014 the year children’s literature made itself known? Whilst there’s an obvious issue in such a grandiloquent statement (viz. children’s literature has always been ‘known’, etc, etc) I do think there’s something in that idea and this is going to be the blog post where I attempt to unpack that sentiment. In other words,Continue reading “2014 : The year of the paradigm shift?”

Pea’s Book of Big Dreams : Susie Day

Pea’s Book of Big Dreams by Susie Day My rating: 5 of 5 stars The more I read of the Pea books, the more I keep being reminded of how they are a very quiet classic in the world of British children’s literature today. They have an almost palpable heritage of the Casson family, NoelContinue reading “Pea’s Book of Big Dreams : Susie Day”

The Sixth Form at St Clare’s : Pamela Cox

The Sixth Form at St. Clare’s by Pamela Cox My rating: 3 of 5 stars Thanks to my local charity shop, I recently picked up a batch of the Pamela Cox fill-in titles for both St Clare’s and Malory Towers and was a bit fascinated to see what I thought of them. I’d registered thatContinue reading “The Sixth Form at St Clare’s : Pamela Cox”

An introduction to the school story – ten titles to begin your reading journey

So you know I have a bit of a thing for school stories, right? Just in case that comes as a bit of an awful surprise to you, you’re either new (in which case, hi!) or haven’t been paying attention (in which case, remedial prep for you and Antoinette will bring ‘anchovy’ toast to yourContinue reading “An introduction to the school story – ten titles to begin your reading journey”

Pea’s Book of Holidays : Susie Day

Pea’s Book of Holidays by Susie Day My rating: 5 of 5 stars When I finished this, all I could think was: “I don’t read enough of Susie Day’s books.” These Pea books are glorious, wondrous things, full of heart and love and I am still glowing with the post-reading feeling several days later. IContinue reading “Pea’s Book of Holidays : Susie Day”

Words, wording, writing, making : thoughts on authoring

Before we get into this post, I’d urge you to go and read this by the estimable and muy excellente Clara Vulliamy. It’s a really interesting post on the terminology of writing ie: do you call yourself an author? A writer? Or a … something else?  And it is the inspiration behind this post.  IContinue reading “Words, wording, writing, making : thoughts on authoring”

Best of British : is there such a thing as the Great British Children’s Book?

I’ve been thinking about children’s literature and what, you know, makes it what it is today. I’ve thought for a while that we’re living in a second golden age, with the quality of titles being published during and in the past few years. But then I thought that well, maybe there’s something in that but there’s alsoContinue reading “Best of British : is there such a thing as the Great British Children’s Book?”

The Secret Life Of Anne

I’ve been reading a lot of Enid Blyton recently. From her gloriously mad autobiography through to the Famous Five, her mark on children’s literature remains arguably unsurpassed. And when I was on holiday in France recently, I was startled and then greatly pleased to see rows and rows of freshly issued Blyton books in theContinue reading “The Secret Life Of Anne”

Sunday round up and reflections

It’s that time of the week again! Here’s a catch-up of things in the world of children’s literature that you may have missed. Warning, it includes rants, farting and school stories. Well, would you expect anything less of me? 😉 1. Several new school stories have been released this week. They’re middle grade and theContinue reading “Sunday round up and reflections”

Why read? The School Story

There are a whole world of genres in children’s literature, and there are new ones being created each and every day. In these posts, I’ll be focusing  on some of the key genres and both introduce them and offer some top hints on where to begin. My first in this occasional series is very closeContinue reading “Why read? The School Story”

An esoteric and distinctly biased list of 50 children’s books you probably really should read (part five)

Yay, we did it! This is the final list of my fabulous fifty titles chosen with no rhyme or reason save their general awesomeness! And here (part one, part two, part three, part four) is where you can see all the previous posts that got us to this point. Now, on with the show! Little WomenContinue reading “An esoteric and distinctly biased list of 50 children’s books you probably really should read (part five)”

Children’s literature, food, and frenchwomen

Food is a central theme in children’s literature and school stories in particular. It’s something which has stayed eternally present from the cookery lessons of  the Chalet School, the roundness of Billy Bunter through to the chocolate frogs of Harry Potter. Food is a magical device and it’s particularly magical when used in the schoolContinue reading “Children’s literature, food, and frenchwomen”

Alice-Miranda On Holiday : Jacqueline Harvey

Alice Miranda On Holiday by Jacqueline Harvey My rating: 4 of 5 stars The second in the Alice-Miranda series, Alice-Miranda on Holiday is (as the title suggests) focused on Alice-Miranda’s holiday from school. She’s back home at her beautiful house Highton Hall, full of luscious meals and exciting high-jinks, and (hurrah!) there’s skullduggery afoot! IfContinue reading “Alice-Miranda On Holiday : Jacqueline Harvey”

Gifted and Talented children in children’s literature

I’m working on my dissertation at present and am discussing the representation of Gifted and Talented Children in children’s literature. Following both a plea on Twitter (thanks Tweeps!) and Mailing Lists (thanks, er, Meeps?), I now have a fairly healthy list of G+T characters / titles which I thought I’d share. Anybody else you thinkContinue reading “Gifted and Talented children in children’s literature”

The answers to the Second Quite Niche Children’s Literature Quiz

As promised, here are the answers to the quiz I posted on Christmas Eve! How did you do? Round One: Boarding School Stories One M-L hanging off a sturdy young sapling = One Mary-Lou hanging off a sturdy young sapling Two O’S T not caring at S C = Two O’Sullivan Twins not caring atContinue reading “The answers to the Second Quite Niche Children’s Literature Quiz”