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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

Enid Blyton for the 21st century? Why would you bother?

Posted by Lisa Hill on July 26, 2010

The SMH has an article –  Mercy me! Blyton gets an update – about Hodder & Stoughton updating the language in Enid Blyton’s books to make them more palatable to contemporary children.

But why would you bother?   Nostalgic adults, who ‘read the Blyton books and loved them’ in the 1950s when there wasn’t much else for children to read, are perpetuating the market, but from what I see in the school library, kids would much rather read Australian children’s fiction and contemporary authors – they like a bit of modern techonology in their adventure and mystery stories.  In other words, they are just like adults who (apart from a minority who like the classics) are mostly not the least little bit interested in books from the past, especially not ones set in British boarding schools which have no relevance to Australian school life.  (Even the Harry Potter books are starting to gather dust, now that the fuss has died down).  

Our students like Tashi, Zac Power and the Keys to Rondo series.  They like Deltora Quest, the Dragonkeeper series, the Saddle Club and If You’re Reading this, It’s Too Late.

Grandparents, I suppose, will go on buying the Blytons, and kids will dutifully read them, but really most of them would be much happier reading contemporary fiction…

4 Responses to “Enid Blyton for the 21st century? Why would you bother?”

  1. Louise said

    I just read about this recently, and as a Blyton fan as a child I must say that I’m rather outraged. I remember reading all the Famous Fives when I was about 9. Of course, things have come full circle, and I read these books with Lachlan a few years ago (when he was 7). Much to my great surprise he adored them. I read all 21 books out loud for bed time reading over some months- my definition of maternal devotion! They are dated to an adult reader, it’s true. But oddly enough the thing that I could enjoy most from our readings was actually the anachronistic language. Perhaps my reading these books to Lachlan helped with his enjoyment and understanding, but he too was totally in their thrall while it lasted. I think that they were great for his vocabulary. And it’s surprising the number of interviews I’ve read with authors who cite Enid Blyton as one of their favourite childhood memories. She certainly has had an enduring appeal, even if the plot is the same again and again, with some minor variations. Although we’re just reading through Deltora Quest, and I suspect that it’s the same situation, in modern form.

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