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BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!

alanabit 21 Dec 05 - 10:36 AM
Firecat 21 Dec 05 - 10:41 AM
GUEST, Topsie 21 Dec 05 - 10:55 AM
Piers 21 Dec 05 - 11:18 AM
mack/misophist 21 Dec 05 - 11:23 AM
GUEST, Topsie 21 Dec 05 - 12:33 PM
Emma B 21 Dec 05 - 12:44 PM
Rapparee 21 Dec 05 - 01:52 PM
alanabit 21 Dec 05 - 02:04 PM
GUEST 21 Dec 05 - 03:07 PM
Little Hawk 21 Dec 05 - 03:17 PM
TheBigPinkLad 21 Dec 05 - 04:14 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Dec 05 - 04:23 PM
GUEST 21 Dec 05 - 04:26 PM
GUEST, Topsie 21 Dec 05 - 05:39 PM
jonm 22 Dec 05 - 03:39 AM
MBSLynne 22 Dec 05 - 06:26 AM
Trevor 22 Dec 05 - 07:26 AM
GUEST, Topsie 22 Dec 05 - 07:41 AM
Gervase 22 Dec 05 - 09:30 AM
Gervase 22 Dec 05 - 11:29 AM
Little Hawk 22 Dec 05 - 12:37 PM
Little Hawk 22 Dec 05 - 12:48 PM
Little Hawk 22 Dec 05 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Janine 22 Dec 05 - 02:50 PM
Grab 23 Dec 05 - 04:44 AM
GUEST, Topsie 23 Dec 05 - 04:53 AM
MBSLynne 23 Dec 05 - 05:49 AM
Trevor 23 Dec 05 - 06:29 AM
Trevor 23 Dec 05 - 06:40 AM
GUEST 23 Dec 05 - 09:58 AM
Grab 23 Dec 05 - 12:22 PM
Nigel Parsons 23 Dec 05 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 23 Dec 05 - 07:08 PM
MBSLynne 24 Dec 05 - 04:50 AM
alanabit 24 Dec 05 - 08:25 AM
Mo the caller 24 Dec 05 - 01:59 PM
alanabit 24 Dec 05 - 02:12 PM
Mo the caller 24 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM
GUEST 24 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM
alanabit 24 Dec 05 - 03:35 PM
alanabit 24 Dec 05 - 03:40 PM

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Subject: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:36 AM

It looks as if the Famous Five have not waned in popularity. I used to read them as a kid and now I read them to my six year old son. It is quite an eye opener to me to see how awful some of the writing is. It does not seem to matter much to my son though, as we rip through one book and into the next. Did anyone else here read them to their children?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Firecat
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:41 AM

I read them when I was a kid! And that wasn't THAT long ago (I'm 22 in about a fortnight).


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 10:55 AM

I had one of them. I read it over and over again. I asked for more but my mother (who clearly didn't understand me} went to a book shop and looked at them and decided they were 'too boyish'. She bought me a very tame Enid Blyton book about a school with only six children, who did things like going on 'nature walks' and growing beans on blotting paper.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Piers
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 11:18 AM

They are extremely dated perhaps, but I think they are well written - especially compared to the Potter books.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: mack/misophist
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 11:23 AM

Now that you've piqued our interest, how about being a little more specific?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:33 PM

It might be interesting to compare modern editions with the originals to see if they have been 'tweeked', such as updating views of how girls are supposed to behave.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Emma B
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 12:44 PM

"Five go Mad in Dorset" - brilliant!


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 01:52 PM

I've heard of the Fab Four, but not these guys. Are they like The Bobbsey Twins or something?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:04 PM

The Famous Five, as described in the linked article, were four cousins and a dog in a series of children's books by Enid Blyton. These days, they are a pretty soft target for satirists. They were and are phenomenally popular in the UK. Another famous character, for younger children, was Noddy, who invariably met his friend Big Ears.
The Famous Five were the sort of kids who could only have been invented in their age (late forties/early fifties). They attended boarding schools and spent all their holidays together. Invariably they ran into a wicked criminal, whom they eventually helped to get exposed.
They never said rude words, ("bother" and "blow" are the closest to expletives), never smoked a cigarette and never drank anything stronger than ginger beer. After being threatened with a gun by a dangerous criminal, they would invariably say something like, "I was a little bit nervous at first, I don't mind telling you. But looking back, it seems jolly exciting, don't you think?"
If you take into account that the oldest must have been twelve, when they started, by my reckoning, they must have been in their mid twenties by the time they left school. In those days, that was no problem for a children's author, because it was before sex was invented (I believe).
To a Brit, the books are quite funny. They are trite, have barely any adjectives and have characterisation which would barely distinguish a horse from a rabbit. To Americans, they must seem rather bizarre.
Okay Mack/Misophist?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 03:07 PM

David Hunter from Crossroads cast as Uncle Quentin in The Comic Strip spoof. Classic stuff.

Must have tore through nearly everything the lovely Enid penned, and still picking them up in charity shops for my kids. You grew out of The Secret Seven and into The Famous Five, a rite of passage indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 03:17 PM

My Gawd....!!!

Sounds bloody awful. I must say I had never heard of those books at all until I saw this thread today, and it doesn't sound like I missed much except for a good laugh. ;-)

The worst written children's books I ever read were the "Bomba the Jungle Boy" series. So bad, you would have to read them yourself to believe it. It would be interesting to compare those with The Famous Five, and see which commits the worst crimes upon children's literature.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 04:14 PM

They are extremely dated perhaps, but I think they are well written - especially compared to the Potter books.

You're kidding, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 04:23 PM

Wasn't there a character called Titty in these books?
G.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 04:26 PM

Five does Dallas?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 05:39 PM

Tittie was in the Arthur Ransome books - Swallows and Amazons etc.
Much better than Enid Blyton.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: jonm
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 03:39 AM

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: MBSLynne
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 06:26 AM

VERY English. I preferred the Secret Seven myself, but my kids loved the Famous Five too. I like them more now than I did as a kid...pure nostalgia.

I sincerely hope they haven't 'tweaked' them due to current political correctness..they reflect the time in which they were written and to change them for modern thinking would be to lose their essence.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Trevor
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 07:26 AM

Anybody read the Malcolm Saville books about 'The Lone Pine Club'? They whetted my imagination to the point that I borrowed my first Ordnance Survey map from the library when I was about 11, and have ended up living in Shropshire, more or less where they are set.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 07:41 AM

Yes, I read the 'Lone Pine' books as well.
I also read books by Katherine Hull and Pamela Whitlock - written by two boarding school girls inspired by Arthur Ransome, set on Exmoor but in a fantasy Persia based on the poem 'Sohrab and Rustum'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Gervase
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 09:30 AM

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned the lovely spoof on the Famous Five by our very own Chordstrangler - Mickey McConnell - in this thread.
Not only did he write "Only Our Rivers Run Free", "The First Good Friday", "Peter Pan and Me" and a host of others, he also gave us this gem!


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Gervase
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 11:29 AM

...and, of course, there's the Guardian's own piss-take of the Famous Five today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:37 PM

LOL! I must say I don't think I have EVER heard of a children's book series I would have been less likely too read than the fecking Famous Five. EEEEE-YAUGGGGH! My blood curdles in horror at the mere thought of it.

I was a real intellectual snob when I was a kid. I read Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, C.S. Forester, Rudyard Kipling, H. Ryder Haggard, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I refused to read ANY of the typical "children's" mystery books such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin or any other such dreck.

I was above that sort of thing. Totally above it. I regarded such books with utter contempt and loathing. I could not imagine why anyone read them...not then, not now. They were ludicrous. One's brains might well turn to mush if one read them.

The fact is, I don't think I ever really had a childhood, in the conventional sense... ;-) I grew up in some sort of University-consciousness history professor time warp bubble. Whether this was good or bad remains debatable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:48 PM

And here's that lovely song composed by Mickey...

ENID BLYTON

Dear old Enid Blyton, I thought of you today
as I helped my eldest kid to put her books and toys away
For there upon the bookshelf, I could scarce believe my eyes
were dozens of adventure books about your Famous Five.
And it swept me backwards through the years for I had read them too
and marvelled at their bravery and deeds of derring-do
But nowadays its just as well that your'e not still alive
to see what time and life have done unto your Famous Five.


Now Julian was the leader with a good staunch British heart
he got a scholarship to Oxford where he studied rather hard.
He took law and criminology until one fateful day
he suddenly discovered that crime does really pay.
So he opened massage parlours in Bradford, York and Leeds
where fat old men and Swedish girls do foul and filthy deeds.
Now he peddles dirty movies, plastic macs and whips and chains
Oh Enid love I'm not surprised you hang your head in shame.

(alternate first verse to be sung with great caution)

Now Julian was the leader with a good staunch British heart
He got a scholarship to Sandhurst where he studied mighty hard
When he joined the British Army it wasn't hard to guess
that he'd end up being commissioned into the SAS.
When they sent him down to South Armagh, poor Julian was fooled
for he didn't know the Paddies don't play Enid Blyton's rules.
And when the smoke had cleared away, few remains were to be seen
so they buried him in Amsterdam, New York and Aberdeen.

Georgina hated being a girl and that's why, I suppose
she told everyone to call her "George" and dressed up in men's clothes.
But in our youthful innocence in those far-off distant days
we never realised that brave Georgina was a Gay.
She came out of the closet when she met a girl named Jill
who is now her live-in lover in a flat in Notting Hill
And she says she's very happy, says its great to be alive
the odds seemed much against it when she joined the Famous Five.

Now Anne, she was the quiet one who lived in mortal dread
of smugglers and jewel thieves and foreigners with beards.
Her nerves got taut as fiddle strings from all the stress and strain
so they put her in a madhouse for the criminally insane.
And Tim, the faithful terrier at last ran out of luck
when he bared his teeth and argued with a forty-three-ton truck.
Poor Tim found out the hard way what is meant by overdrive
Farewell four-footed, furry, faithful, foolish,flattened, F........k'd up Phantom Famous Five.

Poor Dick could never settle after all the things he'd seen
he was into booze and Evostick by the time he was thirteen.
He had been dried out three dozen times when he reached twenty-two
so he went off to South Africa like all the losers do.
And I'm not surprised he's happy there, in fact it is his right.
don't all the bad guys dress in black and the good guys dress in white.
If he stays away from black wimmen and white rum, he might survive
in that spirit of peace and freedom much beloved by Famous Five.

outro... For the Five stood for integrity, the Five fought the good fight
in the days the bad guys dressed in black and the good guys dressed in white
So Enid love its just as well that your'e not still alive
to see what time and life has done unto your Famous Five.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 12:59 PM

What does the name "Enid Blighton" summon up in your mind?

It makes me think of a case of really severe constipation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST,Janine
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 02:50 PM

I couldn't indentify with them at all: Anne was far too soppy and I couldn't understand why Georgina wanted to be a boy. All the 'goodies' are frighfully middle class and the 'baddies' dreadfully working class with uncouth regional accents. What a snob E.B. must have been.
Great poem Little Hawk.
I don't remember the Secret Seven Lynne; were they in a similar vein?
Janine


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Grab
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 04:44 AM

For my sins, I read the lot when I was a kid - we had a very good second-hand bookshop near us where I could pick up tat like that for between 10p and 50p a book. I preferred the Hardy Boys though, but I'd read anything that would stay still long enough - my sister got all the Mallory Towers books and crap like that (does some series about a trilingual boarding school in Austria who move to Britain at the start of WW2 ring any bells with anyone?), and I read those too.

Actually, the best books around then were the Arthur Ransome books, but there weren't enough of those to last long. "If not duffers won't drown. If duffers better drowned."

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 04:53 AM

I also read some of the 'Abbey School' books by Elsie J. Oxenham, about a girls' boarding school where they did Morris dancing (not to be confused with similarly titled boks by Angela Brazil).


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: MBSLynne
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 05:49 AM

Yes Janine, Secret Seven were similar...a group of kids (and the obligatory dog) who had a secret club and exciting adventures.

Enid Blyton wasn't a snob particularly...you are making the mistake that so many people do when looking at things in the past, of seeing them through modern eyes. True if you wrote or thought like that NOW you would certainly be a snob, but in those days it's the way things were. Different attitudes, different social codes altogether.

Yes I read, and loved the Lone Pine books...I've been trying to get hold of them for my kids. I also loved the Monica Edwards books about Tamzin and Rissa and lots of horses and ponies.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Trevor
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:29 AM

MBSL, have a look here. 'Witchend' is just across the valley from where I live.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Trevor
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 06:40 AM

Lynne, if you're interested in getting the books you could have a look at this
site.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 09:58 AM

I loved the mallory towers books too. Those above who have never heard of the lovely enid are missing the point, probably 99.9% of kids who devoured these books had never seen a boarding school or a tuck box! It was a way to transport you into another world of midnight feasts and lacrosse.

Anyone remember her meatier offerings of The Castle of Adventure, The River of Adventure etc etc etc. Am going to have to check them out for the kids now.

Happy Days with no TV and no computer games. Just our imaginations and a torch under the covers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Grab
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 12:22 PM

Yeah, the "Adventure" series was a bit more entertaining. Still pretty silly though, in hindsight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 03:19 PM

Just a slight correction to Alanabit, earlier.
The Famous Five, as described in the linked article, were four cousins and a dog in a series of children's books by Enid Blyton.
Julian, Dick & Anne were siblings, George (Georgina)was their cousin.

CHEERS, and a bottle of fizzy pop

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Dec 05 - 07:08 PM

Lashings of ginger beer and homemade lemonade.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: MBSLynne
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 04:50 AM

And ices..don't forget ices.

Thanks Trevor...late Yule pressies for the kids maybe?

I rather liked the Rilloby Fair Mystery and the Rubadub Mystery and all that series. They may all seem silly now but they certainly answered a need at the time. You have to remember that kids were somewhat less sophisticated in those days. Though I used to devour anything with words printed in it. I read "Gulliver's Travels" alongside all the Enid Blyton etc, and at the age of eight, found "Lord of the Flies" on the bathroom floor where my Dad had been reading it, and read that. Can't say I enjoyed it though....

I discovered the "Anne of Green Gables" books when I was 11 and they were and are still among my favourites.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: alanabit
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 08:25 AM

I think the appeal of the books is the simplicity (even crudity) of the writing and the story lines. They have no moral ambiguity. Good people are very good and rotters deserve punishment. It inevitably comes their way. It appeals to a kid's sense of justice and security. It is escapism, unencumbered by any real sense of likelihood or danger.
I liked them a lot as a child and now my son revels in them and gets really excited when the rotters are about to get jugged. Yes, the writing is garbage. I am glad Jonah is getting so much enjoyment from them now. He won't always be six years old.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 01:59 PM

Someone mentioned her atitude to what girls can do. Well, with George and Ann (who was a real homemaker) you just about covered the range. Mind you, the boys were very protective.
Most childrens books of the time seemed to set children adrift without adult supervision.The famous five went off for weeks on end, camping etc. Nowadays children are hardly allowed out for the afternoon untill they are 21.
I wonder what the right balance is between independance and safety?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: alanabit
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 02:12 PM

Interesting question. We live on a busy main road, where "idiot" would be a flattering description of many of the drivers. There is a reason why our kids do not go out on their own.
I don't know if children were really safer in Enid Blyton's day, but I think they were perceived as being safer. That was probably the background to the books. I can only add observations to your question Mo, because I don't know the answer either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: Mo the caller
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 02:37 PM

Then theres the difference between fact and fiction.
The Swallows and Amazon books at least had some discussion about safety whereas the Famous Five were left to get on with it.
But when I was at junior school (age 8-11) we looked down on the girl who was collected by her Mummy, my childrens headmaster didn't think I should let them walk home on their own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 03:13 PM

I'm sure she did another boarding school series as well as malory towers? Not St.Clares or something similar?


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: alanabit
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 03:35 PM

Her output was phenomenal. There were theSea of/Island of/*** of Adventure Series, The Secret Seven, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, The Children of Cherry Tree/Willow Farm series/Noddy and Big Ears/ volumes of short stories and likely dozens more, which I have never heard of. She sure went for quantity over quality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Julian,Dick, Anne, George and Timmy!
From: alanabit
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 03:40 PM

There is more about Enid Blyton here.


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