Enid Blyton, a well-loved and successful writer of children’s books, would have been 116 today. She died in 1968 at the age of 71 after having written over 800 books in roughly 40 years. She sold 600 million copies and her books were translated into 90 different languages.
If you are a boomer, and especially if you are British, you were probably raised with Enid Blyton characters starting at an early age with Noddy, Big Ears and the now notorious Golliwogs. A Golliwog (the doll in my photo) can still be found today, but it is now called the politically correct Golly Dolly. Enid Blyton didn’t invent the Golliwog character, Florence Kate Upton did over a century ago, but she often referred to them in her books as the naughty thieves.
Most people will associate the Golliwog with Robertson’s marmalade as you could claim Golly badges by collecting the tokens off their marmalade and jam jars. Since 1910 Robertson & Sons have given away over 20 million Golly brooches until in 2002, due to all the negativity, they reluctantly removed him from their packaging.
As a pre-teen I read all of Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” adventure books, the five being four children and a dog, and these books were responsible for my love of reading. I am sure she was a major influence on children all over the world.
The first book that she published was actually a collection of poems, Child Whispers, which was published in 1922 and from 2000 to 2010 she was still listed as a top-ten author.
- How the golliwog went from innocent children’s hero to symbol of bitter controversy (dailymail.co.uk)
- The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton – review (guardian.co.uk)
- The Story of My Life : Enid Blyton (didyoueverstoptothink.wordpress.com)