Childhood worlds colliding

Childhood worlds colliding

When I was eight years old, our family holiday in Torquay was interrupted by news that our house in Ballarat had been ransacked and burgled.

I was, I am told, bereft. I was convinced that my prized collection of Enid Blyton “chapter books” was the burglers’ main target, and nothing could convince me they were safe until I arrived home and counted them for myself.

I have no memory of this, but Mum and Dad are adamant it is true. The story does have an embarrasingly plausible ring to it.

Enid Blyton was one of two favourite authors in my childhood. The other was Roald Dahl. And now the worlds of Blyton and Dahl have collided, via Quentin Blake, whose illustrations are a signature of Dahl’s books.

To celebrate the seventieth anniversary of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, five contemporary children’s authors were commissioned to illustrate new book covers. Quentin Blake is one of them.

The first edition of the first Famous Five book looked like this:

The seventieth anniversary edition of the book looks like this:

I don’t remember reading the book, though I’m sure I did. I wonder now how Enid Blyton stacks up to an adult reader. Moreover, Wikipedia’s synopsis of Five on a Treasure Island leaves me wanting to know more. Who’s down there in the dungeons??

This book has officially been added to my reading list. The Quentin Blake edition, of course. It’s early yet, I know, but if I tag this post “Kris Kringle,” perhaps I’ll find the book under the Christmas tree!

  • Florence

    Fr John, I think your parents must have been devasted when they heard that their home was burgled. My friend’s home (we studied in the same school in India) in Melbourne was burgled many times and I think it is disgusting for people to break into people’s homes and take things that do not belong to them. Little boys and girls have their treasures. I loved reading but I used to get books from my school library. Enid Blyton was a mystery writer and I loved mysteries. Well, we do have something in common.

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