December 2021 Books Monthly Review of books and stories magazine - on the web 24 years...
  books monthly at Christmas
The back page... this month: Enid Blyton and Little Noddy


I know I said I would be writing about Tarzan of the Apes in last month's issue, but Tarzan was featured quite heavily in November, so I'm going back in time to the 1940s for this month's back page feature... Noddy was born the same year as I was: 1946, but I didn't really get to know him until the 1960s, when our first son Martin was born, and then fourteen years further on, when our second son Christopher was born... and when Samantha was born three years later still, Noddy still featured large in our lives...

The first book in the Noddy series didn't come my way until around 1968, even though we were born in the same year...


...While I was working in the Public Library service in Hertfordshire, in Stevenage Central Library,  in 1964, the whole Noddy scandal was rife in the press, with many public libraries removing all traces of Enid Blyton from their shelves. This was a seriously stupid and unnecessary move on the part of those do-gooders who thought that they would try to deny people the right to read one of the greatest and most popular authors the world has ever known. There are loads of girls' school stories by such authors as Angela Brazil and Elinor M Brent-Dyer whose books featured references to racist names and phrases about black and Asian people, yet the "powers-that-were" decided to make an example of Enid Blyton, who was really not in a position to defend herself in the final years of her life. Noddy stories feature "golliwogs", toys that are still available to buy in toyshops all over the country - they are toys, they aren't racist, and were never intended to be racist. There is nothing contentious in any of the Enid Blyton books I've read, and I have many of the original 1940s and 1950s editions which haven't been "doctored" by the do-gooders. The Famous Five books are good, solid adventure stories, with good people and villains. How the do-gooders could ever find fault with that I simply do not know; but, not content with removing Noddy from their shelves, those librarians, who apparently knew better than us, removed all traces of Enid from their shelves, denying the public the opportunity to read those fantastic adventure stories. I deeply regret not discovering Noddy until we were casting around for books to read to Martin, Chris and Sammy. We bought long-playing records of Noddy, cassette tapes of Noddy, and pretty much all of the original stories in book form. I read them to my children, I made up tunes for the songs and I sang them to my children at bedtime. Noddy is one of the greatest children's characters to have ever been created, by one of the world's best children's authors ever. Enid Blyton books still sell in their millions and the do-gooders are left with egg on their faces for getting it so spectacularly wrong. You cannot retrospectively censor authors of classic literature. Simple as that. Suck it up, do-gooders! You got it wrong!

Next month in my new series, books that inspired and formed my childhood: THE WHITEOAKS OF JALNA... see you in January!

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its 24th year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me
here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email at and I'll let you know where to send it.

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   The Silent Three

   Growing up in the 1950s

   Living with Skipper

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