Back in the 70s and 80s before the internet, us kids actually read books! There were lots of great books around and we read one after another. Here are 10 of the books we loved as kids.
1. Magic Porridge Pot
This is the first Ladybird book on our list but it certainly wont be the last! We loved these books and most of us learned to read with these well loved tales!
The classic pocket-sized mini-hardback Ladybird book measured roughly four-and-a-half by seven inches (11.5 cm by 18 cm). Early books used a standard 56-page format, chosen because a complete book could be printed on one large standard sheet of paper, a quad crown, 40 inches by 30 inches, which was then folded and cut to size without any waste. It was an economical way of producing books, enabling the books to be retailed at a low price which, for almost thirty years, remained at two shillings and sixpence (12.5p).
The first book in the line, Bunnikin’s Picnic Party: a story in verse for children with illustrations in colour, was produced in 1940. The book featured stories in verse written by W. Perring, accompanied by full-colour illustrations by A. J. (Angusine Jeanne) MacGregor. The appeal of Bunnikin, Downy Duckling and other animal characters made the book an instant success. Later series included nature books (series 536, some illustrated by, for example, Charles Tunnicliffe and Allen W. Seaby) and a host of non-fiction books, including hobbies and interests, history (L du Garde Peach wrote very many of these) and travel.
2. Mr Pink Whistle
Loved the Mr Pink Whistle Stories and gues what they are not the only Enid Blyton books on our list!
Enid Mary Blyton (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) was an English children’s writer whose books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. Blyton’s books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into 90 languages; her first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives and is best remembered today for her Noddy, Famous Five, Secret Seven and Malory Towers series.
Following the commercial success of her early novels such as Adventures of the Wishing-Chair (1937) and The Enchanted Wood (1939), Blyton went on to build a literary empire, sometimes producing fifty books a year in addition to her prolific magazine and newspaper contributions. Her writing was unplanned and sprang largely from her unconscious mind; she typed her stories as events unfolded before her. The sheer volume of her work and the speed with which it was produced led to rumours that Blyton employed an army of ghost writers, a charge she vigorously denied.
3. Famous Five
In fact here is another Enid Blyton right away! The Famous Five series was insanely popular, so much so it was made into a major TV series. We all loved that too!
Blyton’s work became increasingly controversial among literary critics, teachers and parents from the 1950s onwards, because of the alleged unchallenging nature of her writing and the themes of her books, particularly the Noddy series. Some libraries and schools banned her works, which the BBC had refused to broadcast from the 1930s until the 1950s because they were perceived to lack literary merit. Her books have been criticised as being elitist, sexist, racist, xenophobic and at odds with the more liberal environment emerging in post-war Britain, but they have continued to be best-sellers since her death in 1968.
Blyton felt she had a responsibility to provide her readers with a strong moral framework, so she encouraged them to support worthy causes. In particular, through the clubs she set up or supported, she encouraged and organised them to raise funds for animal and paediatric charities. The story of Blyton’s life was dramatised in a BBC film entitled Enid, featuring Helena Bonham Carter in the title role and first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Four in 2009. There have also been several adaptations of her books for stage, screen and television.