Readers can evaluate Blyton

Hands up all those who read anything they could get their hands on somewhere between the ages of 7 and 12. I read some Enid Blyton and loved watching the 1970s incarnation of the Famous Five on television.

Having re-read the very first Famous Five story recently, I nodded and shook my head by turns. There were goodies and baddies. Tension and resolution. There were also crude messages about "what boys and girls are like". Weepy, weedy Anne and brave, born-to-lead Julian.

George was an interesting grey area. Defying her parents and defying the girl's role but admitting in the end that she wanted to be part of the crowd. Her father is a growling menace, almost Gothic, riven with guilt at his inability to send George to a "good" (otherwise known as boarding) school. The children's frolics lead them to gold ingots and George was saved from the social wasteland of state schooling.

Some of the juniors I teach will revel in the predictablity of Blyton and some will be able to pick out the points I have made above. Reading is more than a little about evaluating, and I hope to give my children the chance to evaluate as wide a range of texts as possible.


224 Kenton Lane Kenton Harrow Middlesex

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