One of the best moments in my life were spent trying to guess whats underneath the wrapping paper of presents that looked suspiciously like books – be it underneath the Christmas tree or next to my birthday cake. Of course I usually had a pretty good idea what would be underneath the colorful paper, as I've been giving my parents hints. But to then hold the present in my hands and rip the paper off of it … one of the finest moments in my life, still.
Thinking back to my childhood one particular author springs to mind. Enid Blyton.
I believe my first encounter with her books must have been through one of her books from The Famous Five series or maybe the St. Clare's series? I honestly can't tell which one it was, but one thing's for sure – I was hooked and quite addicted too. Whenever I saw that bookstores had one of those 3-in-1 collections with her books out, I had to have it. Besides, it was cheaper too, compared to buying each novel by itself.
Two things I remember best are these. I found the idea of living in a boarding school quite appealing, even without having a twin sister to go there. And I loved to pretend to be one of The Famous Five, or more precisely Anne, the cute girl, even though I would much rather have been like the tomboy Georgina, but she never looked quite as cute on the book covers as Anne did.
Later on they even made a TV series about The Famous Five which I loved to watch. And once I even got a vinyl record at Christmas with one of their adventures. I played that thing 'til it fell apart. No, just kidding, it should still be in some box in the basement.
And obviously we'd be playing our own versions of The Famous Five as kids too, on weekends and those endless summer days.
Little did I know back then that Enid Blyton was one of the most successful children's storytellers of the twentieth century and is even the fifth most translated author worldwide. So children still love to read her, which is great, especially seeing how so many kids today either do not read at all or are only crazy about wizards or vampires.
While there has been some controversy about her books, with certain contents deemed racist or sexist, I really don't remember any part that would have been that way. Maybe I read those books too long ago to recall any such details. Maybe we need to consider the time they were written, as in fact they weren't fresh on the shelves when I was little, most were originally published between the 40s and 60s. And maybe we should simply let children today enjoy her books about friendship and adventure and not make mountains out of molehills of what might or mightn't be political incorrectness.