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Wow. This article on the history of School stories for girls is fascinating, particularly as it mentions that Enid Blyton's "Naughtiest Girl" books were written in the late 1930s! I really recommend reading these; they are set in an extremely progressive school in Surrey, where the children set rules and punishments themselves.....very right-on, I had expected these to have been written in the 1960s, as some of EB's last work!

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I found the collection of Enid Blyton books that I was given as a young child! These are the ones I have!

Enid Blyton 'Rewards' - Dean and Son

1. Storytime Book
4. Brer Rabbit Again
5. Round The Clock Stories
7. Takes of Brave Adventures
10. Brer Rabbit's a Rascal
13. Stories For Bedtime
15. Book of Brownies
21. Naughty Amelia Jane
22. Amelia Jane Again
35. The Wishing Chair Again (x2)
36. The Folk of The Faraway Tree
37. The Adventurous Four
38. Mr. Galliano's Circus
40. The Adventurous Four Again
43. The Children of Willow Farm
44. The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor



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I bought some Enid Blyton books on Friday! I was wandering round the kids section in Waterstones when I found that someone has written two new books in the St Claires School stories set. There's one book set in the 3rd Year, and one in the 6th. Originally, Enid Blyton had finished the series at the end of the fifth year, with her heroines (the O'Sullivan twins) having just been told they are going to be joint Head Girls for their final year. I always wanted to know how they got on in the sixth form, so it's great that someone's done this at last!!!! Interestingly the last book only goes up to the end of the first term of the 6th form, so there is still scope for two more books after it.

Biblical References behind the Chronicles of Narnia

I've just finished reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and it has inspired me to research more into the life of this incredible author. In particular, I am interested in the biblical references that are made throughout this novel and, indeed, the rest of the Narnia collection. If anyone can add to this list of biblical references, then please do, as it will be an important part in my investigation into The Chronicles of Narnia.

Biblical References:
* Constant references to Son of Adam/ Daughters of Eve. (TLTWATW)
* Aslan parallels God and the story behind the creation of the universe AND in the same order. (MN)
* The Garden which Digory, Polly, and Fledge are sent to parallels the Garden of Eden. Just as the Garden of Eden, it has a tree in the center of it very similar to the tree of Life. Also in the Garden, Digory is tempted to to eat the apple just as Adam and Eve were, except Digory didn't do as the Witch told him, unlike Adam and Eve.
* Mr. Ketterly may parallel a person who has not accepted God. Andrew was unable to hear the words of Aslan or the other animals because he chose not to believe they could talk. All he could hear was roars and barks and neighing. This is like an unbeliever who has tossed God out of their life. They can no longer hear him, though he has been calling all the long. They have chosen to close their ears to him. (MN)
* In TLTWATW Aslan parallels God, especially God the Son in many ways. The most striking example is that of Aslan dying in the stead of Edmund. He gave his life for Edmund so that he could live. After his death, though, he rose from the dead. This is very similar to how Jesus died for our sins and, afterwords, rising from the dead. (TLTWATW)
* The Stone Table parallels the Cross. Just as Aslan was killed for Edmund's sake on the Stone Table, so to died Jesus die for our sins on the cross. (TLTWATW)
* When Aslan feeds the army after they had defeated the Witch, they were fed by Aslan himself. The Pevensie's said they never knew where he got all the food for them to eat. This parallels when Jesus fed the 5,000. Jesus had only five loaves of bread and two fish, but it was, somehow, enough for them all. (TLTWATW)
* When Peter wipes the blood of of his sword, this may parallel the fact that we need to "wipe" off our sins by asking for forgiveness. Aslan said to Peter to ALWAYS wipe the blood off of his sword, like we need to always repent of our sins after we have committed them. (TLTWATW)

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I just finished "The Magician's Nephew" by C.S. Lewis. It was brilliant! I first read this book when I was a child of about 11, but I never really understood or appreciated it the way I have done this last week. I had never seen the link between this story and that of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", so was delighted to read that the wardrobe was made from the tree that grew from the magic apple core!

* Digory takes an apple from the private garden to take back to Aslan;
* The Witch eats from the tree which grants her ever-lasting life;
* Aslan and Digory plant the apple that Digory took in Narnia;
* A tree grows from this one apple;
* Digory is given permission to take an apple home to his dying mother (which will cure her);
* Digory gives his mother the apple and then buries the core in the garden;
* A tree grows from this core, but is later destroyed by the weather;
* Digory makes a wardrobe out of the wood from the tree which leads on to the next story...

Will endeavour to read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and look forward to the links between the novels!
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I went hunting through the shed this morning in search of old Enid Blyton books that I read when I was little! I came across two 'Dean & Son' hardback editions of Blyton's 'The Adventurous Four' and 'Brer Rabbit Again'. One was published back in 1963, making that particular book over 30 years old. Inscribed in the inner cover in green felt pen are the words 'Charlotte Ettwell aged 9, 1993'. I am desperately trying to rescue the many others that have been placed somewhere safe and destined for our next car-boot sale.
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Hi, to start our little group off, I thought I'd post a list of the books I read in January....a couple of them are children's books.

Lemony Snickett - Series of Unfortunate Events Book 2: The Reptile Room
Oscar Wilde - The Happy Prince And Other Stories
Tracy Chevalier - The Lady And The Unicorn
Melissa P - One Hundred Strokes Of The Brush Before Bedtime
Nicholson Baker - The Everlasting Story Of Nory
Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye
Julie Hearn - The Merrybegot
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

The premise behind the Lemony Snickett books is intriguing; three child protagonists have incredibly bad luck, no matter what they do. It's a series of thirteen books about nice, intelligent, pleasant children that get fucked over all the time, relentlessly. Circumstances never turn out all right in the end and no-one lives happily ever after. I suppose that this is a refreshing turn for children's literature, and quite amusing in a way, but personally I found it bloody depressing. I guess these books are aimed at today's kiddies, whose infantile souls have somehow acquired a schadenfreude that we never had......get pondering on how exactly that could have happened, and you end up even MORE depressed.

I'd read Book 1: The Bad Beginning last year but didn't really get on with it, partly due to the relentless gloominess but mainly because I found the author's voice really irritating. "Lemony Snickett" often provides definitions of words he uses ('"definition" is a word which in this case means "what a word means"' etc etc). On giving the book a second read in December, I changed my mind and began to quite like this - I found it quirky and fun. It does grate after a while, though, and added to all the misery I don't think I could stand to read any of these books one after the other, without a break in between.

Melissa P's One Hundred Strokes Of The Brush is written by a child (well, a teenager) but it's certainly NOT a children's book, so I won't even go there.....although I will say that almost all of the book is even more depressing than the Lemony Snickett series.

Nicholson Baker's Everlasting Story Of Nory and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye aren't children's books either, but both are told from the point of view of young girls, and give an insight into their lives. Morrison's book is a masterpiece - I studied this for 'A' level over ten years ago and have adored it ever since, for its beautiful and evocative writing - but Baker's is much less successful, probably because he'd never actually been a little girl himself (or, so I would presume).

Julie Hearn's novel The Merrybegot is a delight and is already on my list of books to recommend to people, even though it has only just been published. Aimed at older children (I'd say, 12+), the story is set in seventeenth century England, and is told from the point of view of two young girls: Nell, the grandaughter of a village "cunning woman" and healer, and Patience, the daughter of the local minister. Patience's sister Grace falls pregnant and attempts to conceal this by accusing Nell of putting a curse on her through witchcraft. I'd already enjoyed Celia Rees' Witch Child, so it was interesting to read a book which was set in the same era and shares some of the same themes whilst also telling a very different story.

Having been so impressed by The Merrybegot I went out and bought Hearn's first novel, Follow Me Down, but seeing as I read it on the first of February I shall wait until next month to write about it :P

Toni xx