The literati look down on Enid Blyton, accusing the late children's writer of churning out formula fiction and reinforcing outdated stereotypes. But millions of people like me owe their love of books to countless childhood hours spent reading the Famous Five and Secret Seven adventures. So I was delighted to see that Five Go to Smuggler's Top was featured in a list of the best books for children, chosen by Britain's children's laureates.
I was given an Enid Blyton book by my maternal grandmother when I was about seven. I can't remember the title now - the story involved a wooded island, which hardly narrows it down - but fell in love with Blyton's ability to tell spellbinding stories. I've long since forgotten the storylines of the books, but some of that excitement came back when I discovered the summary of Smuggler's Top on www.enidblyton.net (the first link in this post, above), and identified it as my favourite Blyton story. The vision of an island linked only by a causeway across the marshes was amazingly evocative as a child; growing up in Cardiff, in foggy weather I imagined the road up Caerphilly mountain from Thornhill as the road up Castaway Hill. I can't wait to rediscover those Blyton classics as Owen is growing up!