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to feel uneasy about my son reading Enid Blyton books

765 replies

frances5 · 22/06/2007 22:10

My son wants me to read him a book called the "Wishing Chair", I have read two chapters of it and it has a pixie in it called "Chinky". To make it worst the drawing of "Chinky" shows an elf like creature with slitted eyes. However I think my son is totally and utter oblivous to this.

Admitally Enid Blyton lived 50 years ago when people didn't know better. But do you think I am making a mistake letting my son enjoy this book? He is even trying to read it himself that he is so desperate to know what happens next.

When my son chose this book I had no idea that it had a pixie in it called "Chinky" other wise I would have diverted him towards something like Ronald Dahl.

OP posts:

cba · 22/06/2007 22:12

So difficult. Can your son read, could you change the name without him realising?


MamaMaiasaura · 22/06/2007 22:12

imo I dont think you should feel uneasy as I read the wishing chair and I dont recall it setting my views on society and the differing races. I just enjoyed the magic of it.


bobsmum · 22/06/2007 22:12

Change the name?


musicianswidowAKAmumofmonsters · 22/06/2007 22:13

surely you mean Roald Dahl


bobsmum · 22/06/2007 22:13

I Loved the wishing chair and couldn't have told you that that name was in it. I do remember Moonface though or was that the magic faraway tree?


lisad123 · 22/06/2007 22:14

Is he sensible enough for you to explain why you dont want to call the pixie by the words written and come up with a new name together?


worzsel · 22/06/2007 22:19

Most of the content of any Enid Blyton book will be pretty unpc so if being PC worries you atall they you're probably better off not reading them. Personally i think they are awesome stories and cant wait to be feeding dds imagination with them, pc or not !


PestoMonster · 22/06/2007 22:20

Personally I wouldn't read too much into it. I read it to my dds a couple of years ago, and tbh they wouldn't remember the names in it now and I didn't think of the connotations eiether and none of us have been affected by it. Really, they are just a nice little set of books that get your imagination going in my opinion.


frances5 · 22/06/2007 22:20

My son is getting very good at reading. I don't think changing the name would work. He can read the book, but he is very slow.

I have chosen not to make an issue out of it. "Chinky" is a good character and my son has no idea that it is a derogatory term used by racists to describe chinese people. I think if I made an issue of it then he would be more likely to repeat it.

OP posts:

MamaMaiasaura · 22/06/2007 22:21

think you have answered it for yourself then


Posey · 22/06/2007 22:25

Enid Blyton writes some magical stuff that helps get so many people reading. There are un-PC things in them that generally go over the heads of the children reading, and don't leave a lasting impression. Names are quite funny in EB books, Fanny and Dick to name just 2.
I would let him have the story.


Twinklemegan · 22/06/2007 22:25

You could make an issue out of so many things if so inclined. Having a "gay" time, girls called Fanny, etc. But it is the modern corruptions of these things that are wrong, not they're original context.

Enid Blyton books are of their time but they are terrific - I can't wait for DS to be able to read them. So much better than loads of the modern rubbish IMO. They feed their imaginations which is the most important thing I think.


pointydog · 22/06/2007 22:30

do you have a modern edition of the book? I wouldn't have thought character would still be called that


jellybeans · 22/06/2007 22:31

I would have no probs with my kids reading any Enid books, I grew up reading them, they're just old fashioned (pc wise, although I think new editions are somewhat updated?) and I would explain that if any questions.


Quattrocento · 22/06/2007 22:32

Well you know I love books. Been bookish all my life. Don't believe in censorship normally.

But hell would freeze over before I let my children read that sort of poisonous muck.

There. I feel better now.


pointydog · 22/06/2007 22:33

"Chinky" shows an elf like creature with slitted eyes

I wouldn't let my child read that


worzsel · 22/06/2007 22:34

poisonous muck.. Why !!


goldenwings · 22/06/2007 22:36

my sons 8 months and im actually building up an enid blyton collection for him. i love her stories and they make a brilliant bed time read. i dont see any problem with it as long as you dont make an issue out of it.


MamaMaiasaura · 22/06/2007 22:36

[yawn] where is the link for the pitchfork paymobil when you need it!!

Of course Enid Blyton books have always been amazing popular..


chipmonkey · 22/06/2007 22:40

I loved Enid Blyton as a child but with adult hindsight am appalled at some of the racial and class-related prejudices which are rife in the books, like that servants are inferior people, French people have no sense of honour and my favourite; that if you are Irish you have red hair and go about slapping people! To be fair, I think a lot of that would be lost on a younger child and it did probably reflect the attitudes of the upper middle classes at the time.


mylastrolo · 22/06/2007 22:41

funny old think just reading famous five to d/d at night and they cannot wait for next chapter. It is rather spoofing sardine sandwiches


girlyshirley · 22/06/2007 22:44

goldenwings dont be disappointed if ds refuses to read them. i loved them, as well a little house on the prarie book which i kept, and bought new copies for my dd now 11 and she hates them. wont even go past chapter 1 - such a shame. likes jaqueline wilson i'm afraid. also like tintin but that stuffs worse than enid b


goldenwings · 22/06/2007 22:47

the thing is though children are innocent and they will not pick up on anything racial/class divided if there isnt an issue made out of it.

i could never read "whatever next" to my son for fear of him getting a colander stuck on his head and climbing into cardboard boxes but that would be silly of me and stem from my own worries also he misses out on a bloody good book.
my point is children (or the ones i know at least) dont take stories literally to them its just a fun read.

also if you have trouble with enid blyton what are your views on fairy tales where kids get eaten people die etc. grimms fairy tales for example.


Quattrocento · 22/06/2007 22:48

I object to Enid Blyton on the grounds of both taste and decency.

Let's take decency first. Her works are racist and class-ridden. In order to keep making money out of Blyton, her publishers have tried to eliminate as much as possible - getting rid of gollywogs etc, but the prevailing tone is really really inappropriate for our time. Before anyone starts arguing the toss about being "of a certain time" that is simply not true. There are plenty of REALLY GOOD books for children that pre-date Enid Blyton and do not have attitudes of that nature. Take E Nesbit as an example of an enlightened writer.

Let's take taste next. The books are simply appallingly written. There are so many very good and well written childrens books, both ancient and modern. Why read trash? It's not necessary.

Of course Enid Blyton is popular. But why forcefeed your children the children's literary equivalent of the Sun newspaper? You don't have to do it.

Thankfully many school libraries (including ours) do not stock her books.


MamaMaiasaura · 22/06/2007 22:53

yet another thread about to spiral downwards i think.

Ds hasnt picked up an EB yet and is completely absorbed by horrible histories and horrid henry books. If he chooses an Enid Blyton book formt he childrens section of the library (yes, they do stock them), then I will him allow him the freedom to read it. Ds doesnt go areound acting like horrid henry because he read the books, he enjoys the books for what they are, entertainment. I remember the magic wishing chair and loved it. Dont think ds will be into Malory Towers somehow tho.

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