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Would this be appropriate?

(110 Posts)
Havemercy Wed 05-Feb-20 16:06:13

I am posting in the hope of some feedback/advice on the subject of appropriate reading material for our five year old grandson. Very recently I saw a book of stories by Enid Blyton on e-bay - stories I remember from my own late childhood and which I remember reading to our children with enjoyment when they were young. Sent off for The Tales at Bedtime and received it the other day. However, on reading the stories (some of which have a moral message eg "They took the Wrong Road") a few have episodes of naughty children being given a spanking or slippering. Now as much I would love grandson to discover this book through my reading it to him - would it be appropriate? A friend told me that I would be totally wrong to read him stories which feature any sort of physical punishment and I understand this point of view totally but wondered if anyone has other views or advice. Could change the spanking to naughty step I suppose but my friend says even this would be a bit iffy! It might mean that a whole world of Enid Blyton stories were closed to my grandson. Any views?

Humbertbear Wed 05-Feb-20 16:11:26

There are so many lovely books for young children now. Enid Blyton was dated 40 years ago when my children were little. I have found my grand children want books with more modern illustrations. We have a story book of Cinderella where she only agrees to marry the prince when he agrees to do his share of the chores!

Oopsadaisy3 Wed 05-Feb-20 16:11:31

We read them to our GCs and then they read them themselves, we just explained (as we read them) that some things in the book were very old fashioned and we do things differently today, we then had a chat about how effective the naughty step was........ as it turned out, not very!
Just wait until you get to the Just William books! They found them hilarious, but again, very old fashioned. I think a 5 year old will be fine with them.

Septimia Wed 05-Feb-20 16:11:36

Tricky one. Our GD is being read Enid Blyton and, although she's older, I'm sure there are things in the stories that don't fit with current ideas.

I'd be inclined, with parental approval, to try one with minimal corporal punishment and explain that it was something that happened 'in the olden days' but people don't do that any more.

As you say, there's a lot to be missed story-wise if they're all consigned to the bin.

Greymar Wed 05-Feb-20 16:16:58

I don't think a 5 year old needs to trouble his/her head by thoughts of adults spanking children in the past.

Ilovecheese Wed 05-Feb-20 16:17:12

First of all I would ask your grandson's parents if they agree to you reading the books to him. Some people object to Enid Blyton altogether, either because of things like spankings or because they are not very well written.

Then if they agree I would read the stories as they are but use them to start a discussion about corporal punishment with your grandson.
e.g. How would you feel if you were given a spanking?
Would it stop you being naughty? I'm really glad that no one smacks you! etc.

Chestnut Wed 05-Feb-20 16:17:58

I have always explained to my grandchildren that in the old days this or that happened. You can tell them this story was when naughty children used to be smacked but we don't do it any more. I don't think you should keep the past hidden from them. I told mine that children used to sweep chimneys and work in factories, and that they weren't lucky enough to go to school!

HettyMaud Wed 05-Feb-20 16:18:21

I know exactly what you mean. My mother started reading Snow White to my GS when he was quite small and, to her horror, there was something about a stabbing in as I recall. Also there are tales of wicked stepmothers.

My children were brought up reading Enid Blyton though and most stories are wonderful. However some of it is not deemed politically correct now and you will find some words and phrases that seem old fashioned. I'm not sure what to advise you.

But what I will say is that my GS (now 12) has been brought up on books by people like David Walliams - and he hates reading now and I wonder if this is partly why - because they are such dross.

If you had the time you could type out some Enid Blyton stories and alter them where you considered it appropriate to do so. Or if you are reading the stories to the little boy you could alter the text in pencil before you start (although of course you're defacing the books by doing that). I did this with some Just William stories - there were a lot of words in there that I knew my son would not understand and I didn't want him to lose interest. So I wrote in the margin what the words meant. Consequently he loved them. I do feel from what I have seen that today's children's books are mainly a load of rubbish.

MissAdventure Wed 05-Feb-20 16:29:19

I love a good Enid Blyton.
Naughty toys always get their comeuppance, learn their lesson, and mend their ways.

LullyDully Wed 05-Feb-20 16:33:00

I would stick to Julia Donaldson. Enid was all we had and enjoyed, but the choice now is so much better.

Having said that my GC enjoyed some recordings of Famous Five we listened to in the car.

Chestnut Wed 05-Feb-20 16:49:07

They always had such wonderful adventures in Enid Blyton books, the Faraway Tree, the Famous Five, the Adventure series, compensation for having no TV!!

DoraMarr Wed 05-Feb-20 17:01:40

I think children’s literature has gone a long way since Enid Blyton, and there are some wonderful books with beautiful illustrations. Julia Donaldson is good because, as well as being funny and entertaining, her stories are written in rhyme, which is an important skill in learning to read. The old favourites like Shirley Hughes, John Burningham, Ronald Dahl and Judith Kerr are lovely to aloud, and many have moral themes. Ask at your local library or have a browse through their books- I’m sure you will find find riches there.

Wheniwasyourage Wed 05-Feb-20 17:04:57

It seems to me that children are not as delicate as we think they are, and are unlikely to be upset at things like smacking in stories, particularly if you use it as an educational opportunity! As others have suggested, you can explain that some things happened in the past but shouldn't now.

I have at times threatened to put some of my DGC up the chimney to sweep it, and they have been well aware that it was a joke! Also that in the past children were sent up chimneys (but much bigger ones than mine).

MissAdventure Wed 05-Feb-20 17:07:18

It's fine to protect them whilst they're young, and once they're teens they'll be playing games like Mortal Combat and Modern Warfare on the Xbox. (Probably!)

Farmor15 Wed 05-Feb-20 17:10:17

I loved Enid Blyton as a child and tried a few out on my own children 30+ years ago. They didn’t really take to them- much preferred Ronald Dahl. I’d suggest scrap the book you bought and find something else. Unfortunately Enid Blyton books are not only dated but actually quite boring!

Lolo81 Wed 05-Feb-20 17:26:01

I agree with many of the posters here that unfortunately Blyton is very dated. The youngsters in my own extended family all loved Roald Dahl and I’m not sure on the age recommendation, but David Williams books have all been devoured and read over and over (especially by the boys).

Purpledaffodil Wed 05-Feb-20 17:26:21

When I trained 50 years ago, E B was very unpopular. Partly because they are formulaic and badly written and partly because she wrote so many, over 200 I believe, that a child could spend their childhood never reading anything else. There are so many better books around which don’t have to be a celeb’s latest offering.
Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about the corporal punishment aspect. When I taught the Victorians in Year 2, children found the idea of being caned at school absolutely hilarious. It is so outside their experience. Thank goodness.

Sara65 Wed 05-Feb-20 17:44:53

My grandchildren are great readers, they have very diverse tastes, read lots of excellent new modern literature. But they also love a good Enid Blyton.

My youngest daughter absolutely loved The Famous Five, and I longed to go to Mallory Towers.

They’re just stories, Enid Blyton gets a bad press these days, but millions of children can’t be wrong!

GrannyLaine Wed 05-Feb-20 17:52:01

Tend to agree with comments above: I quite liked Enid Blyton as a child but there are much better and more relevant books to choose from. Roald Dahl, Shirley Hughes, Julia Donaldson are all on my shelves.

Mommawolf Wed 05-Feb-20 18:01:43

If you are reading to the child try The wind in the willows my children and grand children loved it especially naughty toad old fashioned yes but timeless.

Eglantine21 Wed 05-Feb-20 18:07:56

Even more horrific things happen in Ronald Dahl than in Enid Blyton😱😬

Eglantine21 Wed 05-Feb-20 18:08:37

That’s why children like them.....

Hetty58 Wed 05-Feb-20 18:21:07

I remember removing Enid Blyton books from the library (where I worked) shelves about 50 years ago. It was decided that the content was not suitable - even back then - so NO, don't use them!

Greymar Wed 05-Feb-20 19:04:38

Oh Miss A. Naughty toys. Sorry wrong thread.

MissAdventure Wed 05-Feb-20 19:08:01

smile nothing wrong with being naughty, sometimes.
So I've heard, anyway.