Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday's Forgotten Books: Galliano's Circus

Before getting down to the business of Friday's Forgotten Books, I wish you all a Happy Halloween! Child #4 is uberly excited for this evening. She's dressing up as an angel. Dorothy the Dog will be a witch.

And, now...a big obnoxious drum roll...Friday's Forgotten Books.

My parents firmly believed in reading books aloud. Long past the time when we could read for ourselves. I think it's a great family activity. Certainly it spawns discussion.I really must institute it more with my own kids.

Enid Blyton (1897-1968) was a British children's author who wrote A LOT of books. About EIGHT HUNDRED over her forty-year career! Not to turn this into a math post, but that's an average of TWENTY BOOKS A YEAR. Yowser!

You might know her for her Noddy books or her Famous Five series.

But our favorite read-aloud was the circus series: Mr. Galliano's Circus (1938), Hurrah for the Circus (1939), and Circus Days Again (1942). These books are about 185 pages and have line drawings.

From Wikipedia (sorry, I'm pretty much cheating here, but I still have a special Halloween dessert to make):
The Circus Series (or trilogy) begins with Mr. Galliano's Circus, where the protagonist is Jimmy Brown. The story revolves around Jimmy, his parents, his dog, Lucky and the others like Lotta, who work in the Circus. Lotta is a small girl who rides horses.The other characters include Lilliput, the man with the monkeys; Stanley, the clown; Mr Tonks, the owner of Jumbo the Elephant; and Lotta’s parents, Lal and Laddo.

These books are definitely dated. I would imagine most of Blyton's books are. There has been some updating of language. For example, "golliwogs" has been replaced with "teddy bears." Also, there's an old-fashioned attitude about the circus books. Like stuff to do with the British class system and some racial stereotyping. And the plot moves somewhat slowly compared to contemporary children's fiction.

Yet, there was something captivating. My sisters and I were excited each evening to hear the continued adventures of Jimmy and company. I think I'll try reading Mr. Galliano's Circus with Child #4. She loves animals and stories about them. And I'm curious to see if I can figure out why I loved the series.

Hop over to pattinase's blog for links to other posts for Friday's Forgotten Books. Even though she's super busy this week, Patti organized this round-up early. That's how wonderful she is.



pattinase (abbott) said...

Can't wait to read this to my grandson.

Ray said...

Yes, passed these books (in original form complete with 'golliwogs') to my second eldest daughter. I read a lot of Enid Blyton when I was young. Youngest son has the Famous Five books - I still 'borrow' one back.

Anonymous said...

My parents read aloud to us long after we could read as well. Those are some of my favorite memories.

Moll said...

I still love being read aloud to. And my mom still does it the best!

laughingwolf said...

coolios... and a happy samhain to one and all ;) lol

Elizabeth said...

I loved Enid Blyton as a child even though her books weren't considered to have any merit (except children READ them!
At school our library books were divided into A and B books.
A books were morally improving.
B books were trashy.
You could take out 2 books at a time.
two A's
an A and a B
NEVER two B books.......
Enid B. was in the B category...but the Secret Seven were great.
Happy Halloween.

Elizabeth said...

ps will you be doing any book signings in New York?

Unknown said...

i loved being read to as a kid! :) good stuff. happy halloween!

Barrie said...

Elizabeth: About signings in New York...I don't have any planned at the moment. But I will certainly let you know if one is planned! I've actually never been to New York. Which I feel is a huge hole in my traveling life. To be rectified.

David Cranmer said...

Eight hundred! I'm still working on the first. Where do people find the time in a day to accomplish that? I'm in awe... great post Barrie and Happy Halloween!

Barbara Martin said...

One of my great aunts from England sent me Enid Blyton's books every Christmas and birthday when younger. What a wonderful trip down memory lane this is...thanks, Barrie.

As for using Wikipedia, I use it more than I should too, but when you're pressed for time and need to be working on your WIPs instead of blogging...I need to try and write another 3,000 words tonight before bed.