A best-selling children’s author in Great Britain, Enid Blyton (who also wrote as Mary Pollack), began her writing career in 1922 with the publication of Child Whispers, a book of poetry. Before becoming a prolific writer, Blyton served as an editor of Sunny Stories magazine and compiled a children’s encyclopedia. Until her death she wrote as much as one book a month, finishing hundreds of books for children ages five through fifteen. Her most famous works were Noddy books, the Famous Five, and Secret Seven series.
Although her works set in idyllic rural England enjoyed great popularity, were translated into many languages— including Russian and Swahili—and sold in the millions yearly, they also received repeated complaints from teachers and public librarians. Disputes centered on the overly limited vocabulary that she used, her use of racial and gender stereotypes, and her predictable plots. As a former teacher, Blyton believed that her young readers needed simplicity and familiarity.
Supporters of Blyton’s works argued that her writing inspired development of early reading, but librarians refuted such assertions and removed her books from library shelves. Despite this, Blyton’s popularity continued; more than three hundred of her books remained in print at the end of the 1980’s.