Nikki's Reviews > Tales of Brave Adventure

Tales of Brave Adventure by Enid Blyton
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Jul 07, 11

bookshelves: arthurian, robin-hood, based-on-myth-saga-etc, children-s-and-ya
Read on July 07, 2011

I just found, oddly enough, both my parents' copies of this book, from when they were children. It wouldn't be my first candidate for a book they'd have had in common, honestly, but apparently they both loved it. It's funny in that it contains two stories, one about Robin Hood and one about King Arthur -- two stories that are rarely published together, since their whole ideology is different. (It does happen, for example with a lot more integration than is found here in T.H. White's Sword in the Stone, but it's unusual.)

It contains various stories from both traditions. They're not combined: it's two separate stories collected in the same book. Robin Hood and King Arthur are, of course, such very noble men, and their causes are unquestionable, and the men around them are just the same. It's a very noble version of Robin Hood, not a realistic one or one that contains much of the rogue. If he hurts anyone or steals from them, well, they deserved it. That's probably how it can be in the same book with a King Arthur story -- Robin is quite a courtly Robin, even if his court is a forest glade.

I remember being told about this book better than I remember reading it, when I was a child. I remember Mum talking about how she used to read it over and over again, under the covers at night with a torch at night, and she cried every time at Robin Hood's death and at the end of Arthur's story. Her mother used to think she was mad. (I've cried over books at my grandmother's house before, most notably at Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry -- she really does think it's crazy to cry at books.)

I do remember that I treasured this book as well. I don't think I ever wept over it -- and I certainly didn't now -- but I did need to hug my bear very, very tightly. (Sorry, Yellow. I must've squished your stuffing ever so.)

It's Enid Blyton, so it's a quick read without oodles of substance, and quite possibly problematic in many ways (mmm, imperialism, for a start), but I can't read it like that. Too golden with nostalgia. There's something comforting about it, to me, and it reminds me of happy days when I fit between the rungs of the ladder up to my bunk bed, and it was but the work of a moment to make my bed into a pirate ship by handing a sheet down from the side, and to crawl in at the 'hatch' between two rungs of a ladder... I wouldn't recommend reading it as an adult, honestly, unless you have nostalgic memories of it (or at least of Enid Blyton in general) to look back on.

Obviously, this is a review more about nostalgia and my childhood than the book. Uh, at least I admit it?
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Gill (new)

Gill Uh! and there was I thinking perhaps this better be the first Enid Blyton book I ever read! My parents were both librarians and kept the Blyton books, which they were 'instructed' that, because of demand, they must keep - in the obscene safe. Lady Chatterley etc. were openly on the shelves! Hence I haven't read any Blyton, nor have my boys now parents themselves, and I only read a comic first when they were old enough to buy their own, with Dad egging them on! ;-)


message 2: by Nikki (last edited Jul 09, 2011 01:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nikki I don't know of any of Enid Blyton's work that I would start an adult with! It doesn't really bear examination.


message 3: by Gill (new)

Gill ;-)


Nikki Both my parents have a very plain blue version, which I think originally had a dust cover that looked like this. They don't remember very well, so it's awkward! I certainly wouldn't mind a better image, anyway.

It is a very... empire sort of thing, Enid Blyton's work.


message 5: by Gill (new)

Gill I think there are many 'popular' authors who actually have very little to recommend their writing - I can't say this specifically about Enid Blyton as I haven't read any, but I can think of several others!


message 6: by Miriam (last edited Jul 20, 2011 05:03PM) (new)

Miriam It's funny in that it contains two stories, one about Robin Hood and one about King Arthur -- two stories that are rarely published together, since their whole ideology is different.

It is interesting to me that you feel that way -- I rather do as well, but apparently 'twas not always so: Myth and National Identity in Nineteenth-Century Britain: The Legends of King Arthur and Robin Hood

I think that both stories (at least in the versions commonly presented to children) espouse what would have vaguely been termed "British Values". I haven't read much Blyton but I gather that would be true of her corpus as well? Lots of honesty and pluck and self-control?


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