Enid Blyton was one of, if not the most widely published author of children's books in England. Her first book, Child Whispers, published in 1922, was the beginning of a long, happy career for this young author.
Her works range from poetry, classics retold, stories of the bible, books of prayers, plays for both the young child as well as older children, stories from world history retold, teaching aids written especially for teachers, and her popular stories in the world of make believe for little children.
Of the 625 published works credited to this author, I think readers most often associate Blyton with her Noddy books, which were written primarily for the preschool age group, and included the Golliwog in many of Noddy's adventures.
A total of 77 Noddy books were written, telling of the adventures of a little boy doll who lived in 'Toy Town', an everyday world, with real live Teddy bears, Elves and Golliwogs. Many of the larger books contain one black & white page for coloring, as well as a 'board game' which could be played with a friend or two, as well as various stories about Noddy.
another series of books that she wrote that including the golliwog, was about the adventures of a little girl called 'Amelia Jane'. These books were written for older children and were originally published during the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Newer editions continued to be printed through the eighties, and these still include the Golliwog.
Though the association of Blyton and the Golli is definitely recognized, she actually only wrote three books directed primarily toward the character. In 1944, The Three Golliwogs first appeared, followed by The Proud Golliwog in 1951, and The Golliwog Grumbled in 1953.
In the 1940's, Enid Blyton produced sunny Stories, a series of soft-cover booklets, 5-1/4" X 7 ¼" in size, each containing approximately 25 pages of stories of the golliwog and his friends. These were number editions, issued each Friday. Each issue had her picture, and a personal note from her, on the inside cover, where she spoke about starting a new series of stories in the next issue, or about keeping good habits, not being careless, destructive or littering. Through her stories, she tried to teach the children how to become a proper citizens, respecting their country and each other. Actually, Enid Blyton tried to instill the same lessons in her readers as she did her own children.
In the September 21, 1950 issue she urged readers to become Busy Bees, children helpers of the P.D.S.A. (People Dispensary for Sick Animals), whose vans went out everywhere, caring for sick animals.
Her message in September 1949 issue of Sunny Stories reads in part. "A good many of you have written to ask what I mean when I speak of E.B.F's. I just mean 'Enid Blyton's Friends', that's all - people who believe in the things I do - kindness to people and animals, honesty and bravery - the things that most children , too, admire and like. If you believe in them, then you're an E.B.F."
In the 1950's "Enid Blyton Magazine" - Best Stories for all Children appeared on the scene. These were very similar to her Sunny stories, but with a slightly different format, and it seems they were geared to a slightly older child. In these she featured safety habits, nature stories, puzzles and projects to make.
Because of the furor over 'political correctness', when the Noddy Annual was reissued in 1992 it had no mention of picture of our little friend, the Golli. He had suddenly been transmogrified into a mischievous elfin character. One should remember that the Golliwog was not a real black child, but was only a toy, along with all the other character toys and animals in the Enid Blyton books and stories. Unfortunately, it seems the Golliwog has forever disappeared from any recently reissued books by Blyton.
Shown here is the November 12th, 1943 issue of Sunny Stories, with cover and story illustration of Banana Man, by Joyce Johnson.
Briefly, the story refers to the excitement of all the nursery toys because of a fancy dress party tonight (that's the time all nursery toys come alive). Each tries to think of something funny to wear, so they can win the contest and prize. The pink cat decides to dress as an elephant, and walk backwards waving her 'trunk.'
Golli is corrected by the baby doll for quarreling with the cat and is told to go stand in the corner and think instead of how he will dress.
He smells something rather sweet coming from inside a waste-paper basket and sees a banana skin there that one of the (human) children had thrown away.
The great thought entered his head, that he would become The Banana Man, and her proceeds to ask the baby doll to sew up the sides of the banana skin around him. Of course, the thread wouldn't hold, so the doll suggests asking the elf for her help as she is marvelous with a needled. After taking one look at the Golli and his banana skin, the elf says "Zipps!" and found some zip-fastenings which of which of course were just what was needed, along with a bit of 'elfin magic'.
Naturally, Golli wins the prize for having the most funny costume.
As all the toys begin to take off their customs, Golli realizes a bit of magic will also be needed to remove his banana skin. Unfortunately, after the elf completed her job, she went off for a two-week visit with her aunt. "Whatever will the children say when they find me dressed up n a banana skin?" said Golly.
He was so upset, he sat down on his prize, a lovely cream cake. He asked the cat to lick off him, which she did with the comment, "Very nice indeed, Banana Cream."