I adore children’s fiction. Especially books or series that are either classics or written to harken back to simpler times. There’s just something so rejuvenating about returning to childhood and seeing the world through the eyes of the innocent. Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Boxcar Children, and A Little Princess all hold special places in my heart as childhood classics that I’ve read again and again even into my adulthood, and I foresee no future in which I don’t reread them when I need to escape adulthood.
Even the American Girl books hold special memories for me, as I remember being fascinated by the differences in time period when I was a little girl. I haven’t read them since I was around twelve, but I still have fond memories of them and credit them in part for my interest in history.
Until recently, I thought I had heard of every classic children’s author out there. I was mistaken. Somehow, I had completely missed Enid Blyton. I don’t know if it was because she was British or something, but I never ran across her on my many trips to the children’s wing of my local library as a child. When my friend TS started talking about her favorite books from childhood, many of them were by Blyton, so I decided to look her up. I’m so glad I did!
While Blyton is most famous for some of her other series, such as The Magic Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair, and The Famous Five, I was really drawn to her Farm series and decided to try it first. And it was lovely! As someone who grew up in the country, surrounded by animals and fruit trees and gardens, I was always fascinated by farms because they seemed like my life on a much larger scale.
I can tell you, I would have loved this trilogy as a child because it was both a fun story and very educational. I learned more about life on a farm from this book than I remember ever learning before. From the planting and harvesting of crops to the shoeing of horses to the hatching of ducklings and the rearing of lambs, life on the farm with Rory, Sheila, Benjy, and Penny was always entertaining and educational. As were their visits with Tammylan, the local wild man and friend to all living creatures.
I also loved that the children appreciated farm life more because it wasn’t the life they had always had; the reason they went to the country in the first place was because they were pale and sickly from city living in London. I’ve always appreciated living in the country, but I can’t imagine how much greater my appreciation would be if that hadn’t always been my life. Is country life convenient? No. I have no doubt that life would be easier if I lived less than 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store. But the inconvenience is so worth it, in my opinion. And it sounds like Enid Blyton would agree with me.
If you have a child that is interested in farm living or wildlife, I can’t recommend this little series enough. My only complaints are that county life is a bit too idealized in the book, and the dialogue sometimes felt unrealistic, but both of those are incredibly minor and even expected for children’s literature. And you know, I think most people that living (happily) in the country tend to idealize it, so that writing decision is very forgivable. These three books delivered a lovely story, and I enjoyed every minute of it.