Delight as 'lost' Enid Blyton book is discovered

Jonathan Brown
Wednesday 23 February 2011 01:00

Crikey! Lovers of Enid Blyton can look forward to lashings of words from the pen of their favourite writer after the discovery of a previously unknown book, written at the height of her imaginative powers.

Mr Tumpy's Caravan was discovered among works and manuscripts belonging to the late author's eldest daughter when it was purchased by the Seven Stories children's archive and gallery in Newcastle last year.

The 180-page typed novel has only now come to light and is considered extremely rare despite Blyton's famously prodigious output.

It tells the story of a independent-minded caravan with feet who goes on the traditional adventure to a far-off land where it encounters a dog-headed dragon.

Kathryn Row, marketing manager at the gallery, said the discovery had caused considerable excitement among both scholars and fans of Blyton, who died in 1968 but continues to sell eight million books a year.

"We thought there was a published book called Mr Tumpy but when our archivist was going through it she realised it was quite different. It is very rare and very unheard of to come across an unpublished novel like this," she said.

Mr Tumpy was a comic strip adventure first published in the London Evening Standard after the Second World War. The new discovery is thought to have been written in 1938 around the time Blyton was creating adventures such as The Faraway Tree series.

The book was authenticated by Tony Summerfield, head of the Enid Blyton Society who described the finding as "unique".

However, because Seven Stories does not own the publishing rights to the un-illustrated manuscript, Blyton fans are unlikely to read it in print and will have to satisfy themselves with seeing it in Newcastle.

Blyton was born in London in 1897 and on leaving school, trained as a teacher. Her first book, a collection of poetry, was written in 1922 and she is now the fifth most translated author worldwide. The gallery paid around £40,000 in September for personal papers relating to some of the author's most celebrated creations, including Noddy and the Famous Five.

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