kcab, Frenchie says he doesn't remember those ones very well at all, I'm afraid--the ones he liked best were the Famous Five and the _______of Adventure ones (this was 50 years ago, mind you! We are old parents....and his parents long since donated all his childhood books to the church jumble sale). The only Blyton I've ever read were one or two of the Noddy books, which I disliked, as I recall...but different strokes for different folks, I guess.

oli, interesting about Emil and the Detectives--another of my husband's childhood favourites. Jean Webster wrote Daddy Long Legs, didn't she? I loved that one as a girl (and our copy was one my grandfather gave to my grandmother when they were a-courtin', with a sweet inscription--it always added a particular flavour to a re-read of that book).

Taminy, I like the looks of the Melendy books--thanks for the tip!

Another of our summer's books is Penelope Lively's "The Voyage of QV66" (1978, repr. Jane Nissen 2005, ~175 pp, illustrations by Harold Jones, grade 6ish? reading level). All five of us loved this one. This book, I would say, is unique--it's a post-apocalyptic comedy, talking-animals road story. England is covered with flood waters, all the humans are gone, and a few animals are left. One small group of them (Pal the dog, Ned the horse, Freda the cow, Pansy the kitten, Offa the pigeon, and Stanley the nobody-knows-what [he's a monkey]; they are later joined by the Major, a parrot) set off by boat on a journey of discovery, to learn what they can about what Stanley is, and if there are any other creatures like him in the world. They have lots of adventures and get into plenty of scrapes, which they work through in various inventive ways, always looking out for one another even when they are profoundly exasperated with each other. Although hilariously funny, it's in many ways a very serious book, inviting the reader to consider large questions, most notably how one might find a place to belong in the world.