Blyton's Little Noddy
"Cos I'm a little Noddy Man, I always nod my head...
Except of course when I'm asleep and cuddled up in bed.
My little head is on a spring, Just tap it and you'll see -
That it goes Niddy-noddy-nod as happy as can be.
Oh, niddy-niddy-noddy-nod, And niddy-noddy-ned.
Cos I'm a little Noddy man, I always nod my head."
Enid Blyton's most famous creation, Little Noddy, was born the same
year that I was - 1946. I never had Noddy books, although they were
aimed at me and my contemporaries, the baby boomers, of course. I was
more familiar with Mabel Lucy Attwell than Enid Blyton, and I don't
think I ever even saw an Enid Blyton book until my chance encounter
with The Rockingdown Mystery which I spotted in the next door twins'
bedroom, and asked if I could borrow it. I was nine years old at the
time and the Barney mysteries were exactly right for my age group. My
first encounter with Noddy would have been in the late 1960s, when our
first son, Martin was born. Both Wendy and I had worked in the public
and we were by that time both familiar with all of Enid's books and
series, lending them as we did to the hundreds of young children who
came into the library. But it was when we got our second wind and had
our two other children, a second son, Christopher in 1981, and
Samantha, our daughter, in 1984. By that time Noddy was big business,
with Marks and Spencer Noddy story collections, all of the
original books, of course, and long playing records and then cassettes.
We must have made a conscious decision to investigate Noddy on behalf of Chris and Samantha, and they loved it.
started to collect Noddy books from boot sales and charity shops, and
the LP record we managed to find turned out to be a South African
import, because at one point in the story, Mr Plod says that he will
fine Noddy "one rand"... The cassette we got was Noddy Goes To Sea - I
have been unable to find a copy of this treasured cassette, which was
enacted by more than one person, I believe, and sounded like a radio
play rather than an audiobook. The music was enchanting, and there were
many memorable lines such as "Hammocks for beds!", said Bumpy. The
children really loved that cassette, and everything to do with Noddy -
by that time, the Golliwogs who featured in Noddy and his Car, when the
car gets stolen and taken to the dark dark wood, had been replaced. I
remember reading that all of Enid Blyton's stories had been removed
from the shelves of most of the UK's public libraries, at a time when
do-gooders were doing their best to subvert normal life in Britain. No
one could ever accuse Enid Blyton of being racist, there wasn't a
racist bone in her body. She lived to entertain children, and always
maintained that children were her favourite people, children of all
races, creeds and colours. Golliwogs have been around since the middle
of the 19th century, and although you could claim a racist connection,
for the most part they were entirely innocent, and they are freely
available everywhere now. To me, they are just a stuffed toy, and
entirely innocent. Robertsons' Marmalade and Jam jars promoted the
golliwog for many years, and collectors' badges were freely available.
But this article isn't about golliwogs, it's about Little Noddy.
don't think we ever had a complete set of Noddy books, but we had a
fair few, and the children loved hearing his adventures read by me for
their bedtime stories, when I had to do all of the voices and make up
music to fit the rhyming songs, such as "Rattle and shake, what a noise
you make, cans in the back of the car..."; Noddy was carrying paint
tins in his little car, supplementing his income as a part-time taxi
driver in Toytown. There is something absolutely magical about Toytown,
and the original illustrations, by Eelco Martinus ten Harmsen van der
Beek were inspired and breathtakingly original. For me, Noddy remains
one of the finest ever children's stories, crammed with fun and
adventure, superb characters, and lovingly created by the world's
greatest children's author. I still have a couple of Noddy books on my
shelves, and wouldn't hesitate to buy more if the opportunity arose.
small print: Books
Monthly, now well into its 22nd
year on the web,
is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul
Norman. You can contact me here.
If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me
remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this
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email at email@example.com and I'll let you know where to send it.
& Science Fiction
Bilk Sleeve Notes
Stephen King page
children's book of the month this month is Enid Blyton's Book of Rotten
Rascals, based on her 1944 book A Boof of Naughty Children...