Books Monthly July 2020 The Enid Blyton page this month is all about Little Noddy
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Enid Blyton's Little Noddy...

 




Enid 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 library 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.


We 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.


I 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. Absolutely superb!



The 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 publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email at paulenorman1@gmail.com and I'll let you know where to send it.



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My 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...