The Enid Blyton Society
The Wishing-Chair Again
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Book Details...

First edition: 1950
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: Hilda McGavin
Category: Wishing-Chair
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Artwork
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations

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Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Hilda McGavin
Throughout childhood I had the recurring image of a wonderful Titbit Dish. Every time you lift the lid there is a titbit there — a sausage, a bar of chocolate, an orange or even an ice-cream. Like all children I could never get as many sweets and goodies that I required and I used to think about that little dish which Peter owned. What a wonderful possession it would be — then at the end of this book he gives it away to a naughty brownie. What a waste of such a desirable item!
There are two books in the Wishing-Chair series plus a mini-book which is part of an omnibus produced by Enid Blyton for her fans. The children who possess the fabulous chair are Peter and Mollie and together with their pixie-friend Chinky they fly away to all kinds of magical places and have more adventures than almost any other kids on the face of the planet. During the school term Mollie and Peter are boarding so the chair is looked after by Chinky who takes it to his mother's place for the duration. In the first book it appears that the children attend single-sex schools but in this one it looks as if they attend the same institution — perhaps a place similar to St Rollo's which is another of the author's schools but that's not of importance because it's the adventures which we are mainly interested in. There are a few less chapters in this second book and the outings with the chair tend to run on longer — for instance their first venture takes the reader to about page 50. An extra person (hanger-on) features a little later in the plot and comes in the form of a brownie (mentioned above).

Peter and Mollie arrive home from school where Chinky joins up with them and they're ready for more adventures. On their first visitation to a strange land they meet Chinky's cousin "Sleep-Alone." He's a rather anti-social type who just wishes to get away from everyone and everything so that he can have a decent sleep but, unfortunately, he's always disturbed no matter where he is and Peter, Mollie and Chinky play their part in his interrupted life. The adventure moves on and a problem arises when their wonderful chair is stolen so naturally there's an all-out hunt for it and this is where they become involved with Mr. Spells — an Enchanter. After a rather unpleasant introduction they eventually make friends with him and later on in the book Mollie and Peter seem able to visit Mr. Spells whenever they like which is a little unusual because when entering magical places there's generally a need to be accompanied by one of the in-folk such as a fairy or pixie.

On one outing there is a nasty interlude with folk known as "Slipperies" who are very slippery people indeed. They manage to fool the Wishing-Chair travelers and play a horrible trick on them. The children also meet Chinky's Great-Aunt Quick-Fingers whose knowledge of magic is very helpful to them and actually causes the Wishing-Chair's wings to metamorphose into a larger brand with a different colour. Originally red, they are now green and yellow which pleases the children immensely.

In a later chapter Peter and Mollie have problems with the disappearance of some of their toys and on a trip with Chinky to find them they unfortunately end up in a school which caters to delinquent brownies and is run by a male equivalent of Dame Slap (Dame Slap is a strict school mistress in one or two other Blyton books). When some Enid Blyton characters are in a teaching environment such as a school a considerable amount of stupidity can ensue. Mr Grim who runs the School for Bad Brownies expects quite ridiculous problems to be solved. "What number is left when you take eighty-two and sixty-four from one hundred and three?" he asks. Peter is expected to answer this inane query. It turns out that Mr. Grim doesn't even know himself so any answer will do. This Mad-Hatter touch reminds me of The Very Wise Man in another EB work — The Enid Blyton Book of Brownies. He also asked stupid questions, eg: "Why is a toasting fork?" and in this case a wrong answer could have unpleasant results for the person whom he is addressing. Mr. Popple in an old Sunny Stories magazine also produced absurd conundrums but in his case it was to pay out a rather swollen-headed golliwog (you can find that story in The Snowdrop Story Book or you can go back sixty years and read the original).

There are other experiences for the children further on and one of them is meeting Mr. Blacky who ousts Dame Washalot of the "Faraway Tree" series as one of the oldest of the myriad characters that Enid Blyton created over the years. He's 153 and I'd never have thought that when a golliwog becomes old his black hair begins to go grey but it certainly makes sense. His authority and power is offered to the children and Chinky whereby they complete a very successful mission and also acquire their new companion — Winks the brownie whom they rescue from the School for Bad Brownies. Chinky goes missing in Chapter 17 and this causes the children with Winks to make an excursion and they're very lucky indeed because I can't think there would be many boys and girls in story-land who were able to call on an Enchanter's assistance. In this case Mollie and Peter are able to elicit such help and who would dare to tangle with such a person of magic? Someone does however so the action heats up.

Chinky and Winks get on each other's nerves later on and naturally it's the prelude to another Wishing-Chair trip to undo the magic which they have been zapping at each other. Round about here Enid Blyton introduces another of her weird and wonderful creatures — a Maggle-Mig and there's even a picture of it. I'm sure there are not many people who know what one of those might be. Anyway, Chinky and Winks learn that you mustn't play silly-billies with the supernatural arts because it can have very negative results. Next on the menu is a visit to the Island of Surprises and finally The Wishing-Chair Again ends with their friend Winks having to return to the dreaded School for Bad Brownies because he's just a little naughty to be allowed his freedom in this ordered world. His misery however is alleviated slightly by Peter's presentation to him of the wonderful Titbit Dish that he had won on the Island of Surprises. I'm sure that in later weeks and months when they are in their playroom and dying for a little snack, Peter and Mollie will think back on that kind gesture with regrets! "Goodbye, Mollie, Peter, Chinky, Winks and the wishing-Chair. We'll see you all again some day, we hope!"
When flying off on one of their adventures there is a reference by Chinky to some very well-known characters — Moon-Face, Silky and the Saucepan Man. Apparently he visited the Land of Goodies once when it was at the top of the Faraway Tree and met them all.

Throughout the book they all have the desire to visit the Land of Goodness-Knows-Where for some reason or another but despite many attempts they never actually get there.

Hilda McGavin is once again the talented illustrator. Her efforts seem a little different from the more defined pictures that decorate the first book. The children are a little older or bigger-looking of course but the illustrations overall seem a weeny bit less-detailed than in the previous volume. Not all that noticeable though.

The trade name of "Meccano" is used in one chapter and it's noteworthy to the extent that one can reflect a little on the period during which the book was written.

You will come across Giant Small-One in this book ... yes, a small giant! There's also a house-keeping cat and even flying dogs so there's variety aplenty that can be added to the various snippets already mentioned.

The Wishing-Chair Again came out in 1950 after it was serialised in the Sunny Stories magazine about a year earlier. That's over ten years after the first book (Adventures of the Wishing Chair) was published.

Enid Blyton characters are well known for their ability to consume gargantuan quantities of food and drink and a little exercise in comparisons might be interesting to peruse. There's a group of rather adept detectives in a Blyton series who regularly indulge in lashings of hot scones with raspberry jam, gingerbread, chocolate cake, egg sandwiches, cream buns, meringues, chocolate éclairs, macaroons and ice-creams amongst other delicacies. One of these individuals (Frederick) who is particularly partial to gastronomic excesses is known appropriately as "Fatty!" In The Wishing-Chair Again it is revealed that Mollie, who is an average-looking girl of about ten, once consumed eleven ice-creams at a party. She then states that she could have managed eleven more! Comparing body weight and the size of an average ten year old girl with that of a fifteen year old boy (a portly fifteen year old boy) the evidence is clear that Frederick on one of his better days could put away about forty ice-creams at one sitting — a little detail that can be pondered on by those whose concern is child obesity. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.