The Enid Blyton Society
Here Comes Noddy Again
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Book Details...

First edition: 1951
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Harmsen Van der Beek
Category: Noddy
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson


Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Harmsen Van der Beek

Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Harmsen Van der Beek and from
the 1990 edition with alterations by Mary Cooper

Front and back flaps from the dustwrapper of the 1st edition
and front flap from a later reprint

Title page from the 1st edition
Quite apart from my millions of English-speaking readers, I have to consider entirely different children — children of many races who have my books in their own language. I am, perforce, bringing to them the ideas and ideals of a race of children alien to them, the British.
Toy-Village has a taxi-driver now and it's none other than little Noddy who thought of this brilliant money-making idea when he received a car as a gift for services rendered. It was during his second appearance that he managed (with help) to thwart the plans of some car-thieving Goblins and the grateful owners of those cars showed their appreciation. Parp-parp goes the horn on Noddy's lovely new vehicle and jingle-jingle-jingle goes the bell on top of his hat as he drives around looking for customers. Did you know that Mary Mouse has six children? Well, you know now, and they all require a taxi-ride but how on Earth is Noddy going to fit them all in? It's a head-scratching problem but finally he places Woffly, Scamper, Tiny, Squeaker, Frisky and Patter on the back above the spare tyre and mother Mary sits next to the driver.

The skittles want to go for a picnic in the country so Noddy takes them all in his taxi and, no doubt, he picks them up later in the day and brings them back — for a fee of course. Toy dogs are banned from the taxi after Noddy picks one up and then watches it make a fearless jump from the car in order to chase a cat. This results in a fare-less trip for the taxi-driver. A belligerent elephant requires a ride and it proves to be an utter nuisance but the problem with trying to order such a creature out of your car is that elephants don't have to take notice of anyone because they are so big and so strong and so heavy. Noddy is frightened that his taxi will be wrecked and the elephant's intentions are not honourable either — he wants to be driven to the woods so that he can knock down trees. Noddy is ecologically aware and is now placed in a difficult position but there's at least one exalted Being around who can control the creature and no, it's not Him, it's a man called Noah. You see, the elephant lives in the ark and is subject to the Authority that surrounds it. Luckily, the great big pachyderm falls asleep so Noddy is able to avoid the woods and drive instead to where the ark is moored. A stern Noah orders the elephant out of the car and directs it to stand in the corner and await the wrath of its master!

Noddy is rapidly increasing his poetry-composing skills and when he's brushing his hair he recites an excellent ten-line effort which ends with "Nid-Diddy-Nod!" Combinations like that always need a little analysis in order that one can fully grasp the latent Grandeur.

A clown would like a lift to the Village of Bouncing Balls. Noddy takes him and it's a bit of an adventure but the rough must be taken with the smooth. Mr. Straw is familiar to Blytonites because he plays small parts in other stories and in this one he wants Noddy at his farm for a delivery job. The taxi driver obliges but he's shockingly attacked by a goat and his car ends up in a state of complete wetness with Noddy ending up in a state of extreme dirtiness. The brave little man is really earning his money. Despite the mishaps, he completes his task and there’s an extra benefit with the receipt of small bonus on completion.

The last four chapters involve a frightening episode in Noddy's life when he's attacked and robbed in the woods by some dolls that many people seem unable to accept because they are darker coloured than Noddy himself. Are they Clockwork Clowns — they're blue? No! Are they Bears — they're brown? No! Are they Goblins — they're green? Well ... it depends on which edition you read! Guess what — the attackers turn out to be Golliwogs who are normally very friendly and often quite authoritative figures in Enid Blyton stories. These particular ones happen to be bad (yes, there are bad Golliwogs around) and Noddy is put through a terrifying experience which would probably make this book the most exciting in the whole series and little children should love it.

The question is — can the story end happily? Well, you can figure it out for yourself. Here are the final words by a poet who is rapidly gaining distinction:
"When you're feeling very gay,
And you shout hip-hip-hurray,
What a happy day!"

There was a great big row over the attack on Noddy in the Dark Dark Wood and it went on for years. It became so serious in some peoples' minds that the publishers eventually made changes to the Noddy stories. Apparently the kerfuffle centred on the fact that four Golliwogs were the culprits and this was seen as undesirable. Why? When I was small I attended the local Bijou on Saturday afternoons as all children did no matter how boring the movie might be although the Disney cartoons and the episode of the current serial were welcomed. To me, all grown-ups in movies looked relatively the same and I sometimes found it difficult to distinguish the baddies unless they had some striking characteristic. Fortunately the villains often had a guttural accent which might sound German or Japanese taking in mind the effect of a world holocaust — and in her stories, Enid Blyton has sometimes followed this theme. As accents are useless in a book, a physical characteristic was sometimes introduced in accordance with the black and white ideas the author often propounded because things need to be simple in books for young children. The first bunch of crooks that feature in the Noddy books is actually a crowd of Goblins but Golliwogs, when they were around in the toy-shops, looked quite garish with their hair all sticking up and, as they were black, it seemed quite sensible to use them as the mischief makers because they could be easily picked out. However, those who insist that certain books must be either burnt or censored decreed that Golliwogs shouldn't be depicted as bad persons because children might consider all people of darker colour to be bad. Can white people be bad? Yes, that's all right. Italians, Africans, Chinese, Indians and South Americans amongst others all look a little different but they could possibly be introduced in future editions provided they don't do anything naughty because if that's allowed it might mean that the race they represent will be seen in a poor light! See how powerful the Enid Blyton books are? The dictators seemed obsessive about someone's colour being connected with negativity which of course validated their whole argument and turned it from being a storm in a teacup to a planetary deluge. The way these peoples’ minds work invites a cart-load of analysis — is it not right to allow the difference in the way a person looks to be used to scare someone? What if the crook had big ears, or a black beard or a hunch-back? Is that permissible or is it just a person's colour? What if the villain had a deep sun-tan?

Another way of looking at it of course could be that, as Golliwogs were experiencing a temporary scarcity, the youngsters might not have been able to relate to them. Whatever the reason — the result of the prevailing attitude was the changing of the Golliwogs into Goblins. Now Hear This — Is no one concerned as to what the Goblins think of this insult attached to their citizens? If there's any race that gets a rotten deal in the Enid Blyton books it has to be that of the Goblins and before someone jumps up and says there aren't any around just think of those people who look like them. Many individuals sport big ears (no disrespect to Noddy's best friend), long noses, bushy eyebrows and wear pointed hats or 'Beanies' and could well be mistaken for Goblins and may even be called by that name within earshot so it's one mess opening up into another. I looked at it from a different angle in an article (2001) where the argument was discussed from my own personal experience in order that some sense could be made from the inane pronouncements that emerge every now and again. I also added something that originated purely out of curiosity:

"I do not know the opposite word to Golliwog, but I wonder at times whether the black people have little Whitey dolls. I never thought of looking at the toy shops when I was in Africa but if they do have them, I wonder what they would be called. Given the one or two explanations for the name-origin I guess that it would be perfectly acceptable to refer to a white caricature-type doll as a Golliwog. Always curious, I have sometimes wondered if there were children's books printed in Africa that had the white person as the Bounder. It would certainly be applicable but I have never found out whether this occurred."

It's surprising that 'Too Little Tommy' hasn't launched an outcry by those who think his handicap is an insult to small people but perhaps those who want to change Enid Blyton characters are simply biding their time. They've missed a fairly obvious one in The Island of Adventure where the children were captured by some very bad men who were coal-miners. Think of it — aren't coal miners rather black most of the time? I know that sounds ridiculous but then the whole thing's ridiculous and that's exactly the quality that's acted upon in the book-suitability syndrome.

Enid Blyton: "Teddy Bears are also toys but if there happens to be a naughty one in my books for younger children, this does not mean that I hate bears."

That's quite true and if you can bear it you can witness a Teddy, a Golliwog and a Goblin joining forces to attack Big-Ears in one of Enid Blyton's Magazines (Sept. 11th, 1957). The use of Golliwogs is simply historic and the fact that Enid Blyton books were so popular meant they kept being churned out even when they entered a fairly golliwog-less era but at the bottom of it all seems, once again, to be a dislike or envy of the author and her creations. You'll notice that the star of Little Black Sambo, which is still being printed, has not been replaced with a Goblin and I wonder why! If that particular book is regarded as a kind of 'icon' or 'period-piece' then I think that the Noddy stories would supply the necessary qualifications for that category.
'Too Little Tommy' is a charming story which appeared in the Forties and was reprinted in Tales After Supper.
Stop Press: It's official. A few days ago whilst exploring a 1996 copy of Noddy Goes to Toyland I noticed that the featured judge has undergone an operation which turned him into a fully fledged female — "Everyone got up suddenly as a very solemn looking person came in and took a grand chair upon the platform. She was the judge with a big wig hanging to her shoulders." Seeing how lady-like the judge originally looked, the people who insist on changes in iconic works (namely Enid Blyton material) must have seen a God-given opportunity to show that women were as good as men at various levels of employment. Then again they may have done it to satisfy those boys and girls who are a little unsure of themselves and need confirmation of the fact that there's nothing wrong at all for a girl to want to be a boy or vice versa. Can we now say that the trail-blazing Enid Blyton has once again gone where 'No Man Has Gone Before' by authoring the first book for young children where a character changes gender ... at least in the reprint!