The Enid Blyton Society
Noddy Gets into Trouble
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Book Details...

First edition: 1954
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Mary Brooks
Category: Noddy
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson


Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Mary Brooks

Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Mary Brooks

Front and back flaps from the dustwrapper of the 1st edition

Title page from the 1st edition
"Noddy," said one librarian, was "gutless, foolish and sadistic." But, of course, Noddy can never be quite the same when you've passed, say, the age of five.

(Woman's Weekly, June 21st, 1971)

The word 'Red' in a book called The Little Red Fire-Engine would be superfluous because to the best of my knowledge all fire-engines are red and when I see the title Noddy Gets into Trouble I think that the Blinking Obvious is being well catered to because I can't really think of a book where Noddy doesn't get into trouble — at least that's the case with the ones I've been through so far. Maybe in this particular story Noddy gets into more trouble than he usually does and one has to admit that the title is a good selling point because 'trouble' plays a big part in children's lives. I can see Disobedient Peter or Bad Tempered Bessie begging their respective parents to buy Noddy Gets into Trouble so they can gloat over whatever it is that befalls the Little Nodding Man.
The first picture shows Noddy waking up in a thoroughly good mood and waving his hand at Mr. Sun who's shining through the window. He's so happy that he's humming like a bee and thinking that's today's going to be a very lucky day. Singing a few short songs to himself he takes the milk from the milkman who arrives on cue and, as usual, he allows the friendly vendor to tap his little head and watch it nod up and down. The milkman loves doing that and considers it sufficient payment for his wares.

Then things begin to go wrong for some reason or another. Noddy's breakfast egg tastes awful and a little later he discovers that his car has a flat tyre and after that the village policeman arrives and accuses him of burglary because someone has entered Miss Fluffy cat's house and stolen a pile of food. Mr. Plod's evidence comes from Miss Fluffy Cat herself — she heard a jingling bell as the thief climbed out of the window and as Noddy's the only person in Toy Town who sounds a bell when he moves about it seems that he might be the culprit. Mr. Plod checks Noddy's larder for further evidence and although none of the stolen food is found he discovers a few crumbs on the floor and becomes 'Suspicious'. Noddy may have consumed a few crumbly chocolate buns yesterday but is he telling the truth?

There's no doubt about it, this day has turned out to be one of the worst ever and Noddy immediately acts in the only positive way that he can in the circumstances. He sits on the larder floor and cries his heart out! After that he sets off to see if he can find some passengers because he works as Toy-Town's taxi service. The fickle villagers all turn away from him when he drives by because Miss Fluffy Cat has spread the word. Noddy's been judged in absentia and convicted it seems so no one hails him or strolls up for a chat — it's as if he doesn't exist!

Next morning brings news of another robbery and this time Mr. Wobbly-Man has been relieved of a box of ginger biscuits. Mr. Plod is becoming even more suspicious and it looks rather bad for Noddy as he sets off to find his loyal friend — Big Ears. Surely he will know what to do and I think I'd agree because Big-Ears is a very wise old brownie and has helped Noddy many times in the past. Very unfortunately Big-Ears is not home but a small rabbit who hops by passes on some information which a lot of Enid Blyton readers might find intriguing and, in this case, it's the younger E.B. fans who could be more versed ... Big-Ears has a brother. Yes, he really does. The brother is called Little-Ears and you can figure out for yourself why he's named that! Big-Ears has gone to visit him so Noddy turns back towards his own village where once again he is shunned. Mr. Monkey doesn't want to avail himself of the taxi-service even though he's lugging a great big trunk around and Mr. Tall-Bear won't even speak to him so the only thing to do is to return home and have a little sob and he does exactly that. There's a very touching Beek picture here which illustrates a visit by none other than Tessie Bear. Now I've heard of Tessie because that name is in a title further on in the Noddy series so this must be her debut. She's a niece of the bears who live next door to Noddy and it would be interesting to see if they are still friendly with Noddy because next to Big-Ears the Tubbys would be amongst the little man's staunchest pals (Mr. Tall-Bear is from a different family no doubt). Noddy pours out his troubles to Tessie who is very sympathetic to his plight and then she has a brilliant idea — although she didn't originate it. Many E. B. fans would recall reading about a man with 'odd' eyes who parped a horn every now and again way back in a 1954 book called The Mystery of the Missing Necklace. The children in that story wanted to find the horn-parper's identity so enquiries were made at the shop which sells horns. Tessie Bear thinks along similar lines. If the food-burglar made a ringing sound when he was moving about why not visit the bell-shop and ask a few questions — maybe someone has bought a bell there recently. Off they go and it turns out that several have been sold to various customers so Noddy and Tessie Bear continue their detecting and make enquiries at Noah's Ark and Mrs. Sailor Doll's house and further intelligence leads them to the wooden fort where all the soldiers live but the drawbridge is up and they are not allowed in.

A plan is formulated from another of Tessie Bear's brainwaves and this calls for a night excursion so it's two brave figures that steal out of Noddy's house that evening. A dramatic encounter ensues and then, surprisingly, there's a welcome appearance from none other than Big-Ears and his brother whom we get to meet for the first time and I think you might have worked out by now why he's called 'Little-Ears'. What a thrilling finish there is and there's also room for Mr. Plod to make an apology to Noddy for the suspicions he has entertained about our little hero.

The story ends with plans for a grand tea-party which will be held for Tessie Bear and it's fairly obvious that all the villagers are going to attend and not only will there be apologies all round for Noddy but also 'Surprises' brought for him and Tessie. The party will be held tomorrow and there's a colourful picture of how it will look when Enid Blyton decides to pop her head in at the window and listen to Noddy bursting forth with a song (quite a long one) to end the tale.
I couldn't see Little Ears' ears because they were hidden by his beard and his yokel hat but I eventually came to the conclusion that his name may have come about because he has little ears.

Disobedient Peter took his shoes off at the beach despite his mother warning him not to.

Bad Tempered Bessie can be described with one of many such sentences in her story:- "Bessie quite lost her temper and she flew at Tom, pinching hard and biting with her sharp little teeth."