The Enid Blyton Society
Noddy and the Magic Rubber
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Book Details...

First edition: 1954
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall
Category: Noddy
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by Terry Gustafson

Reprints


Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Robert Tyndall



Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Peter Wienk



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



Title page from the 1st edition, signed by Robert Tyndall
"..and God created Noddy."
— Stephen Fry in I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue
Bert Monkey visits Noddy because he's in trouble having stolen a magic rubber from his Grandma's place — or at least his tail did. Granny gave him a well-stocked pencil-box when he visited her but there was no rubber in it and Bert's long and dexterous tail managed to find one lying around which it slipped into Bert's pocket. Bert then sold the pencil-case (including the rubber) to Sam Skittle which was unfortunate because Granny has discovered the rubber is missing and she wants it back or else Bert will be punished very severely every day for a month in the fashion generally sanctioned by Enid Blyton. Bert is desperate for Noddy's help to retrieve the rubber and he's made a wise choice because not only is the little wooden man a very obliging chap but he's also very mobile and with the help of a pile of money Bert persuades Noddy to take him to Skittle-Town. Off they go "Parp-Parping" at the various people they pass and then the horn keeps "Parping" even though there's no one to Parp to! Yes, it's that Blankety-Blank tail of Bert's wrapped around the hooter making it beep continuously. After that the tail endeavours to take over the steering wheel!
" ... that tail of yours. WILL you look after it?"
Into Skittle Town they drive knocking over a small boy as they speed along. That doesn't matter of course because the boy is a skittle and skittles just love being knocked over. They make for Sam's house and he sells the pencil-box back to Bert so that's all very good except for one thing — as Sam already has plenty of rubbers hes given the magic one, which he found in the pencil-box, to a kitten who lives at Toy-Cat Village. What a nuisance that is but kind Noddy, who is fully cognizant of the fact that Bert's grandma is waiting for him in the wings, heads away again. On arrival at Toy-Cat Village they find that Miss Harriet Kitten doesn't want to return the rubber but Noddy manages to change her stance by treating her to a lovely ride in his car. Everything should be all right now but that's not the case because this is a Noddy book and if things can go wrong, they will. It turns out that the rubber has fallen through Miss Kitten's pocket and this could easily happen because a magic rubber causes whatever it rubs to vanish. The movement of Miss Harriet Kitten's clothing in the general course of activity has been sufficient to shift the rubber back and forth along the lining which means that the cloth has been rubbed away.

"The rubber? Oh dear it's not here — it's rubbed a hole in my pocket and it must have fallen out!" ... and away goes Miss Kitten seemingly unconcerned. She's a good-looking female but deep down I feel she lacks compassion and a sense of responsibility.

The next thing to do is to put up a notice offering a reward of two ice-creams for the safe return of the elusive rubber. Whilst waiting for results Bert's tail causes mayhem again and then they have a stroke of luck — a Mr. Toy-Cat sees the notice and informs them that his friend who lives in Noah's Ark Town found the rubber and has taken it home with him. This means another trip for Noddy and Bert and what a place Noah's Ark Town is to visit — Arks everywhere and pairs of animals left, right and centre and lots of Noahs who all look alike. Nat and Shem Noah are approached and the news is once again bad — poor Noddy and Bert find they have to make yet another trip because Shem has given the magic-rubber away in return for an ice-cream but at least he knows the address of the recipient.

Now, it's back to Toy Town for the finale of this search but it's not easy pickings because whoever has the magic-rubber won't give it up and meantime it's being well-used with rather disastrous effects. There are threats, a squabble, and moments of hectic action before the conclusion and there's also rather an unpleasant surprise waiting for Bert when he discovers that Noddy has used Grandma's magic-rubber in a rather naughty way!
This Noddy book could quite fittingly be called "The Tail of Bert Monkey" because almost 40 of the pages contain some reference to it. Bert's tail is a nuisance and it gets up to all kinds of mischief including poking people in the eye, tickling their legs, and even tripping them up.

In Noddy Goes to Toyland there was a Noah's Ark in Toy Village and now it appears there's a whole Noah's Ark Town within the bounds.

This is the first story in the series where Big-Ears does not appear at all although he's included as per usual in the standard picture between the covers and the first and last pages.

I've always associated Noddy with Beek and presumed that the Dutch artist supplied pictures for all excepting perhaps the last two or three of the books in the main series so it was a surprise to see that, although there are plenty of the earlier one-off-type Noddy books drawn by him, he actually illustrated only the first seven of the series before others took over. Harmsen van der Beek left us in 1953.

Noddy ends the story with one of his longer poems and casting around for Enid Blyton poets who can lend their works for comparison, there aren't all that many. Mr. Ernest Goon has been eliminated out of necessity but there are others. Tuppeny, one of the Green Goblins, has a poetic tendency but his single effort can't really match the variety of songs and verses that Noddy trills.

I found a book called Knikkop In Die Moeilikheid, which is Double-Dutch to me, but Single-Dutch to anyone who lives in the Netherlands. It's the title of the previous book in the series — Noddy Gets into Trouble.