The Enid Blyton Society
Noddy and Tessie Bear
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Book Details...

First edition: 1956
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Robert Lee
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 Lee



Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Robert Lee



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



Title page from the 1st edition
She once said that she liked "to take a child by the hand when he is three and walk with him all his childhood days".
Brian Doyle in Blyton and Biggles (1969)

There's a gale racing around Toy-Village and when Noddy opens his front door he's almost blown over. He tells the wind off naturally and thinks he'll be sneaky and leave by the back door instead but that idea is no good at all because the wind is waiting for him there as well. The Little Nodding Man starts cleaning his car because a taxi needs to be nice and shiny and with the wind tugging at his scarf and jingling the little bell on his hat Noddy starts feeling rather happy and excited. It never takes long for a tune to begin forming in his head and this time it's about the wind. Here's the first part -

Oh wind you're very rough today
You blow the clouds along
You puff my chimney smoke away
And sing a windy song ...

I think it scans rather well and further reinforces Noddy's poetical talent. Mr. Tubby Bear from next door often comes over to hear his neighbour's songs and whilst he's joining in on this one the wind blows Noddy's hat off and also Mrs. Tubby's washing right off of the line. They rush over to pick it up and Mr. Tubby accidentally pegs Noddy's hat on the line as well so that when the little man starts singing again and nods his head to make the bell ring, nothing happens. He can't understand why but Tessie Bear happens to come along and she notices the pegged-up hat and takes it down. Noddy thinks the wind somehow blew it away to the line and attached it there which shows that although hes very good at making up songs, he does lack a little something but perhaps whatever it is can be explained away by his innocence. Noddy sings his newest composition for Tessie and admires the new hat she's wearing which has poppies all round it and then, with the wind still blowing vigorously, he takes Tessie in his car to the market because she has some eggs to sell. Noddy won't accept any fare from her because she's his good friend however she presents him with an egg for his breakfast and I'm sure he'll enjoy that. They pick up a sailor doll on the way and he sings a rollicking little tune with Noddy and Tessie joining in as well on their way to Rimminy Row where the sailor lives. A ride in Noddy's taxi usually costs about sixpence but the generous sailor-doll gives him a shilling which is double the fare so that's very nice of him indeed and now it's off to the market. Tessie manages to sell her eggs very quickly and then they have a wander around and become interested in a kite at the Wobbly Woman's kite-stall. They decide to pool their money and buy it and then they set off to the farm where they'll have plenty of space to run around and let the strong wind take their purchase up into the sky. Mr. Straw, the farmer, gives them permission but first he would like them to collect the eggs, put them in a basket, and place them on the churn for the milkman to collect. Tessie runs off and does that whilst Noddy gets the kite ready then when she returns they launch it and with a whooooosh the wind grabs it and shoots it into the air as high as the clouds so they have to hold on to the string very tightly indeed. Just then they feel something pecking at their clothing and, looking down, they see hens all around them which shouldn't be the case because they're supposed to be in the hen-run. Oh no! Tessie's forgotten to shut the gate. They'll have to try and shoo the hens back into their run but first Noddy has to think about what to do with the kite.

"Noddy, you are very, very clever," says Tessie looking at him with such big round eyes that Noddy feels very proud. The reason for this is his brilliant idea. They can't hold the kite whilst they chase those peckity hens back into the run so Noddy decides to tie it to the heavy milk churn and with that taken care of they're free to deal with the bird side of things but those hens are very naughty and will not go where they're meant to. Now it's Tessie's turn to have an idea and she tells Noddy to shake his hat near the gate of the run so the little bell on it will jingle. He does that and the hens all rush over to see what the peculiar noise is whereupon Noddy is able to shoo them into the run and seal the exit.

The previous book in the series was 100% positive for Noddy because he had a wonderful time with Father Christmas but now it's back to the formula — something terrible has to happen. The next chapter is called, as a few Blyton chapters in other books have been called — 'A Horrid Shock' and that's exactly what it is because the wind tugs so hard at the kite that it pulls the churn and the basket of eggs right up into the air. What a calamity! Tessie's begins to cry because the farmer is bound to punish them severely but for the moment all they can do is to get into the car and try to follow the airborne churn with its crown of eggs as best they can.

Hurry, Noddy, hurry — and be careful of that little pond — there you nearly went into it. Keep your eyes in front and not up in the air-oh, hurry, Noddy, hurry.

Toy Village doesn't really need a National Enquirer-type newspaper to report on the strange happenings that day because what occurs — really does occur and many villagers witness it. Milk and eggs shower upon them from the sky and I'm not yolking. Mr. Monkey, Mr. Plod, Big-Ears, who happens to come by on his bike, and many others are affected on that historic day when the weather played up something awful. The toys are very frightened because when they look up into the sky all they can see is a kite very high up and something very tiny glittering below it. A reward of five pounds is offered to anyone who can explain what's happening and Big-Ears tears off to Noddy's house to see if he's all right but we know something that Big-Ears doesn't know. Mr. Straw arrives from his farm to report the theft of his churn and eggs and he adds ten shillings to the reward whilst Mr. Plod begins putting two and two together.

Meanwhile Noddy and Tessie Bear, who've been diligently following the kite with its load, see the basket fall and land in a clump of bracken. Good! Now how about the churn — yes, the string has at last broken and the heavy cannister falls down ... down ... right into the middle of a bush so they manage to retrieve that as well and now it's time to Face The Music. Noddy and Tessie have been drawn very close during this adventure and they feel for each other as they picture what's probably going to happen to their personal comfort and realise they'll probably have to pay for the missing milk and eggs as well. They arrive at the police station and a worried Big-Ears asks them if they know anything at all about the strange occurrence. Noddy and Tessie know quite a lot about it and they even find themselves giggling a little when they hear what's been happening and that there's a reward for information. Everything is explained to Mr. Plod and Big-Ears and on Page 57 there's a picture which illustrates precisely how Officialdom reacted to this tale of woe.

The end arrives with money, ice-creams, and a song — in that order.
Robert Lee is down as the illustrator and I think his pictures have a nice balance to them — a good example would be the one where Noddy and Tessie Bear discover the basket in the bracken. They are, as usual, very colourful and would be as good as any of those produced by the artists of the previous books.

Tessie Bear is niece to Mrs. Tubby who lives next door to Noddy and first appeared in the eighth of the series — Noddy gets into Trouble.

There are several farmers called Mr. Straw in the Enid Blyton stories.

Noddy really does seem to be getting better and better at his little tunes and the rhymes seem to have more of a lilt to them. Comparing him to a couple of poets mentioned in another book would not be easy because I don't think we were presented with any of their compositions but considering the characters of Cyril Longfield and his friend Benedict, I think their efforts may be a trifle more refined although not necessarily more gratifying (Six Cousins at Mistletoe Farm).