Noddy Has an Adventure
First edition: 1958
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall
On This Page...
Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall
Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall
Front and back flaps from the dustwrapper of the 1st edition
Title page from the 1st edition
To see the characters of Noddy in Toyland on the stage of the Princes TheatreEvery now and again it's nice to tear oneself away from the trials and tribulations of life and enter, for a while, the relatively calm and cosy atmosphere of Toy Village where Noddy lives. Let's immerse ourselves for a moment or two — there's Noddy asleep in his bed with the milkman calling out, "Milko!" I'm not quite sure if I'd like to be woken up so abruptly of a morning but perhaps the inhabitants of Toyland haven't yet got around to using milk-tokens. Noddy usually greets the milkman but not today I'm afraid because last night he was so tired from working that he fell asleep in a chair after his supper! The jingling bell on his hat woke him up a little later and he had jumped wearily into bed and snuggled down whilst reciting a poem all about how he would dream of "old Big-Ears" and "dear Tessie Bear." The milkman can't rouse him and goes on his way and then Noddy's friend, Big-Ears the brownie, arrives in a hurry because he has a question to ask. He bangs on the door and wakes the Little Nodding Man —
will delight many children as much as the sight of Father Christmas at Selfridges
and it is surprising that Miss Blyton did not introduce him too for spectacle
has already swamped her plot. (The Times, Dec. 23rd, 1955)
"Did you play a trick on me last night?"
Well, we know Noddy didn't because he was fast asleep but Big-Ears relates how, when he was in bed, he'd heard an automobile come up the woodland path to his front door where it stopped and stayed for a while and he heard it go "Parp-Parp" just like Noddy's car.
I'll tell you "What!" When Big-Ears emerged from his house this morning he found that all his pegged-up washing had been stolen and, going on the circumstantial evidence, it seems to him that Noddy might be responsible!
Noddy's a little miffed by Big-Ears accusatory tone and tells him to go. Without another word, the brownie does — but there's an "atmosphere."
What a busy day it is for little Noddy. He drives the clockwork mouse to the market and because his tail gets in the way (Noddy thinks tails are a nuisance) he sings the mouse a song all about those appendages that mice and other animals possess. It's not bad at all because Noddy is quite a master at making up poems and songs but the clockwork-mouse finds it a little silly (he's sensitive about his tail) and hesitates before paying his fare. Yes, mousey is a bit touchy today.
"Hallo, here's someone else who wants to hire my car. Good morning Mrs. Noah. How are all the animals?"
Mrs. Noah informs him that they're fine except that an elephant who quarrelled with the lions wants to pack his trunk and go. An old joke maybe but Noddy thinks he'll tell it to Big Ears when he sees him and he wonders if his brownie friend has located his missing laundry.
Katie Kitten, just back from a visit to her Auntie Furry, is his next passenger and she laps up all the news from Noddy. "Mickey Monkey was caught taking apples from the farmer's tree" and "Someone took Big-Ears' washing off the line last night ..." — he drops Katie off at her house and them decides to visit Big-Ears but he's gone out which is a pity because they could have had tea together. He drives home to his "House-for-One" and that title takes us back to when Noddy began living in Toyland. He built his own house from a box of bricks that was labelled "House for One" which he obtained from a great big shed which stocked all kinds of kit-sets for building houses and shops and even castles.
The mysterious thief is still around because next morning Mr. Plod the policeman informs Noddy that Mr. Big-Bear has lost all the flowers from his garden and the interesting fact is that Mr. Big-Bear had heard a "parp-parp" from a car just as Big-Ears had. Noddy starts to flare up when the policeman looks suspicious but he tells Mr. Plod that he wasn't out last night. His car gets a little irked as well and sounds a few "PARP-PARPS" as if to back up its cherished owner. Then there's an interruption in the form of the Bumpy-Dog that suddenly runs up and jumps at Noddy who sits down with a bump. Noddy tells it that Mr. Plod is the one to knock down, not him, so Bumpy knocks the policeman over and runs back to his friend. Mr. Plod threatens to lock the creature up so Noddy takes the opportunity to whisper in the dog's ear —
"Chase Mr. Plod away, Bumpy, please!"
As Mr. Plod picks himself up the dog barks and chases him off. That's how things get done in Toy Village and now here comes one of Noddy's very good friends — namely Tessie Bear, whom Noddy invites in for lemonade and a bun and a good old chat. The picture shows them at it with the bright-eyed Bumpy Dog sitting there — tongue hanging out. They discuss the recent happenings concerning the car which sounds very much like Noddy's and with a few interruptions from that extremely active Bumpy-Dog who's finally banished from the house, Tessie-Bear invites Noddy to stay at her place that evening. The plan is that if anything happens involving a "parp-parp" noise they'll be able to prove that it wasn't Noddy in his car. Bumpy is called in and told he must guard the place while it's empty and that makes the dog so excited, it has to run about "woofing" and licking Tessie and trying to lick Noddy who flaps him away with a cushion. Noddy takes Tessie to the shops and then continues on picking up passengers who complain quite loudly because the Bumpy-Dog is also sitting in the car and he can be quite a nuisance —
"Licking my head all over!" complains Sally Skittle. Sally's the mother of those incorrigible skittle kids who made their presence felt quite markedly in a book further back in the series.
That evening Noddy drives home, garages his car, and prepares to go to Tessie's place. The Bumpy Dog is left with a good meal and a bone ... well at least he's left with the bone because he gobbles the meal down as soon as the dish touches the floor. Noddy spends a very pleasant evening playing snap with his friend Tessie and her aunt and uncle. I doubt that the relatives are Mr. & Mrs. Tubby Bear who live next door to Noddy so I guess that Tessie has more than one aunt and uncle in Toy Village. Uncle Bear wins the game and then tells Noddy all about three relations of his whose home was once visited by a naughty little girl. Apparently the child had broken one of their chairs, eaten some of their porridge, and even gone to sleep in one of the beds upstairs! What would you say about that? Noddy is quite shocked and concludes that a very badly behaved little girl exists somewhere in this world. Soon it's time for bed — Noddy and Tessie are both very tired and, as it would not seem quite proper for them to curl up together as often happens when Noddy stays with Big-Ears, he's shown to a room where there's a nice little bed which he has all to himself. He thinks it's fun to sleep in someone else's house every now and again.
The news brought in by Tessie next morning is that another robbery has occurred! All Mr. Golly's ripe plums have gone but NOBODY can say it was Noddy playing a trick can they? When he returns home he finds visitors — Big-Ears, Mr. Plod, the Tubby Bears from next door, and Mr. Golly. Once again suspicion falls on Noddy but, as we know, he was away and his car was in the garage — and he tells them so. There seems a certain absence of loyalty and respect for the integrity of citizens who possess proven good character in Toy-Village. Mr. Plod is actually surprised that Noddy has an alibi but Big-Ears is fairly loyal to the little chap — he'd just thought that Noddy had taken his washing to play a trick on him. Bumpy-Dog is let out of the house — not a very wise thing to do because he immediately bumps into everyone and they all fall down like ninepins. Licking everyone and thumping his tail he thinks he's endearing himself to them all but Mr. Plod asserts himself —
"GO HOME TO TESSIE BEAR YOU RUDE, ROUGH DOG!"
That sounds very much like a command and it's so loud and abrupt that the Bumpy-Dog turns tail and flees ... fleas and all. Noddy offers Big-Ears a ride home but when they open the garage door a very muddy car is discovered with some string tied very tightly around the hooter so that only a very small "parp-parp" can be emitted. The reasoning is thus — the thief has a key to the garage (Noddy lost one of his two keys just a week ago) and comes each night to use the car in his activities — why, there's even a plum lying inside and as it was raining last night the car is all muddy. The Enid Blyton collection has its fair share of mystery-solving characters and I think that Noddy and Big-Ears' sights must be set on joining that elite group because they've figured everything out EXCEPT of course, who the culprit is. They could wait outside, hidden behind a post-box supposes Big-Ears but there are none in the vicinity and then Noddy proves that he's not just a pretty face because he has a great idea — they can make a couple of mail-boxes from some stiff paper, use dustbin lids for the tops, and coat them with red-paint. Now there's "Executive Material." They set to work and produce a couple of realistic letter-boxes and an added idea (by Noddy again) is to borrow Bumpy-Dog and have him sleep in the car that night.
The plans and the props have been readied and Noddy drives away to ply his trade whilst Big-Ears goes shopping for cakes, a jam sandwich and a box of chocolates — he wants to make a fuss of Noddy for doubting his honesty earlier on. After a lovely evening meal they play a few hands of Happy Families, or Poker, or something until the hour approaches and then Big-Ears slips away to collect the hound. Bumpy, with all his bumpiness arrives and to make him sit still Noddy sings a little song to him — all about Bumpy himself. The conclusion of this 17th book in the series reveals how Noddy and Big-Ears in their letter-box disguises endure moments of tension when Mr. Plod passes by — completely unaware that he is being watched, and then, of course, when the main event begins. With a lot of woofing (from Bumpy) and jingling (from Noddy's bell at the top of his hat) a very frightened intruder is chased and apprehended after a very pantomimic moonlit sequence which involves Mr. Plod, the two "letter-boxes," the Bumpy Dog and a very nonplussed Mr. Tubby Bear who passes by on his way home from a party. Bumpy-Dog ends up playing the real hero because he's faster and more nimble than the rest.
The tale finally ends with Mr. Plod taking away the prisoner and the Bumpy-Dog being returned to Tessie Bear which gives Noddy and Big-Ears an excuse to be served cocoa and chocolate biscuits — and doesn't Tessie look charming in her dressing-gown? She hears all that has happened and then it's time to round everything off with something we all look forward to at the end of a Noddy tale — a song by the one-and-only and this time it's a repeat of the tune he made up about the Bumpy-Dog —
Everyone yelled the last line at the top of their voices, and the Bumpy-Dog leapt at Noddy in delight. You can guess what Noddy said, I expect.
"Oh, DON'T, Bumpy-Dog! DON'T!"
Some nice pictures by Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall.
"Snap" is a game of cards.
Mr. Plod didn't seem to notice anything suspicious about two similar letter-boxes in close proximity to each other but sometimes there are separate boxes for surface and air-mail although I think they're usually side by side.
Question: Why didn't Noddy and Big-Ears get out of their restricting letter-box disguises before taking part in the chase?
Mr. Tubby Bear had been to a party. All he has on is what looks like a pair of bathing trunks and a tie. Furthermore, his wife wasn't with him, so it may have been one of those parties that "Break with Tradition!"
I don't think you'd ever see such clues as to "Who Done It?" on the dust-wrapper of an Agatha Christie or Raymond Chandler novel — but they're on this one.