Cheer Up, Little Noddy!
First edition: 1960
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Robert Tyndall
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Robert Tyndall
On This Page...
Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Robert Tyndall
Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Robert Tyndall
Front and back flaps from the dustwrapper of the 1st edition
Title page from the 1st edition
to produce stories about NODDY, her most celebrated (and notorious) creation.
(Oxford Companion to Children's Literature — 1984)
Little Tubby Bear next door once again shows his aberrant nature and this time he has a helper in the form of his cousin who's also a bit of an urchin. They pop their heads over the wall and see Noddy singing very happily whilst washing his automobile. Noddy cleans his car quite a bit because it's a taxi and taxis need to look spick and span. He finishes his chore and the bruin boys ask if they can have a sit in it because Tommy Bear who is Tubby Bear's cousin simply loves autos. Going on Tubby Bear's past record, I wouldn't trust him and there's always the chance that his cousin is as mischievous as he is but Noddy's an "Innocent" and always thinks the best of people, so he gives permission. Tommy Bear proudly tells them that he can drive a car and when he jumps into the driver's seat he parps the horn loudly and this annoys Noddy who has gone into his little house. He yells for them to get out but Tommy Bear is quite carried away and then he has a naughty thought — he'll drive just a little way along the road. He starts the engine and eases the surprised car out onto the street where it moves slowly off, gains speed, and then races away as fast as it can go with the horn parping madly as the car expresses its fury at being commandeered. Noddy is shocked and he tears out of his house to give chase but the car is gone and in no time at all it appears in the High Street with the horn still parping away on the very angry vehicle. Mr. Plod, the village policeman, almost gets run over as he jumps aside and falls over with a bump.
"That wasn't Noddy driving — who was it? Wait till I get hold of him, there'll be a very hard spanking for SOMEBODY!"
Noddy has plans of retribution as well ...
"How DARE they? I'll smack them! I'll pull their noses! I'll tread on their toes! Well, maybe not but I'll report them to Mr. Plod!"
He sets off but on the way he meets Big-Ears his brownie friend who has news of a car-accident. A car-accident? You've guessed of course that it involves Noddy's pride and joy. The two little bears have crashed into a tree near Big-Ears' house and now Noddy's precious car is wrecked. The perpetrators were unhurt so they were able to jump out and run away. Poor old Noddy, he really doesn't deserve all these jolts that his creator throws at him because he's a merry little fellow who just wants to sing and whistle and love everybody.
First port of call is, of course, the garage where kind Mr. Golly assures them he'll collect the wrecked vehicle and work on it. What a mess it's in. Noddy cries when he sees the smashed front part, broken lamps, and a wheel almost off. This chapter is called "Everyone is kind to Noddy" and he certainly needs some cheering up so Big-Ears makes him some hot cocoa and brings out the fruit cake, and Whiskers his cat sits on Noddy's knee and rubs his big soft head against him. Big-Ears is a very good friend to Noddy and has often come up with solutions to unexpected tragedies. Once more he offers some advice — Noddy could barrow a borrow ... morrow a borrow ... sorry — borrow a marrow. Well, anyway, whilst his car is indisposed, Noddy can cart peoples' shopping around for them in a ... borrowed barrow, and he could also buy flowers and fruit cheaply at the market and sell them at a profit. No doubt about it, Big-Ears is a fellow with ideas — I wonder what he does for a living. Perhaps he's retired because he's over a hundred!
Noddy cheers up considerably and on his return to Toyland Village everyone expresses their concern for him. Mr. Tubby Bear is only too happy to lend him his barrow to cart stuff around in for customers. One of the car thieves in the form of little Tubby Bear has returned home and been well spanked. His partner in crime has made himself scarce so "Justice" is waiting for him to show his face. Mr. Tubby will naturally help to pay for the damage to the car and I suppose Tommy Bear's parents should foot the rest of the bill. Young Tubby Bear is also going to contribute cash from his money-box so that's something and Mrs. Tubby will do all Noddy's washing and mending for him. Noddy's girlfriend arrives to offer condolences. I think Tessie Bear can be called Noddy's girlfriend at this late stage in the series because she's been a faithful friend to the Little Nodding Man for quite a while now and they really get on well with each other. Tessie hugs Noddy, and her pet dog, who is up there with the best of them when it comes to annoying people, rushes up to lick him so much that Noddy's fairly dripping!
"BUMPY! Go outside."
Tessie's brought him some toffee. Miss Fluffy-Cat sends him a meat-pie. The little Skittle children are sent along with a pile of jam-tarts — the Bumpy Dog (Tessie's pet) eats seven before they reach their destination. The Wobbly-Man (remember him?) wobbles along with a box of chocolates for our little friend although that curse of a Bumpy-Dog jumps up and makes him drop them all. However, the errant creature is chased off with a stick so he races home and retires to his kennel. In the picture I can see he's got a bone and what looks like a few dog bikkies so he's quite well catered to and he doesn't need to roam around bumping into people and stealing their treats.
Noddy begins his new haulage service and it's very productive because so many people want things carted here and there. It's very hard work but he sticks at it and even forfeits having an ice-cream with Tessie Bear when she meets him in the village, because he has a lot of shopping to take home for Mrs. Skittle. Next day there are three barrow-loads of food to take to the Ark where two of every animal on earth are housed — in theory! Noddy progresses to a hand-cart because it's easier to pull around. There's no doubt about it, Noddy is an inspiration to us all as he ... quote —
"Panted and puffed ... pulled the cart about all day ... fetching shopping and posting parcels ... collecting washing." He baulks at nothing, even at picking up a large box of tea crockery from the station for his friend Big-Ears. What a big box it is but Noddy pants and puffs his way along the woodland path to Big-Ears' house with his cargo. In a way it's "cargo" to make his "car go" (with the money he receives for his labour). There will be a very big bill for the car repairs so Noddy keeps going and when he reaches Big Ears' place he is SO tired that he can't even manage tea and scones. The hapless little man simply falls into the armchair and sleeps very deeply.
Big-Ears reflects on the situation. It wasn't Noddy's fault that his car is now out of action — it should really be those naughty little bears doing all the hard work to pay for the repairs, not Noddy. That cart is really too heavy for all the lugging around he has to do — a horse would be better but where would one get hold of such an animal?
Away in the distance he hears a voice singing a little song and he recognises it as that of an old friend who is coming to the door. He opens up to an extraordinary-looking, character who is hung all over his body with saucepans and kettles and pots. He sells them for a living and this is how he carries his wares. He's accompanied by a dear little donkey which is also hung round with pots and pans. Clankety, Clankety, Clank — what a noise. The visitor is known as the "Saucepan-Man." Big-Ears invites him in for tea and hot scones and to demonstrate how tired poor little Noddy is, it can be put on record that he is not disturbed at all by the great jingling and clattering noise of the Saucepan-Man and his donkey. It turns out that Saucepan, as he is often called, is off to visit his aunt Kate who lives overseas and he wants Big-Ears to look after his donkey. Now, that sounds rather convenient if one thinks beyond the pail. Of course Big-Ears can't keep the animal — he's got nowhere to put it (Noddy has a garage). Saucepan is annoyed and walks out of the door in a bit of a huff to look for someone else to board the donkey (Repeat: Noddy has a garage). A Grand Idea suddenly springs upon Big-Ears and he rushes out after the saucepan-Man —
"Come back. My friend Noddy will keep him for you. COME BACK!"
Well, it's all arranged for the still-sleeping Noddy and Saucepan heads off for his "train" (he gets a little mixed up does the Saucepan Man)! Noddy awakens and hears the news. He thinks he must be dreaming — what a wonderful surprise. A donkey is just what he wants and in his enthusiasm he asks Big-Ears if he can bring him into the house but his friend is a sensible brownie and says there wouldn't be much left of the place if a donkey "gallivanted" round it! Now that's a great word — Noddy doesn't know what it means but he falls in love with "gallivant." I gallivant. He gallivants. She's gallivanting. He gallivanted — it's pretty easy to figure out what it means and Noddy does. He's so happy, and after some tea he gets on the donkey and gallivants down to Toyland Village with the cart in tow and singing a merry song as they trot down the street —
"Oh, I've a little donkeyThe donkey is a great success and everyone makes a fuss of it. They come to pat it and tell Noddy they'll bring him plenty of things to be delivered and Tessie Bear even buys "Ee-Aw" a carrot (Ee-Aw is the donkey's name). She has to prevent it from eating the flowers on her hat though — Tessie-Bear likes wearing hats with flowers all round them. Noddy goes home with Ee-Aw and, after a little episode whereby the donkey invades his house and breaks a chair when it tries sitting in it, an understanding is made that the garage is the place for such an animal.
That gallivants along
I know he's rather little,
But he's very, VERY strong! ..."
Next day is a busy one as if we didn't know. There are goods to be delivered everywhere and Noddy, on his donkey, gallivants all over the place shopping for various individuals and hauling around parcels and sacks. There's an interlude and usually the Bumpy-Dog is the star of interludes as he is in this one. He appears on the scene and runs after the donkey which gallops away with goods spilling out all over the place and poor Noddy trying to hold on. Mr. Plod has a long history of being knocked off his feet and landing with a thump in the middle of the road and, although this could be explained by the fact that he's often directing traffic, in this case it's that Bumpy-Dog again who is the cause of consternation. A mad donkey, a mad dog and a mad hand-cart race by and there's the policeman sitting in the dust and threatening prison for Noddy who's a blur in the distance. The blur in the distance returns though, leading a rather chastened donkey —
"What's the good of me trying to help everybody? My donkey ran away. Bumpy-Dog went mad, and my little cart's gone, and all my parcels. Arrest the Bumpy-Dog and put him in prison."
Noddy's so angry that Mr. Plod is knocked a little off balance and tries to calm him down —
"Now, now. Calm yourself, Noddy. I can see it wasn't your fault that I was knocked down."
The villagers have picked up all the spilt goods and returned them to Noddy who decides that in future, Ee-Aw will carry the goods on his back and he'll walk beside. Meanwhile, where is that Bumpy-Dog? He really is the limit but this is Toyland and such rules as leashes and muzzles and other such rules don't really apply — at least, not yet. Bumpy suddenly appears — looking very sad and sorry as dogs can do. He sits up and begs forgiveness, looking so unhappy that kind-hearted Noddy just has to forgive him and that, of course, earns him another thousand licks.
What a life!
The next few days are busy ones and things are going quite well with Noddy's car experiencing the last few hours of recuperation in the car-hospital. There's almost enough money in the kitty now to pay the repair-bill and then suddenly, the Saucepan-Man returns! He was on his way over the ocean but he became seasick so he had to turn back and now he wants to reclaim Ee-Aw! The donkey is thrilled to see him and Saucepan hugs him, then they set off up the street together and out of Noddy's life. Oh No! Once again, Noddy has no transport. What will he do NOW? How will he cope?
There's a simple answer and the reader can rack the old brains and come up with a suitable conclusion.
The pictures in this book are by Robert Tyndall.
In the very well-known "Winnie-The-Pooh" books by A. A. Milne (he's always known as A. A.) there's a donkey called "Eeyore" so the name of Saucepan's donkey may have been copied a little but, why not? "Eeyore" or "Ee-Aw" or anything similar is probably a reasonable name for any donkey.
Noddy earned about as much money as he needed for the repairs to his car but he shouldn't have had to and one can only hope that the parents of young Tubby and Tommy Bear stumped up half each or whatever because it's not right that Noddy should have had to do all that extra work for something that wasn't his fault.
Curiously, as far as I can see, nothing is heard of Tommy Bear again so whether he returned home is anyone's guess. I think he's one of those characters in stories that suddenly disappear and are never heard of again.
How could Saucepan "turn back?" He became sea-sick and turned back! Unless he was the Master of the ship, it's hardly likely he could simply turn around and come home.
To someone who is not all that familiar with Enid Blyton books, the Saucepan Man may be just another of the characters that inhabit Toy-Village. Not so! The Saucepan Man stars in another series of books all about an enormous tree that grows in an enchanted forest. The tree itself is called the "Faraway Tree" and little folk live amongst the branches and in small houses carved out of the great trunk. The Saucepan-Man, who spends most of his time on the road, tends to hang around the Faraway Tree during his leisure hours and is often to be found with Mister Watzisname who is one of the inhabitants of the magic tree. It's quite an honour to have such a Personage visiting the pages of a Noddy Book and many might regard Saucepan's fame as rivalling that of the Little Nodding Man himself. I doubt if that's possible though because Noddy is "Fabulously Famous" but, make no bones about it — in his own right, the Saucepan-Man has earned his place in Enid Blyton Folk Lore and fans of the Faraway Tree might regard him as one of the most popular characters around.