Noddy Goes to the Fair
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
the dwarf and a great many other toys.
(Who's Who in Children's Literature? ©1975)
Make of that what you may!
What a wind. Whoooosh — it gusts around Noddy as he goes to fetch his car from the garage. He opens the door and it blows shut almost trapping his hand and then along comes the Bumpy-Dog. He's a great friend although he does tend to cause mayhem when he jumps up at everyone and bumps them around. Bumpy jumps into the car just as Noddy's driving of to work and he won't leave despite being told to in no uncertain terms. Suddenly Noddy's cap is whisked off his head and he almost drives into Mr. Plod as he races after it. He makes up a little song about the wind as he speeds away from a very angry policeman and the cap eventually ends up in Mr. Jumbo's field where a rather belligerent goat resides — a creature that would more than likely butt Noddy over the hedge if he dared to set foot in his territory. Here's where the Bumpy-Dog proves to be useful for a change. A goat is terribly fast when it charges but a dog can be just as quick and a shade more agile and we can see what happens because there's a picture of Bumpy-Dog who has squeezed through a small hole in the hedge and grabbed hold of the cap. The goat runs at him with evil intent but Bumpy dodges aside and slips back through the hedge again. He returns the cap complete with its jingling bell and Noddy is so grateful that he lets the dog sit with him in the car all morning and this makes the Bumpy a very proud animal indeed — especially when he passes the other dogs that inhabit Toy Village.
Miss Fluffy-Cat hails the taxi and informs Noddy that a fair is being held in Farmer Straw's field so, after she's been delivered to wherever she wants to go, Noddy jumps out of the car leaving Bumpy in charge, and nips around the corner to look at a poster advertising the fair's attractions. When he sees what's on the programme Noddy decides he MUST go and he'll take his girl as well. Noddy's never been to a fair before so he looks forward to the roundabout and having a go at the cocoanut shy and perhaps a donkey-ride. When he runs back to his car he gets a shock — Mr. Plod is standing there with notebook in hand. Leaving an empty car on a dangerous corner of the road is not within the law according to Plod so the car will be locked up for a week! But, just a moment, the Bumpy-Dog was occupying the car so it wasn't empty. Yes, he was certainly in it but when he saw the policeman bearing down he jumped out and made off as fast as his legs could carry him.
Noddy has a dilemma. He wants to go to the fair with Tessie Bear therefore his car mustn't be locked up. The wind joins in and appears to be on Noddy's side because it tugs at Mr. Plod's helmet and rips it off his head. Noddy manages to hold onto his own hat but there's Plod's helmet bouncing and rolling along the road with the policeman chasing it. Noddy gets into his car and drives off to Tessie's place to invite her to the fair and says he'll call for her at 2 o'clock then away he goes to earn some more money. He picks up lots of passengers and his purse becomes quite full — yes, it'll be roundabouts and swings and donkey-rides and cocoanuts and toffee this afternoon. Driving home to have an egg for his dinner he's cut short. Mr. Plod has taken the trouble to go all the way to the House-for-One and now he's waiting there for Noddy to return. Noddy turns around at once and, ignoring Mr. Plod's shouts, he speeds away and grabs a sandwich from a shop before driving to Tessie's place where she's waiting at the gate for him and looking very attractive in a blue skirt and a hat with daisies round it. The head-piece is well-admired because young ladies like being complemented on their clothes or their beauty — however, Noddy goes one step further by expressing his thoughts in song —
"Oh, little Tessie BearHow does he do it? I haven't got Noddy's gift of finding the appropriate word to rhyme with "bonnet." All I could think of was "sonnet" but Noddy, very cleverly, used two words.
Has such a pretty bonnet,
It looks just like a garden
With daisies growing on it!"
They reach the fair in Farmer Straw's field and now there are two things to do:
1. Have a jolly good time
2. Keep a good look-out for Mr. Plod because they must avoid him at any cost.
First they try the roundabout and there's a picture of Tessie on a dog and Noddy about to mount the giraffe in front. What a wonderful ride they have. Noddy is so full of elation that he immediately composes a song in which he names the different animals that are whirling round and round. They're both a little giddy by the time they come to a stop and when they get off it's Bumping and Licking Time! Yes, here's the Bumpy-Dog again showing how he appreciates them both but I don't think they want to be appreciated all that much. Just then something happens — that terrible wind blows Tessie Bear's lovely hat right off her head and she cries out, but look who's coming to aid the fair lady in distress — yes, it's the Bumpy-Dog! He's after that hat in a trice and catches it easily. Tessie is very pleased and she gives him a penny so that he can buy himself a bun but unfortunately, like all the dogs in Enid Blyton books, it's —
One Bun,Not good enough. The Bumpy-Dog wants more so he formulates an excellent idea — he'll chase hats all over the field and earn a penny a time and with the wind as his co-partner that's exactly what he does. The temporarily hatless people are very grateful and the pennies roll in.
"Swing-swong,That's Noddy enjoying himself with Tessie on the swings. Sailing high into the air and gazing out over the field he spots Mr. Monkey, and Sally Skittle with her children and the Wobbly-Man and —
And-to and fro ..."
"Good Gracious! Don't tell me!"
Yes! It's Mr. Plod entering through the gate but that Upholder of the Law seems to have gotten very much on the wrong side of the wind today because, once again, his helmet is blown off and it rolls into a crowd of fair-goers. Bumpy-Dog as the Official Hat Gatherer gives chase, and catches it but he must look upon a helmet as not being a hat per-se so he disappears elsewhere instead of returning it to the rightful owner. Noddy and Tessie jump off the swings and hide amongst some people who are watching the children having donkey-rides. One dear little donkey leaves its master and gallops over to Noddy, braying madly —
Am I mistaken or could this be the donkey belonging to an old friend? The answer is "Yes!" It's none other than "Ee-Aw" whom we all met in the last adventure that Noddy endured when his car was laid up and look, there's the donkey's owner — the Saucepan Man, looking like I've never seen him before but it's definitely him. Dear old Saucepan Man all hung about with pots and pans and kettles which he sells to various customers. They greet him and Noddy's given a hug by another of his good friends — Big-Ears, who's also enjoying the fun of the fair. Noddy wants a donkey ride of course but he finds that a hole in his pocket has made him broke. All his pennies are gone but he gets his wish because Saucepan is his friend and so is Ee-aw. Ee-aw loves him and wants to give him a ride for nothing so Noddy and Tessie both climb on and away they go — gallivanting round the field without a care in the world (except for Mr. Plod). Song please, Noddy —
"Gallop-a-gallopThey finish their ride and then Noddy uses his loaf to get more funds — he asks the Bumpy-Dog for some pennies. Bumpy's got a mouthful which he's earned from his hat-retrieval business and he's only too happy to oblige. Now Noddy's solvent again — look, there are the Skittle children all in tears. Noddy, who wants all people to be happy (don't know if this sentiment extends to Mr. Plod) enquires as to their plight and finds they have no money. There are so many of them that 12 pennies doesn't go very far at all. What to do? Tessie suddenly whispers something in Noddy's ear and he passes it on to the skittles. Why not line themselves up and charge people a penny a go at trying to knock them over? What a great idea. Mrs. Skittle borrows a ball from a Teddy Bear and, like the Bumpy-Dog, they go into business and it's not long at all before they have enough money to visit all the various attractions.
We're off and away
On a dear little donkey
Hip hip hurray ..."
Next, Noddy and Tessie visit the cocoanut shy and make a curious discovery. One of the cocoanuts has Mr. Plod's face painted on it and is wearing the policeman's helmet! What a surprise that is and Noddy feels he'd like to have a go at knocking the helmet off of that particular cocoanut and wouldn't we all? He proves to be a good shot because he succeeds and wins a cocoanut, but not the one sporting the helmet — that one's making so much money for the proprietor that he wants to keep it there. Suddenly Big-Ears comes up with some bad news for Noddy. Mr. Plod has found his car and removed the steering wheel so that he can't drive it away.
If you offered Noddy a thousand pounds he would not condone such an action. To take the steering wheel off his precious car is ... well ... I ... I ... I'm speechless! Noddy is FURIOUS. He voices all kinds of threats and then he searches out the policeman who dared to interfere with his automobile ... watch out Mr. Plod, Noddy's coming!
Mr. Plod has just mounted an elephant on the roundabout for a little relaxation in the line of duty. There is no one riding the other animals because the roundabout man is giving The Law a free ride all to itself.
"My wheel, my WHEEL! How can I get it?" cries Noddy. Tessie Bear has never seen him so angry before.
Noddy has an idea. He darts to the roundabout man and offers him all his pennies if he'll give Mr. Plod the longest ride ever. Well, the man is quite easy about this suggestion — in fact he's hungry and wants to get himself a sandwich so Noddy can work the roundabout himself whilst he's away.
It looks as if Revenge is going to be very sweet indeed!
Big-Ears stares and Tessie gives a little giggle as the roundabout starts moving round and round and round and round with Mr. Plod enjoying himself very much indeed but then he starts feeling a little giddy because the roundabout is turning faster and faster and faster! It's fairly whizzing around with Mr. Plod clutching at the elephant's ears for all he's worth. How can he do that when he's holding a steering wheel under his arm? He can't, so it flies off and lies at the elephant's feet. The policeman's protestations fall on deaf ears as he tries to keep his balance —
"STOP! STOP THIS ROUNDABOUT AT ONCE!"
He then falls off and holds onto the elephant's leg Noddy slows the ride down and, still in a really fierce mood, he jumps on to confront the policeman and demand his wheel. Mr. Plod grabs it and refuses to oblige — instead he threatens Noddy and his car with prison if the roundabout isn't stopped. Noddy won't turn it off but it stops all the same because the roundabout man has returned and taken charge. A very woozy Mr. Plod manages to stagger off and Big-Ears reprimands Noddy because it's not really the done thing to treat a policeman that way. However, the Little Nodding Man is still in a fury over his hijacked steering-wheel and then Tessie Bear, that young lady who is never short of constructive ideas, suddenly approaches Mr. Plod and whispers something into his ear. He nods and agrees to hand over the wheel if ... "
Tessie helps him up from the ground and leads him over to the cocoanut shy where the helmet is still perched on top of its cocoanut. Now it's Mr. Plod's turn to lose his cool and he gives a very good example of FURY personified. He drops the steering-wheel and roars out —
"WHO PUT THAT THERE, WHO DREW MY FACE ON THAT COCOANUT?"
There's only one thing to do to ensure survival in a case like this —
... and that's exactly what everyone does. The cocoanut shy man, Noddy, Tessie (carrying the precious steering wheel), Big-Ears on his bicycle, the Saucepan Man on his donkey, The Skittles, Bumpy-Dog, and the rest all run for their lives. Noddy fits the steering wheel onto his car and then, in true Noddy fashion, he cheers up, forgets his recent misery, and sets off once again with Tessie Bear and Bumpy-Dog. It's been an interesting day with lots of new experiences —
"I've still got some pennies. We'll buy some jam tarts and sugar biscuits and go to my little House-For-One for tea." Noddy is happy again and he naturally expresses his contentment through one of his marvellous songs —
"Oh, now we are happy,
As happy can be,
For we're driving home
To a wonderful tea ..."
Once again the illustrator is down as Robert Tyndall.
Noddy did a bit of "gallivanting" around the field on Ee-Aw the donkey. I put "galloping" originally but it had to be changed because "gallivanting" is one of Noddy's favourite words.
The Saucepan Man is well known to Blyton Enthusiasts as a character in the "Faraway Tree" books. He originally came from the Land of the Saucepan Man and lives in Saucepan Cottage somewhere near Toadstool Town when he's not travelling around selling pots and pans, or visiting his great friend — Mr. Watzisname. I don't think he owned a donkey way back when the Faraway Tree books were written so he probably acquired it when his stock of pots and pans increased.
Circa 1951 — Enid Blyton produced "The Mystery of the Vanished Prince," a book containing a number of hilarious moments. One has been more-or-less repeated in "Noddy Goes to the Fair" and that's the incident of Mr. Plod on the roundabout. In "Vanished Prince" we had the village policeman also caught up on a roundabout that's whizzing around just like the one on which Mr. Plod was unfortunately trapped. In the former case, the policeman was astride a tiger rather than an elephant and when the ride slowed down the exhausted Officer of the Law displayed much the same reaction as Mr. Plod did when his ride ended.
Brer Bull-Frog isn't the only "Brer" who had a go at composing verse. Brer Rabbit himself likes to sing little songs and he's had lots of practice but I think Noddy injects a little more enthusiasm into his efforts and he's also a little more consistent as far as scanning goes. Here's an example of a Brer Rabbit jingle —
"Ti-yi! Tungalees!Not quite the plain English that Noddy uses in his own compositions.
I'll eat his peas, I'll pick his peas!
I'll get each pod and give it a squeeze,
Ti-yi! What juicy peas."