Noddy and the Aeroplane
First edition: 1963
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Peter Wienk
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Peter Wienk
On This Page...
Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Peter Wienk
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
(Enid Blyton in The Story Of My Life)
ONCE AGAIN, it's that annoying little Tubby Bear who lives next door to Noddy that causes all the trouble. He pokes his head over the wall when Noddy arrives home after a very tiring day and it's not unusual for Noddy to be exhausted in the evenings because he's a very industrious little chap. He greets little Tubby Bear and enquires as to how many spankings he's had that day which acknowledges the fact that the bear has been very naughty lately. Tubby, who was called Bruiny for a while, offers to clean Noddy's car for him. Noddy's almost saintly acceptance of characters who have time and again proved their untrustworthiness will surely earn him many good marks in Father Time's Pattern Book — and now, once again, he is prepared to trust the little bear. Just then the Bumpy-Dog appears and, following normal procedure, he jumps up at Noddy and knocks him to the ground. He belongs to Noddy's friend, Tessie Bear, but she must have a hole in her fence or perhaps she leaves the gate open because Bumpy wanders at will around the streets and more often than not he descends on Noddy because he loves him so. Noddy leaves Bumpy with little Tubby and goes indoors for a nice hot cuppa. Hallo! Here's Tessie Bear so perhaps she was walking her dog. She follows Noddy in and makes tea for the tired little fellow and produces a ginger cake which she has brought with her. She's not quite as trusting as Noddy and shows surprise at the thought of little Tubby Bear being allowed to clean the car. Their supper of tea, ginger cake, and toast is interrupted by the Bumpy-Dog jumping through the window and leaping at Noddy who drops his toast — butter-side down! The dog is acting very animatedly as dogs often do. Noddy opens the door and there's little Tubby who has finished the car and wants them to view it. Well ... the car is shining and gleaming and glinting. A wonderful job it appears so the bear is invited in for some ginger-cake. Then he states that he doesn't want any reward for his work but he wouldn't mind having a little drive all by himself!
My big toe!
"Only down the road and back."
My other big toe!
The (almost) ever-trusting Noddy is learning and good for him because he refuses the request. He'll give little Tubby Bear a free ride now and again but he can't allow him to drive the car. If one thinks back one could remember an episode where little Tubby with Tommy his cousin went on a spree in Noddy's car and ended up smashing it almost beyond recognition. Tubby is a little sad but he asks Noddy to make up a song about him whilst he eats his fourth slice of ginger-cake and Noddy is more than happy to oblige before the bear trots off home. Tessie thinks she'd better go as well and she refuses the offer of a ride because Bumpy-Dog needs a walk. The magic word "walk" sends dogs into paroxysms and Bumpy is no exception so he leaps over the table and almost knocks over a teapot before setting off home with Tessie. When she has gone, Big-Ears drops by as he often does and after admiring Noddy's lovely car he tells him to pick him up tomorrow and they can have an ice-cream together.
Eekoff! Eekoff! Eekoff! That's what happens next morning after Noddy has washed the breakfast things, and polished the bell on his hat, and made his bed, and put a little pie in the oven. Eekoff! Eekoff! Eekoff! It's the noise his car makes when the starter is pressed and every time the noise rings out there's an accompanying shaking and jerking. Noddy's thoughts lean towards a certain person — yes, it's taken a long time but I think he's finally realized that little Tubby Bear is NOT to be trusted in any circumstances. Noddy yells for him but Tubby isn't answering because he's hiding under his bed and leaving Noddy to sort things out for himself. Noddy waits ands waits for Tubby to show but he doesn't and Big-Ears, who's wondering what's happened to Noddy, rides over on his bike. Noddy reports the "Eekoff" problem and Big-Ears who is a wise and worldly brownie makes a diagnosis — the car has something that Noddy sometimes gets and it's called "hiccups!" Has it had anything to eat or drink? Of course it hasn't because cars don't eat or drink although, admittedly, they consume petrol? Big-Ears thinks of little Tubby Bear, does the sums and, becoming very angry, he tells Noddy to go get him, by the scruff of the neck if necessary — but little Tubby is lying low. They examine the garage shelves and find some empty ginger-beer bottles which Noddy has never seen before so it's now time to march on the enemy. Tramp, tramp, tramp over to the Tubby's house to interview Mrs. Tubby Bear who tells them that they drink quite a lot of ginger-beer at their place because they all like it. Big-Ears takes charge and races upstairs to little Tubby's bedroom and his quick eyes spot a small paw sticking out from under the bed. He pounces and drags the bear out and then the truth is also dragged out which, put simply, is that after young Tubby had finished the car he wanted to get in and go for a little drive. As there was no petrol in the tank the ginger-beer was poured into it! Words seem useless when trying to educate the little bear as to what is right and what is wrong so the picture shows his mother being physically violent with him and then he's told to get into bed.
Noddy's car is at the garage being cleaned out so how will he get his bread and butter? A few days pass and then a very exciting thing happens — an aeroplane flies over his house, descends, and lands in the garden! He can hardly believe his eyes and then there's another surprise because Big-Ears jumps out together with a smart little airman dressed in a blue uniform. He's a relation of the Tubby Bears next door who have asked him if he could offer his services until Noddy's car is repaired. The Tubby Bears come out to greet their cousin and of course little Tubby wants to get in and fly it but he's under strict supervision at the moment so Mr. Tubby Bear grabs him and tells him that if he causes any trouble he'll be in bed for a week! The bear is carried kicking and screaming into the house and, despite his errant ways, ever-kind Noddy can still feel a little sorry for him. Noddy and Big-Ears get into the aeroplane and the pilot takes them up into the air and before twenty minutes has gone by, Noddy has learnt the basics and is very proudly flying the aeroplane all by himself and wondering if he's dreaming. With the pilot giving instructions Noddy then prepares to land and he comes down with a BUMP but that's only his first landing and he's done very well indeed. Big-Ears can fly as well and when the airman has gone to catch a bus home the brownie takes Noddy up again. After a little flying here and there they bring the aeroplane down to land in Noddy's garden again and the whole street is agog. Mr. Plod who represents the Law has to be in on it of course and he rushes up to tell them they haven't got a permit and invites Noddy to the police station where they will have to " ... see about this aeroplane." Quite a number of the villagers, including the Bumpy-Dog, follow behind Noddy and Big-Ears because they're all interested in what's going on. Mr. Plod learns about the circumstances involving ginger-beer and the hiccupping car which led to Noddy becoming a pilot and it's a little doubtful as to whether the aeroplane instruction will be allowed to continue. In the old Westerns the sheriff was usually "In Charge" but inevitably there were one or two respected citizens who were classed as just a little more in Authority and in this case it's Big-Ears who does a bit of Laying-Down-The-Law to Mr. Plod —
"Now you listen to me, Mr. Plod. I got this aeroplane for Noddy. I'm paying for it to be lent to Noddy till his car's mended. So just be sensible and kind and give him permission to use it."
The townspeople are also on Noddy's side so Mr. Plod rather grumpily agrees to their demand but warns Noddy that should he knock a chimney-pot off a roof he'll lock him up together with his aeroplane. Now all that's needed are a couple more lessons and then Noddy's about ready to go into business. He lands the 'plane beautifully and goes to visit his car at the garage and also to get the hooter so that he can put it on to scare the birds away because they're a bit of a nuisance. Then he's up into the air again with the instructor and Big-Ears and soon the little wooden man is as good a pilot as either of them so they drop the airman off and then Big-Ears takes over (just in case) because they're going to land in his garden and the brownie doesn't want his washing run into or his very nice hollyhock broken. Down they go and Noddy leaps out to dance all round the garden singing exuberantly about flying an aeroplane. He has dinner with Big-Ears and plans out the various places he'll visit and they decide to put up a notice at the Post office to advertise his services. Better sooner than later so after dinner they're off into the air again en-route to the Post Office where they land in the yard. All the post-office customers come out to greet them. When Big-Ears jumps out to put up a notice Noddy is told by Mr. Plod who has appeared once again, to leave the post-office yard as he can't park there so up into the air goes the aeroplane again but Noddy has an extra passenger! In Chapter Five little Tubby Bear was described thus — "Horrid, Nasty, Unkind, Silly, Stupid, and Careless!" That applies right now only I don't think there are enough adjectives because the idiotic little bear who was also in the post-office with his mother has grabbed hold of one of the 'plane's wings and when Noddy soars up into the air, so does little Tubby! There's Noddy up in the sky and completely oblivious to the bear hanging onto the wing for dear life. The people below scream out but the engine's making too much noise and the aeroplane flies on.
"Save Tubby, oh please save my little Tubby!" cries poor Mrs. Tubby-Bear.
What can they do? They need someone with wings. There's a crow over there. The bird receives instructions and it hurtles into the air after the 'plane but, unfortunately, Noddy shoos it off and when the bird again tries to land Noddy hoots his hooter and the startled crow takes off again. The aeroplane, however, is conscious of the added weight on one side and is not too happy so it descends to fly over the pool in Mr. Golliwog's garden and jerk the little bear off into the water with a great SPLASH! It even accompanies the action with a little tune about the silliness of hanging onto an aeroplane's wing. A singing 'plane ... whatever next? Mr. Golliwog is angry at the intrusion whilst a soaked little Tubby climbs out and runs for his life vowing never to be naughty again and anticipating what's going to happen to him when he gets home in his wet clothes. Noddy once again feels sorry for him. There's no doubt about it, the little fellow has a very big heart with room enough in it even for someone who's been an utter annoyance to him for a long time.
He lands, picks up Big-Ears again, and then they fly off to Miss Monkey's house to collect some luggage which they deliver to the train station by the simple process of dropping it right into the train that Miss Monkey is on. That'll earn Noddy a shilling. He really enjoys himself that week delivering all kinds of things and carrying people to and from the station or taking them to other towns. The money pours in and he visits his car every now and again because he misses it despite the fun that an aeroplane has to offer. It's not all plain-sailing though and there are a few accidents in the course of his work. One day when he's taking Mr. Noah to his ark he lands a little carelessly and knocks Mr. Plod off his bicycle. The policeman thinks he did it deliberately ands says he'd better get rid of the aeroplane or he'll be locked up!
"Look at my helmet, rolling into that puddle. Just you wait, Noddy. JUST YOU WAIT!" Noddy doesn't — he runs off as fast as he can to Big-Ears House leaving the aeroplane behind. Big-Ears isn't home and Noddy doesn't know what to do so he just sits down to wait for the brownie to arrive and then he hears —
What a familiar sound and we all know what it is. Noddy's car is coming up to Toadstool House and Big-Ears is driving it! What a wonderful surprise —
"Oh, here's my little car again,Big-Ears is laughing. He claps Noddy on the back and admires his song of happiness. He had ridden by and seen Mr. Plod by the aeroplane with his muddy helmet and heard his threats so he had taken the hooter off the 'plane and gone to the garage where he found the car was all finished. What a good friend he is — he paid the bill and away he went to deliver the car to Noddy.
Hallo, little car!
You're feeling very well, it's plain,
How full of joy you are ...!"
The curtain is coming down on the adventures of Noddy and his pals and associates and appropriately this book comes to a finish with little Noddy praising Big-Ears and telling the world that he loves his car so much and Big-Ears is his best friend and that he is SO happy. His final act is to sing out a song devoted to his good mate who has been with him right from the very beginning when the world learnt that a brownie had collided in the forest with a nameless wooden man —
"You're rather a peculiar-looking person," said Big-Ears. "What are you? You're not a pixie or a brownie or a goblin, are you?"
"No," said the person he had knocked over, nodding his head.
"Why do you nod your head when you say No?"
"Because I'm a little nodding man," said the small fellow.
Yes. He's a little nodding man. He's Noddy!
The last page of the Noddy books that followed on after No.#1 carried a little notice — "LOOK FOR THE NEXT NODDY BOOK." It's also included at the end of this book although there were no more in the series. (Tony adds: A 25th book, Noddy Goes to the Moon, was planned but never published, and possibly not even written.) However, there are plenty of other Noddy books peppered through the years and they range from small "Strip" books, to educative books, colouring books, painting-in books, counting books, nursery rhyme books, song and poetry books, novelty books, tall books, big books, tiny weenie sets of booklets, and there are also comics in the later years.
Big-Ears told the policeman that he was paying for the aeroplane to be lent to Noddy until his car was mended. That's extremely nice of him but I thought that the Tubby Bears would be footing the bill.
That eminent jazz musician and broadcaster Humphrey Lyttelton included a track in his "Back to the Sixties" album which was entitled "Noddy in Jazzland" and I guess it was the genuine article that influenced him. Sadly, Humph is no longer with us.
The Noddy that sat in Enid Blyton's hall was a kind of doll with rather disproportionate hands. It was dressed as the Little Nodding Man (or a Boy Scout) and with the required emphasis on the shoe-laces. Noddy wears enormous laces?
Q: Which Noddy Book characters would I invite to liven up a party?
A: The Skittle Kids, but they would need to be accompanied by a "minder" equipped with hand-cuffs and plenty of rope.
Q: What is Noddy's silliest song?
A: Noddy's not a "Silly Song" creator by any means but there was an off-moment —
"I always meantHe composed it when he was at the seaside and Big-Ears said it was "silly" so it probably is.
To live in a tent,
Wherever I went."
Q: What is Noddy's most prized possession?
A: His little red and yellow car.
Q: Who was Noddy's biggest passenger?
A: One of the elephants from Noah's Ark.
Q: Who is Noddy's best regular tipper?
A: The Sailor-Doll.
Q: Who is the most individualistic character?
A: The ladybird with the walking-stick.
Q: Who is the most unusual character?
A: The judge who turned into a female (cf: Noddy Goes to Toyland — original and later editions)
Q: Who are the most devious characters?
A: A toss-up as to whether it's Mr. Monkey the travelling salesman (Do Look Out, Noddy), the Bunkey, or Mr. Tootle.
Q: Who are the most evil characters?
A: The four Golliwogs who roughed Noddy up and stole his clothes (Here Comes Noddy, Again). The goblins that were responsible for Noddy being accused of car-stealing weren't all that nice either and they featured in Hurrah For Little Noddy. Being "bad" seems to be the norm with goblins in the Noddy books.
Q: Who are Noddy's most famous friends apart from Big-Ears?
A: Father Christmas, and the Saucepan Man from the "Faraway Tree."
Q: What is Noddy's most far flung adventure?
A: A trip across the ocean to Shell Island (there are other Noddy adventures in non-series books though).
Q: What was the most exciting moment in Noddy's life?
A: When he learnt that the aeroplane was being lent to him.
Q: What is the most impressive demonstration of Noddy's "Goodness?"
A: It's purely personal of course but I found his determination to overcome the odds in Cheer Up Little Noddy quite moving, especially when he visited Big-Ears during his travails and fell fast asleep in a chair from sheer exhaustion. He had been wronged and he was without his car but instead of dancing around and threatening the instigators with court proceedings he had simply changed his business to a delivery service and continued on with a wheelbarrow, then a handcart and finally a donkey in order to survive.
Poetry and song has been very well represented in the Noddy Books because of his urge to express his thoughts through that medium. Other Enid Blyton characters have also been liable to burst forth in a poetic way but Noddy has so far proved his superior technique and he's probably produced more little rhymes than anyone else. In the "Malory Towers" books by the same author there is a schoolgirl called Darrell who also lent her hand to a little poetry writing when she scripted a pantomime with its associated rhymes. Darrell is a little more intelligent than most of the would-be poets who have so far been mentioned. More intelligent than Noddy? Well ... I think one has to consider their differences in make-up from a Darwinian point of view and anyway I think humans could be thought of as more intelligent than toys except that in the case of Noddy's poetic ability there was definitely a hiccup in the evolutionary trail.
"By the fire I sit and dreamThat's about the only item of Darrell's to which we are privy and I think it's rather good. It has atmosphere and, if she had continued writing in that vein, Noddy might have been seriously disadvantaged, but she bowed out and went on to other things so, despite Darrell's proven ability, it was judged that Noddy still reigned supreme.
And in the flames I see
Pictures of the lovely things
That never come to me ... "
There were a couple of "Wonder Boys" in the Enid Blyton books. One (Jimmy Brown of the 'Galliano Circus' books) possessed a special talent that was confined to making friends with animals and he ruled the roost in that department until the first Bill Smugs book appeared in the book-shops. Jimmy was also a first-class circus performer but his skills didn't include poetry. The other "Wonder Boy" arrived on the scene about five years later and his name was "Frederick Trotteville." Frederick starred in the "Find-Outer" books and his poetry, although not nearly as regular as Noddy's, was of the type that is not easily forgotten. This fellow is quite astounding and in a 2007 "Enid Blyton Society Magazine" (subscriptions available on this site) I tried to list all of his talents which was a pretty difficult operation. One which wasn't included is his poetic leanings and the day had to come when The Fabulously Famous Noddy was put up against that particular "Wonder Boy." The decision was made at boardroom level because that's how these things are done and Noddy didn't get a look in. Fatty (Frederick) won, hands down! However, Noddy can still be classed as a "Master" poet and songster and long may he continue to display his talent. (It's not derogatory to call Frederick "Fatty" because it's his well-known and accepted nick-name). Here is a sample poem from his collection —
"The little Princess Bongawee
Was very small and sweet.
A princess from her pretty head
Down to her tiny feet.
She had a servant, Ern by name,
A very stout young fella,
Who simply loved to shield her with
A dazzling state umbrella!"
This is the last poem from our Little Friend in the Landmark Noddy series made up of twenty-four books (Big-Ears liked it the best of all Noddy's songs) —
"Oh, dear old Big-Ears,So that there's no confusion, Noddy's girlfriend is Tessie Bear. Tessie is a very loyal soul and she's related to the Tubby Bears although she lives with another uncle not very far from Noddy. Maybe she's travelled from some rural area to work in Toytown Village, or to attend university.
I do love you so!
You're my very good friend,
The best that I know!
I love your white whiskers,
I love your red hat,
I love your big smile,
And I do love your cat!
I love you to visit me,
On your old bicycle,
Singing your song.
Oh, DEAR old Big-Ears,
I DO love you so!
You're my very good friend,
The best that I know.
Grown-ups have been to the fore in the attacks on Noddy because children "like" him and children should not like what they like — they should like what grown-ups "tell" them they should like, but Noddy keeps surviving even though the "Powers That Be" are very influential. One thing to consider is that as much as one might look on Enid Blyton as being an all-round children's author, her lower age range really begins at about seven or so. Younger children want their own material and other authors catered to their needs as did Enid Blyton in her small way with a few nursery-style books amongst others. Noddy could be looked upon as Blyton's story-series contribution towards the younger child so that age-group has been able to claim him as their own. The books are in colour and feature a childish man with childish traits and the illustrations are childish as is the script so why not allow the youngsters to enjoy their little bit of Enid Blyton fare without interference? The only other reasonably younger-age books in a Blyton colour series are the Bom stories of which there are eight plus one or two Extras. Elementary books like the ABC readers and other basic books of education aren't generally looked upon with contempt so why can't the critics allow Noddy and the children to live in their own little world of simplicity? It'll last only a few years.
Noddy has been conked on the head and put into prison on suspicion of stealing cars. He's had to cope with violent and awkward passengers in his taxi. The little fellow has been stripped naked and set upon by golliwogs, suffered a swollen head, endured buffeting by waves at the sea-side, been bitten on his toe by a crab, suffered the alienation of the community when suspected of a crime, and he's also weathered the delinquent activities of the little bear next door. At one stage circumstances forced him to clear out of Toytown, and another time he unexpectedly caused mayhem with a kite. He's survived a car-crash, been tricked by a con-man, and his critics have hounded him ceaselessly including those intellectuals housed in their ivory towers who also pour scorn down but despite these trials and tribulations he has soldiered on with dedication and love for his fellow toy.
Taking no heed of the condemnation and with a firm resolve to do good, Noddy has laboured selflessly to replace Big-Ears' bicycle when it was smashed to bits, attended school to better himself, tracked down thieves and burglars, and travelled with his brownie friend to find Whiskers the cat who had been stolen and as far as I know the little chap never asked for petrol money. He was even ready to offer up his beloved car in exchange for the cat! He's sailed overseas to bring back naughty little Bruiny Bear who should really be in some kind of monitored environment, and he's worked like a slave to pay for his smashed car — an accident in which Bruiny had been involved and whose parents could have been hauled into court (it's possible that Bruiny's parents did cough up some money in the end). Noddy has also shown much friendliness to Mr. Plod the policeman who isn't all that inclined to reciprocate.
Yes, Noddy is definitely an inspiration because he will shoulder a task regardless of the circumstances and whether they are unfair to him or not. If something needs to be done for the betterment of toykind or simply for a personal friend, then Noddy's ready and willing to contribute his energy. He might complain a little now and again but he just keeps going and one day in the near or far future perhaps every school will feature a portrait of him up on the classroom wall so that the children can be motivated whenever the going gets tough. Noddy was born in 1949 and, as he's still as young as he was then, that's one miracle towards the "two" required for Canonization. Elvis has several churches devoted to him, so ...? But, Canonization and Churches require non-functioning bodies and as much as Noddy's critics would like to shout nasty things to him as the little boat carries him across the legendary River Styx, I can't see that ever happening because, "Yah, Boo, Sucks" — Noddy will live forever!