The Enid Blyton Society
The Great Big Fish
Back Book 1 of 9 in this category Next

Book Details...

First edition: 1966
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Jacques Fromont
Category: John and Mary
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Books

On This Page...

Review by Terry Gustafson

John and Mary whose likely surname is 'Paget,' are two children who look about seven or eight years old. John's hair is red and Mary's is yellow (or golden) and she likes to wear it in plaits. In this particular story they're on holiday at the seaside and when they visit a jetty to watch the fishermen, Mary expresses her desire for a rod. She'd like to catch a great big fish and that's not surprising because the local competition is being run with a five-pound prize.

The children spy Mr Brown, a friend they met last year and they ask him if he's had any success at all, but there's a negative answer,

"I think all the fish must know my line too well."

John and Mary enjoy watching the fishermen pulling up their catches but Mr Brown may have been right with his off-the-cuff comment because, as yet, he's caught nothing at all. The children have brought their lunch and a picture shows them scoffing food and drink whilst poor Mr Brown sits there with a sullen look on his face. He becomes quite stiff after a while so, handing his rod to John, he sets off for a stroll along the jetty.

What happens next is very unexpected, and the children end up playing their part in helping Mr Brown win the competition which comes to an end at five o'clock. Can they have tea with him that evening for a treat? Of course they may Mummy tells them, so off they go with the happy day extending even further when Mr Brown asks them what they'd like for a present - a doll for Mary perhaps, and maybe a box of soldiers for John?


They both receive what is specifically asked for, which means that tomorrow they'll be visiting the jetty again.
The various societies that cater to animals' well-being have yet to decide on whether or not catching fish with hooks is humane. Perhaps they already have.

This tale, which seems to have originated in the thirties, was reprinted in the Jolly Story Book although John and Mary became Donald and Ellen. Mr Brown's name survived.

It appears that five pounds back then would be worth more than three hundred pounds in these times. Presumably Enid Blyton was making fairly good money and didn't consider that five pounds was quite a 'Princely Sum.'

What a feast! Mr Brown told the children they'd have shrimp sandwiches, chocolate cream buns and two ice-creams each! What? No macaroons? Well, maybe not, but TWO ice-creams is definitely within Enid Blyton's margin of operation when it comes to meals. Mind you, the artist, perhaps with simplicity in mind, has just put what looks like an upside-down cake on the tea table - but maybe this was the second course.

Like John and Mary, Mr Brown the fisherman has a black cat.

No full-stops after 'Mr' (or 'Mrs') because this series doesn't seem to like them.