The Enid Blyton Society
The Kitten That Disappeared
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Book Details...

First edition: 1967
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Jacques Fromont
Category: John and Mary
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Books

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Review by Terry Gustafson

Just as 'Dobbin' could be considered a reasonable name for a horse, so could 'Fluffy 'be regarded as an appropriate name for a kitten and there comes a time when John and Mary acquire one for their very own. Animals tend to grow up more quickly than humans so their little pet at three months of age is already standing up on its hind legs and darting at what looks like a feather. Other information gleaned from the book is that it's the merriest kitten you can imagine, Fluffy always comes when you call her name, she loves hiding under the beds, she's mischievous, and she also likes to pounce on people's toes.

One day, true to the book's title, Fluffy disappears.

It's Monday morning and Mother's been very busy filling a basket for the laundry man to collect besides making the beds and peeling a few spuds for dinner. Fluffy, who's been playing about with the children all this time, suddenly vanishes.

"Where's Fluffy?"

Mother's explanation to Mary is that she's probably hiding somewhere, which makes sense so John calls out and, sure enough, a very faint "Meeooooo!" is heard. The kitten is obviously around, but where? The hunt begins and John can be seen with his hands on the floor (for some reason) whilst his sister is at least looking under some cupboards, but their search is in vain. Fluffy is nowhere to be found.

A man arrives to collect the basket of washing and after he's gone, John calls out again for Fluffy. Mary examines the broom cupboard and then looks where the newspapers are kept but to no avail. Mother suggests Fluffy may have slipped upstairs but John reminds her the kitchen door has been closed all the time, so she has to be somewhere nearby.

"She'll turn up," Mother tells them in an attempt to put her children's minds at rest but after popping a pudding into the oven she starts looking round for Fluffy as well. A saucer of milk and piece of fish should bring the kitten out from wherever it might be so a meal is placed on the floor.

"Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy! Puss, puss, puss! Dinner, dinner, dinner."

No luck at all, and Mary starts to cry. She thinks that perhaps a fairy has taken Fluffy away by magic but Mother assures her that fairy-folk don't do unkind things; so they troop out into the garden for a further search. The lady next door hasn't seen their kitten either and there she is, pictured with arms outspread as she talks to the children's mother. All morning the hunt goes on ... and after dinner as well, but with no desired result. By now, even Mother's starting to get a little anxious.

Where can that kitten possibly be?
The artist according to the all-knowing Cave is 'Jacques Fromont,' and he's drawn Fluffy with blue eyes which is probably all right. There must be some cats with blue eyes - in fact, come to think of it, one of the Enid Blyton 'Find-Outer' books features a bunch of moggies with 'brilliant blue eyes.'

Having a laundry man tells us the family is either a rich one, or else they don't have a washer. Searching out the story's original date makes it look as if the house is probably washing-machine-less.

The children look old enough to perform at least a few chores such as making their own beds. Admittedly, one of them is helping to peel potatoes, and it wouldn't be very difficult to figure out who that might be.

In another illustration Mother looks as if she's about to dump some sheets into a large round basket so there are obviously two different containers for the washing - the other being for the laundry man to take, although it doesn't look nearly big enough to accommodate sheets and pillowcases from four beds.

Anyone over the age of about eight should be able to determine just what's connected with the kitten's vanished state.

John and Mary are obviously getting older because the word 'Mummy' is non-existent in this tale. The children address her as 'Mother.'

"Fluffy, Fluffy, Fluffy! Puss, puss, puss! Dinner, dinner, dinner!" Animals can't understand our lingo all that much, but who can resist talking to one, especially a creature in distress, with high, comforting (we think) tones? Of course pets become familiar with certain words such as 'Walkies,' "Come Here, and 'Food.'

An earlier 'John and Mary' book portrays a container with their family name etched onto it. In a slightly later printing it's been rubbed out. Surely the bowdlerizers aren't into stories written for children of such a tender age!

John and Rosie also have a black kitten with blue eyes, called 'Fluffy' - according to "Enid Blyton's Gay Story Book."