The Enid Blyton Society
The Dear Old Snow Man
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Book Details...

First edition: 1949
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Brockhampton Nursery Series
Genre: Mixed
Type: Short Story Series Books

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List of Contents
Artwork
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. The Dear Old Snowman
    Story: Sunny Stories No.260 Jan 2, 1942
  2. Hurrah for the Pepper-Pot!
    Story: Sunny Stories No.233 Jun 27, 1941
  3. The Funny Little Shadow
    Story: Sunny Stories No.247 Oct 3, 1941
  4. Jiminy's Balloons
    Story: Sunny Stories No.237 Jul 25, 1941
  5. The Little Silver Hat
    Story: Sunny Stories No.234 Jul 4, 1941
One winter's day three little Eileen Soper boys decide to make a snowman. Like many Blyton characters have in the past, they get stuck into their self-appointed task and after a good deal of hard work an excellent sample of the genre takes shape. The snowman has a hat, scarf, shoes, gloves on his hands (yes, they're actually visible), and stones for his eyes. The boys have also used stones for buttons and have even stuck a pipe in the snowman's mouth. He's also got hair made of straw.

Peter thinks it looks grand and Kenneth names him 'Mr Cold-Feet.' Mike, wandering into the realms of fantasy, thinks it'd be marvellous if the snowman could actually smoke his pipe but that's not about to happen it would seem. When they've finished the boys go indoors and leave their figure with thick mounds of snow lying round his feet and a moon with twinkling stars shining above.

Later in the evening a tramp called Shuffle materializes from nowhere and spots the garden shed. Unfortunately Peter has forgotten to take the key inside with him so Shuffle, thinking it'd be easier on his feet if he had a bike, decides to poke around and see if one can be located. He slips into the garden and then gets the shock of his life when a voice stabs out in the darkness,

"What - are - you - doing?"

This is the prelude to an amazing occurrence, followed shortly by a repeat performance which is actually captured in one of the colourful pictures. Peter, Kenneth, and Mike have a once-in-a-lifetime experience which they appear to take in their stride, although a local policeman doesn't ... he takes off as fast as his feet can take him!


Hurrah for the Pepper-Pot

Living in the kitchen are Mrs Whisker Mouse and Mrs Furry Mouse who visit each other with their respective families every now and again - but only when the cat isn't anywhere about. One day the Furry Mouse kids are thrilled because they've been invited to Paddy-Paws Whisker's party and after they've all been dressed up for the occasion they set off, with Mrs Furry Mouse first sniffing outside the front door to make sure the cat's nowhere around.

An excellent get-together follows and in case you wonder what mice enjoy on such occasions the menu includes cheese cakes, bacon-ring sandwiches, and potato-peel pies. There are games of course and the little ones enjoy themselves immensely with loud squeals and yells that help to drown out any slight sounds the cat may have caused when he entered the kitchen.

Yes, danger awaits.

The party ends on a high note and there are fond 'farewells' as the Furry family exit the Whiskers' abode but instead of pattering off home, Mrs Furry gets her family to scramble up a cloth that's hanging down from the kitchen table. The reason for this is that earlier on she had smelt some cheese and she thinks it would be a good idea to acquire some of said comestible for their larder.

The cat is annoyed because no mouse has run past him which means he hasn't been able to apprehend any as yet. While he skulks about somewhere below wondering where they've all gone, Mrs Furry's sharp nose detects the presence of 'CAT.'

But where is it? Near the sink? By their mouse hole? It's too dark to get a bead on the animal so Mrs Furry up there on the table racks her brains and comes up with a brilliant idea that works very well indeed. Listening intently, the Furry family members are able to hear exactly where the cat is, which means they can dash away and scurry down another part of the tablecloth to safety.

The illustration says it all.

The Funny Little Shadow

A young boy named Peterkin is the hero of this short story and his love for sardines is illustrated by the fact that he's just eaten seven of them for breakfast, which has made his mother rather cross because she reckons he smells of fish. After shooing away the family puss who's been attracted by the sardine smell, Peterkin puts on his coat and hat to depart for school.

Taking a short cut through the woods, Peterkin attracts the attention of a brown cat with bright blue eyes who has smelt the sardines that made up the boy's breakfast. It keeps following him despite being yelled at by the irritated laddie and then, when Peterkin stops momentarily in a patch of sunshine, the cat, who can't very well eat the boy himself, begins consuming his shadow. Yes, this also smells of sardines however weird that might sound. In a very short time, and after a lot of licking, the cat manages to gobble up Peterkin's shadow in its entirety.

This causes the boy to cry because we all need a shadow as part of our makeup surely, and whilst he's bawling away, a white-bearded pixie appears from amongst the trees. He's the cat's owner and when Peterkin makes a formal complaint, the pixie scolds his pet soundly and although the creature expresses a certain degree of remorse, that's not going to get Peterkin's shadow back is it? The pixie scratches his head wondering what to do seeing you can't just go out and buy a replacement shadow.

A solution is seized upon however and a little snipping is called for but, although the pixie means well, Peterkin who is at first glad to have another shadow, finds to his dismay that it doesn't quite suit him. The little fellow and his cat have disappeared however, so the boy continues his walk to school crying bitterly all the way.

Luckily, he's now got used to what happened to him on that unfortunate day.

Jiminy's Balloons

Who but a pixie would be called Jiminy? This one is and he's a sly scamp of a creature who thinks nothing of returning home from the market with filched items - an egg from Dame Henny's stall, a pound of butter from somewhere, or perhaps a few potatoes from another vendor.

The pixies aren't absolutely sure that Jiminy's stealing their goods but they're suspicious so are on the look out and, following the Enid Blyton formula, Jiminy makes an error in the fullness of time. The pixie decides to obtain a free balloon for himself and when Mrs Bubbles is looking the other way, he seizes one from her collection but inadvertently finds they're all tied together which means he's off and away, with not one balloon but several in a large bunch.

Mrs Bubbles and the passers by spot Jiminy and he becomes quite desperate at the thought of being detained. Maybe the pixie wishes he could fly away from the people chasing him because that's exactly what happens, although it's not quite what he'd bargained for. Jiminy suddenly shoots into the air after a strong puff of wind causes the balloons (plus pixie) to rise and float away over the village.

The wind must have a mind of its own because Jiminy is subjected to a frightening time that involves ducking in some water, and a horrific 'black' experience before he's finally deposited on a weathercock that sits atop the church tower. An ordeal like that ends, hopefully, in a little kindness being offered to the unfortunate chap.

The Little Silver Hat

Can anyone draw a fairy with such neatness as Eileen Soper? This story involves a sprite called Silver-wings which of course means she has wings of silver, shoes of silver, and a frock that shines like - you guessed it. In order to complete her ensemble she yearns for a hat of similar colour (naturally) but can she find one? No she can't. According to the shopkeepers, a silver hat would be far too expensive and they have little call for them, thus making the item very scarce.

Scarce as ... silver hats.

One day, when Silver-wings is walking amongst the butter-cups she spies a child engrossed in sewing. The little girl is creating a frock for her doll sitting nearby on the grass and as Silver-wings watches her needle flying in and out, the church clock strikes loudly whereupon the girl, who appears very organised, stops work and proceeds to extract three biscuits from her bag for lunch. As she sits there enjoying her repast, Silver-wings creeps nearer to take a closer look at the partially completed frock and then, quite innocently, causes a period of frustration for the little girl who finds an essential part of her equipment missing when she resumes sewing. It all stems from the fact that Silver-wings finds a head-piece that isn't a head-piece.

The question is: Whether or not the problem will be sorted out to the satisfaction of both parties.


#1: The snowman has gloves. How one fashions snow hands upon which gloves can be fitted might be considered a mystery, but they're definitely pictured.

On Page 10 is a character that every serious and not-so-serious fan of Blyton books would have seen at some time or another. He's a baddie, and his face and posture resemble many similar illustrations by our featured artist.

A search was conducted to discover if any other Blyton snowmen have names and a few came up. There's 'Mr Frosty Man' (Happy Day Stories), 'Mr Snowman' (EB's Merry Story Book), and Mr Shivers' (EB's Third Bedside), but there must be others

#2: Husbands can be classed as a comparative rarity in EB tales but they're around - Mr Jackson, Mr Hilton and Mr Daykin (barely). Mr Trotteville makes appearances and Mr Cunningham has become a favourite; however Enid Blyton hasn't included either of the fathers in Tale No.2. Perhaps they've been eliminated by the cat?

It has more-or-less been taken as read that mice can see in the dark due to their emergence at night but this may be a presumptive theory. Enid Blyton, an authority in the field of nature, quotes Mrs Furry as saying "It's so dark that I can't see a thing." Perhaps whiskers are more useful than eyes when mice scurry about in the gloom.

#3: The creative thoughts of our author are once again demonstrated in this tale.

Would seven sardines be a big meal for a boy? Does one smell of fish after eating them, or for that matter after consuming any piscine matter at all?

#4: Time keeps on bringing changes. This book was published when the Forties were coming to a close, so food products were sold in pounds and ounces. A pound of butter would weigh just under half a kilogram.

#5: As usual, the pictures are a delight. The one on Page 53 is typical of Soper's talent.

The little girl apparently has a bag. In fact the she has to possess one because that's where her lunch was stored, so maybe it's just outside the picture.

Lunch time is normally round midday or shortly after but the girl had hers at 11am - and why not? I'd probably have consumed the biscuits upon reaching the buttercup patch, or else on my way there. Children, as can be seen in many Blyton tales, love their food and are usually not so organised as this girl appears to be.

For prospective writers of England's English, it's suggested that periods aren't inserted after 'Mr' and 'Mrs'