The Enid Blyton Society
Hello Twins (Little Book No. 4)
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Book Details...

First edition: 1951
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Brockhampton Little Books
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Series Books

On This Page...

List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. The Little Toy Engine
    Story: Specially Written
  2. A Most Surprising Thing
    Story: Specially Written
  3. The Very Silly Dog
    Story: Specially Written
  4. The Christmas Present
    Story: Specially Written
Johnny and Jinny are the twins and their cook is a typical Blyton one - 'nice and round and plump with a very pink face and blue twinkly eyes.' Mummy has gone out so the twins are helping in the kitchen and Cookie has two small gifts on display as a kind of incentive for them to work hard - a tiny engine and a tiny toy dog. John thinks he should have the former because steam engines are boys' toys although Jinny thinks she might prefer it as well.

Well, there's no doubt about it, those children slave all morning for a rather fussy cook - she likes her raisins, sultanas, and currants individually counted out to a round sum and the twins oblige. Johnny accidentally drops his packet of fruit onto the floor and has to wash it all after retrieving every single piece, which means that Jinny finishes counting out her raisins and sultanas before him so she's able to have first pick of the rewards. Unfortunately for poor John she chooses the engine and there's a large colour picture of her brother looking very unhappy as he watches Jinny holding the coveted toy in her hand.

Jinny stones the dates and although Johnny wants to fill the bowl with brown sugar, his sister snatches up the bag and begins emptying out the sugar herself. Johnny's annoyed and he bumps the table to make her spill some because he's a little miffed at not getting the engine. Anyway, they both carry on working hard and when Mummy arrives home she comes into the kitchen and Jinny goes to show her the lovely little engine ... but where is it? Cook had put it on top of the baking powder tin right by where Jinny was emptying sugar into the bowl and now it's not there. The conclusion reached by Jinny is that her brother has taken it - a charge that is vehemently denied and very fortunately seconded by the grown-ups due to the fact that Johnny's considered a truthful soul. Jinny starts crying when the toy dog is presented to her brother because he was naturally due for a reward as well, but it doesn't seem quite fair seeing her reward has disappeared and after all, she had worked more quickly than Johnny and hadn't spilt anything.

Johnny's very tender-hearted and after getting his sister to acknowledge that he wasn't responsible for the disappearance of her engine, he presents her with his toy dog. What a kind gesture that is and hopefully, if the engine turns up, things will all be right again. The outcome is fairly predictable.

The Very Silly Dog

Next door to Johnny and Jinny's house there lives a big dog. He's black and brown with a stump of a tale and the twins consider him to be a silly mutt because he doesn't know any tricks like running after a stick or ball, and he doesn't even seem to know that he shouldn't walk on the flower beds. The only thing he seems good at is hunting for rabbits in the nearby forest. According to Mummy, the dog's fairly old and can't be bothered to learn tricks at this late stage in his life and he should have been taught a long time ago that he mustn't walk on the flowerbeds.

One day the twins visit the woods to pick bluebells because Mummy says they smell so lovely. Off they go and even when they've obtained more than a hundred, there still seem to be plenty left, all 'shining like blue pools between the trees.' Deeper into the woods they go because Johnny wants to find a white bluebell as they're supposed to be lucky. Unfortunately their meanderings take them into unfamiliar territory and the realisation they are lost has poor Jinny wondering in horror if, like Babes in the Wood, they're destined to cover themselves with leaves and sleep under the trees.

So, what happens?

A person versed in Blytonia would have the advantage of knowing enough about similar incidents to reach a satisfying conclusion.

The Christmas Present

The village jeweller's establishment has a Christmas present the twins would like to buy for Mummy - it's a brooch with the letter 'M' on it, and there's a colour picture of two excited children viewing it through the shop window.

The only problem is the cost, which is set at five shillings.

That's a lot to cough up for two kids who look only about eight years old so, like masses of Enid Blyton characters before them, they decide to earn the required money by doing odd jobs. Well now ... Cook won't let them chop wood for obvious reasons but she lets on that Mrs. Kennet down the road needs someone to do her shopping so its not long before the twins set off to approach the elderly woman. Mrs. Kennet is very pleased with the proposition and very handily suggests that she pay for the service - tuppence each for the twins whenever they fetch her goods. They're very fair children and Jinny says they were only going to charge a penny per time but Mrs. Kennet reminds them of the steep hill they have to climb, so that's that. Johnny takes his little wheelbarrow and Jinny uses her doll's pram to carry the shopping and it's just as well they do because Mrs. Kennet looks as if she might be entertaining the Soviet army in her cottage such is the quantity of goods the children transport from the shops to her little home.

The twins earn their first fourpence and on successive shopping forays, more and more cash fills their money boxes until by the time Christmas Eve arrives they have the grand sum of five shillings and fourpence between them. What are they waiting for? Off they go to claim Mummy's Christmas gift but sadness prevails, as one would expect, because children's dreams often turn into dust during Enid Blyton tales. The stark reality is that the brooch was sold yesterday.

A tearful exit is made ... at least Jinny's eyes are full of tears because boys don't cry.

So, what happens now?

The ending is very rewarding one - not only for the twins, but also for the reader because everything fits in so well.

Why should toy engines be only for boys? Maybe it's tradition, and also the fact that hardly anyone has ever seen a lady engine driver.

The dog next door looks like a slightly woebegone Timmy but that's only to be expected, seeing Soper illustrated the Kirrin books. Timmy was, of course, a faithful friend of the Famous Five.

Jinny said they could pick a million bluebells and there'd still be plenty left. If they took one flower every three seconds, it'd take them over half a month of uninterrupted work to end up with that many.

'Fourpence' is how it's spelt in the book although modern computer programmes think there should be a space between the words. They also think programmes should be spelt programs, and jeweller's should be spelt jeweler's.

Inside the copy used for reference it states that the book is 'Illustrated by Molly Brett.' Wrong! If the artist isn't Eileen Soper then I'm a monkey's uncle.

Johnny and Jinny appear in several of the 'Little Books.'

There's a mixture of small monochrome and full-page colour pictures and it's hard to choose the best when it comes to Soper. Perhaps one could settle on the cover illustration, or even the depiction where Johnny and Jinny are looking at the elusive brooch.