The Enid Blyton Society
The Mad Teapot (Little Book No. 8)
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Book Details...

First edition: 1952
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Molly E. Brett
Category: Brockhampton Little Books
Genre: Mixed
Type: Short Story Series Books

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List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. The Mad Teapot
    Story: Sunny Stories No.246 Sep 26, 1941
  2. Jimmy's Whip
    Story: Sunny Stories No.428 Apr 16, 1948
  3. Annabel's Nest
    Story: Sunny Stories No.429 Apr 30, 1948
  4. The Duck Who Clucked
    Story: Sunny Stories No.406 May 16, 1947
One of Enid Blyton's more weird conceptions is reflected in this story namely a mad teapot that resides on the mantelpiece in Jane's nursery. How it became mad is anyone's guess but fortunately for the teapot it doesn't become mad until Jane and Nanny are fast asleep in their beds, so it hasn't been ignominiously discarded ... as yet.

It's really annoying because after dancing around and bumping against the money-box pig who happen to sit on the mantelpiece as well, the mad teapot might jump down to the floor, fill itself with water from the tap, and then chase the toys into the cupboard to wet them all. This causes such a mess that it has to be cleaned up before morning in case Jane gets cross when she next visits the nursery.

The teddy-bear initiates a discussion amongst the toys as to what they must do in order to solve this extremely aggravating problem and various solutions are suggested such as putting a dob of glue underneath the teapot so that it can't move. Unfortunately the offender is too strong to be affected by such a ploy so they try shutting themselves in the doll's house but that's no good either because the teapot starts pouring water down the chimney. To make matters worse, the marbles are playing up as well. They spread themselves about the floor making everyone trip over by rolling under their feet. This combination of circumstances prods the toys into pursuing the 'Ultimate Solution.'

The question is: Will Jane spoil the 'Ultimate Solution' in the near or far future?

Jimmy's Whip

There are plenty of Jimmys in the Enid Blyton collection but this Jimmy might be the most sadistic of all her characters? Despite the plethora of nasty and cruel children sprinkled throughout the books, he's certainly a contender.

Jimmy's uncalled for actions with the whip he uses on his top draw the attention of a little bearded man who appears from out of the nearest oak tree. He owns a circus and needs a completely new act, so after calling some of his mates over to help, he subjects Jimmy, to a degrading, and no doubt painful, episode by 'experimenting' on him. Fortunately or unfortunately for the boy, there's an interruption in the form of a local farmer who's searching for the culprit who assaulted one of his kids.

The brownies disappear as one very angry man approaches the boy.

Annabel's Nest

One day someone's going to make a film of exactly how a bird makes its nest. This is one of Nature's marvels that needs to be documented because it's doubtful that a human being could make one with just a beak as a tool. Annabel wonders about this too and her mother passes on some technical information telling her that birds tuck the bits and pieces here and there. Armed with that intricate knowledge, Annabel begins making her own nest and there's a colourful picture of her sitting on a bench, hard at work being observed by a robin, and some birds in a nearby tree.

To make a hollow in the centre a bird nestles itself into the partially completed nest and turns itself around (says Mummy) so Annabel puts her fist into the middle of her nest and forms it that way. When the quite reasonably fashioned product is finished, the little girl expresses a desire to have it adopted by a bird or two but that's rather pie-in-the-sky because (according to Mummy) birds like to make their own nests. However a nasty rat invades the storyline and although mother's speculation holds true, Annabel's nest still comes in handy.

The Duck Who Clucked

The title doesn't sound quite right but the Blyton mind works in strange ways to provide the children with a good story. Why the duck clucks is not dwelt upon but it definitely clucks and is not too happy about it because the other toys dislike such utterances. In order to pacify them the duck practises hard at quacking but all that comes out is a cluck. The big doll tells the duck once and for all that either it turns into a hen or else it can stay as a duck but must find a quack somewhere because they're all sick of living with a clucking duck. They sure look it because the accompanying picture show the golliwog and teddy-bear with hands over their ears.

Fortunately there are two imps who visit the nursery now and again to do little errands for the toys and a solution to the duck's dilemma appears imminent. Both imps would like to possess a ribbon that's tied round the duck's neck but what would the colourful strip of material be worth?

Yes indeed ... what could the duck possibly require in exchange for the ribbon?

We all know the answer to that one and so a bargain is made. The imps disappear to locate a quack but unfortunately they start quarrelling over the ribbon - one of them wants to make a sash with his share but that would take more than half, which wouldn't be fair. So, instead of hunting for a quack together, they part company and begin searching individually. The first imp locates a witch stirring a cauldron that's hanging in her fireplace (you can see her) and obtains a fine spell that will produce a loud quack once swallowed. The second imp can't find what he wants but manages to search out an enchanter who obliges him with something other than a 'quack spell.'

The ending of this story could be classed as 'unfortunate,' or 'tragic,' but maybe the words 'promising' or 'optimistic' should be considered.
#1: I guess the teapot would be classed as 'mentally challenged' in today's parlance.

Should 'doll's house' be 'dolls' house?' Perhaps if there was a single doll living in it one couldn't complain.

Teapots are well represented in Enid Blyton tales. Billy-Bob accidentally smashed his Aunt Lucy's teapot in 'Billy-Bob and the Pink Teapot,' and in 'The Talking Teapot' Dimble-Dumble comes across one sitting in a bush. A look inside the Enid Blyton Society's 'Cave of Books' will reveal quite a list of teapot related headings.

#2: A common toy in Jimmy's era was a whipping top, and as weird as it sounds, such things actually exist. If whipped correctly, the top spins round and keeps on turning provided it's continually lashed. In this enlightened age just enter 'Whipping Top' into a video search engine and the practice can be verified.

The little men who accosted Jimmy were probably brownies.

#4: The duck is referred to as 'he.'

The dozen or so Molly Brett colour illustrations are well rounded and atmospheric, as well as possessing a vintage quality which contrasts the flat and rather expressionless pictures that decorate so many children's books these days. There are smaller monochrome drawings as well.