The Enid Blyton Society
Visitors in the Night (Little Book No. 14)
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Book Details...

First edition: 1953
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. Visitors in the Night
    Story: Specially Written
  2. Tit for Tat
    Story: Sunny Stories No.440 Oct 1, 1948
  3. Granny's Kittens
    Story: Sunny Stories No.433 Jun 25, 1948
  4. The Little Musical Box
    Story: Specially Written
Like humans, toys also get tired and this becomes obvious when the curly-haired doll reports to the others that she's quite worn out after being undressed and dressed many times over, presumably by Jane or Eileen, or both. The pink cat can hardly keep his eyes open either and as the others are also ready for bed they retire for the night either into the cupboard, or in the curly-haired doll's case, her little cot.

Round midnight someone patters in from a hole behind the cupboard and stands in the middle of the floor twitching his nose. This visitor has an important message for the toys but they're all snoring away so he looks round for his best friend, and there he is - Clicky. The visitor, who is of course, a mouse runs over and pulls the clockwork mouse's tail to wake him up because the message is urgent; five little fairies who live in Bluebell Wood had been enjoying themselves at a party given by the pixie who lives in the garden outside, and they've all fallen into the pond!

Luckily, all hands managed to scramble out again but the little sprites are very upset and Molly Brett's colourful picture of the scene shows two of them rubbing their eyes as if they're crying. The fairies' message is a request to stay in the dolls' house just for tonight so, Clicky, only too eager to help, knocks on the little door whereupon mother doll appears and hearing what's happened, she's only too ready to oblige. The mouse runs off to bring his fairy friends up from the garden while the dolls' house inhabitants run a bath and put out clean towels. They also make the beds and warm some blankets by the kitchen fire.

It's very exciting when the toys who are all awake by now, welcome five wet and miserable fairies. They're taken into the dolls' house for hot baths, warm towels to dry themselves, and nighties to wear, and even cups of soup are distributed before they snuggle down into beds. Tippitty, the biggest fairy, asks if the lights could be left on just in case they wake up and forget where they are. Sure can. The toys peep in through the window, quite thrilled to think that fairies are sleeping in their nursery because it's a great honour for this to happen.

Back to bed it is and the toys sleep till quite late next morning when Eileen calls in on her way down to breakfast and notices lights are on inside the dolls' house. She yells out to Jane who confirms they were definitely turned off last night so how come they're now blazing away? Mother doll inside the house is distraught. She wakes the fairies up and tells them to dress quickly and leave immediately, otherwise if they're seen Lord knows what'll happen ... the children might snatch the fairies up and take them off to school so their classmates can have a gander.

It's a desperate moment because Eileen and Jane actually spotted the visitors when they knelt down to peer through the window before racing out to tell their mother. Something has to be done ... and fast.

But what?

Tit For Tat

The curly-haired doll, who features quite frequently in Enid Blyton tales, is called Jennifer (or at least this one is) and she owns a little brush. It's a very useful item for the doll to have seeing she has so much hair, but she's also generous and the toys often borrow the handy item to brush their fur or whiskers or, in the golliwog's case, his mop of hair. They love using Jennifer's brush but one day Sally wants to clean the dolls' house carpets and because Mummy's brush is too big, guess what she uses? Yes, Jennifer's hairbrush because it's just the right size. The toys look on in dismay when Sally takes it up and starts giving the tiny carpets a vigorous brushing; and even worse - when she finishes her task the brush is practically worn out so into the fire it goes, and after a minute or two Jennifer's hairbrush is mere history.

Jennifer really misses it and that night she cries to herself while everyone discusses the problem and, as occurs in the human world, they start discussing the perpetrator's various faults. The bear says she's an untidy little girl who doesn't even brush her teeth, and the pink cat adds that Sally received a beautiful new toothbrush only last week, so it's quite wasted. The tale goes on to describe what the toys do after the clockwork mouse has a sudden idea.

A very good idea.

Granny's Kittens

Mother is holding a sale of work and as Granny has made some sweets for the occasion, Daisy is told to visit the elderly lady and collect them. Before leaving, Daisy tells her mother that Granny's cat has had kittens and she'd really love to have one for a pet. Very unfortunately, and unlike your standard Enid Blyton character, Mummy doesn't like cats. If only she did because when Daisy reaches Granny's house she's told there's just one little white kitten left, " ... and it's the prettiest of all." (says Granny).

Daisy wants to see it but when she calls out, "Kitty, kitty, kitty," there's no response so the girl searches everywhere ... under the bed, under the couch and in the garden but only Tabby the mother cat is there, sitting on the wall washing herself. How disappointing. The little girl reports back to Granny but as it's getting late she's handed a basket with the homemade sweets in it, plus some gloves, and also a few hot-water bottle covers Granny has knitted herself. Daisy sets off for home and although she's been told the basket is quite light, it actually seems rather heavy but seeing she's a girl and Granny is a grown-up, the difference in strength can possibly be explained ... although admittedly, grannies are often quite frail in their old age.

Still, whatever the reason, the fact is that a pleasant ending has been marked out for this story.

The Little Musical Box

Night after night the toys dance to the music of a dear little music box. How the tunes get in there is a question the little doll asks but she's unlikely to get an answer. One evening the goldfish, swimming round in his bowl on the window-sill, makes a tapping noise and the golliwog climbs up to ask him what's up. The goldfish tells him in a bubbly voice that he'd like the music box brought nearer to his bowl so that he could enjoy the music as well so the golliwog with help from the Bear, lugs the instrument up and very soon a selection of lovely music trills out to gladden the heart of any fish. This is how it sounds -

"Tiddley-idd-ley, oh-lee-oh."

The goldfish enjoys his musical interlude immensely and asks the toys to make sure they bring their musical box up more often. One might think the tunes playing in the nursery would wake Freda and Mollie and John who are fast asleep in their beds, but the door is pushed almost shut when the music box is opened, or whenever the toys get into the clockwork train and speed round the nursery.

One night a strong wind swells up and blows the window open, causing a potentially dangerous situation to occur. Rustling curtains flap against the goldfish bowl and when an extra strong gust suddenly blows, a 'CRASH' is heard; the bowl has flipped over emptying out all its contents, and there are the toys gazing at their friend flapping about on the floor. This is a dire emergency and needs to be attended to immediately otherwise the goldfish will expire. Suggestions, fast!

"Put the fish in a vase of flowers - at least he'll be in water."

There's no vase in the nursery.

"Carry the goldfish to where there's some water. Quick, pick him up and make for the bathroom."

They can't, the fish is too slippery.

"He can't breathe. Water, water," cries the bear.

What can they do?

Wait! They have the music box.

So what?

#1: I don't think toys dress in pyjamas when they go to bed in their cupboard. Not even the curly-haired doll, even thought she has her own cot.

The clockwork mouse asks an utterly ridiculous question on P.4 when he learns about fairies falling into the garden pond, but after all, he's only a little mouse (and a mechanical one at that). Here's the question: "Are they wet?"

The five fairies look more like little children or pixies, although at least one of them has wings. As for the pixie they were visiting, he might be one of the figures shown in Brett's colour picture but if that's the case, where's the missing sixth character?

Triviality: The Dolls' House apostrophe is placed outside the 's' in this story. 'The Mad Teapot' has it before the 's' but one never knows, perhaps the doll's house in that tale was owned by just one doll.

There's a picture of the mouse helping a 'fairy' to dry itself. This 'fairy' definitely looks like a pixie.

#3: In the story 'Granny's Kittens,' unlike what occurred in another 'Little Book' (Here Come The Twins/Giants Over The Wall) this cat's tail is wound firmly around its body. Tails hanging from cats that sit on walls invite passers-by (undisciplined ones) to yank them.

#4: The goldfish spoke in a bubbly voice. That's a typical Enid Blyton description and adds atmosphere to the prose but, although it appears 'self-explanatory,' what would a bubbly voice actually sound like?

The bear turned the handle when playing music to Goldie (that's the fish's name) although Molly Brett's illustration actually portrays Golly doing the honours; but, maybe the bear (not in the picture) had a go after the golliwog had done his dash.

The theme of a goldfish falling out of its bowl is repeated a few times in other Blyton stories. Examples are, 'The Surprising Goldfish' and 'The Big Bad Dog' (Tales after Supper) plus 'What Shall We Do?' (EB's Sixth Bedside Book).

The booklet contains another fine selection of vintage-looking illustrations from Molly Brett so it's difficult to choose a 'best.' The fairies/pixies crawling out of the pond is a good one, as is the colour illustration that features Freda questioning the toys.

In one of the tales is a brand of toy I can't recall seeing before in any picture, but as thousands exist in the Enid Blyton collection, who can be sure? It's of a little picaninny doll.