The Enid Blyton Society
Trouble for the Twins (Little Book No. 18)
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Book Details...

First edition: 1955
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Brockhampton Little Books
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Series Books

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List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. When the Bus Was Full
    Story: Specially Written
  2. Bang, Bang, Bang
    Story: Specially Written
  3. They Really Were Sorry
    Story: Specially Written
When The Bus Was Full

Granny's house is a fun place to visit and the twins, who've been invited round for tea, are enjoying themselves. They've played with the kitten, watched Granny's lovely clock marking the half-hours with a hearty "Cuckoo," and they've tapped the little China man's head to set it nodding away. There's also Grandpa's old set of soldiers that are a little different from Johnny's 'modern' ones ... these are big heavy figures that the kitten likes running into and knocking down.

Sadly the twins have to catch their bus home, so after kissing Granny goodbye they set off. The bus is quite full when it arrives and there's room for only two more passengers after the queue has dwindled down to three. That's all very well but a bent old lady is last in line and when the twins have hopped on to the bus, the woman is told she'll have to wait for the next one. Well, we all know what will happen, and it does ... Johnny exits so that the elderly lady can take his place on board. Jinny tries to jump off as well but it's too late because the bus starts moving away. Soper's picture shows a woebegone Johnny watching its departure and facing the prospect of a long walk home.

As the bus rattles along Jinny is spoken to by the elderly lady and presented with a tin of toffees to give Johnny for his selfless act.

" ... that brother of your deserves a treat."

Indeed he does; and after about twenty minutes Jinny is home and rushing inside to tell Mummy all about it; however a surprise comes her way when she suggests they stroll back to meet Johnny.

"But Johnny's home!"

"No he's not. I left him at the bus-stop. He's walking back in the dark."

"But darling I heard Johnny whistling, and look there's his cap ... and his coat too."


Bang ,Bang, Bang

In England round Christmas-time the snow begins to fall and young children's fancies turn lightly to the thought of making a snow-woman; so on Boxing Day when the flakes have ceased their descent, the twins don coats, scarves, and hats prior to running outside. They notice the next-door children have already been hard at it and in the neighbours' house opposite a big snowman wearing an old top-hat is gracing their yard. The children visit each other's places to admire and comment upon the snow figures and we're told the twins' snow-woman (yes, that's what they made) has been named 'Mrs. Very-Cold.'

Tom is also a neighbour but nobody likes him very much because he's big and rather annoying. For Christmas he received a pistol constructed in such a way that it can be loaded with tiny amounts of gunpowder that explode when the trigger is pulled, and the children are told he'll shoot them all with it. Poor little Susan hates loud noises and she flees indoors when Tom proceeds to show everyone what his pistol sounds like. 'Bang-bang-bang' it goes, as the gunpowder explodes with small flashes. Johnny remarks that it's cowardly to frighten little kids, whereby Tom says he'll shoot poor Susan's snowman.


Well, you can't really do all that much with a toy gun, and when Jinny voices the sentiment Tom goes right into Susan's garden and knocks her snowman down. Looking across at the twins' beautifully made figure he threatens to shoot that as well, but noticing their mother inside the house, he tells them he'll come round when it's dark and attend to it. Johnny says he'll give the snow-woman his own toy-gun for a weapon but Tom just laughs and moves off.

"He'll come back," says one of the boys and Johnny, whose mind has been very busy, says -

"We'll be waiting for him. He'll get a horrid surprise if he comes."

The twins go inside and Johnny put his sister into the picture. He has a plan and it involves both of them being outside that evening. Preparations have to be made however so Johnny fetches his old toy gun to place through the snow-woman's arm, and then the twins set about making piles of snowballs besides gathering up a collection of paper bags. Yes, it's all to do with Johnny's 'Master Plan.'

So who's a clever boy then?

They Really Were Sorry

In Johnny and Jinny's time it seems you could visit the local store to purchase bundles of sticks for lighting the fire and right now Mother wants Johnny to get some. This request is a little bothersome because the boy's tricycle has broken down, so it means he'll have to walk -

" ... and it's such a long way."

His mother has a rather astute answer to that remark,

"If I told you to go and buy some ice-creams, you'd think it was no way at all."

Probably about 90% of children, if they were honest, would agree with that philosophic viewpoint. Mummy then turns to ask her daughter if she'll also go on an errand. Granny's coming to stay the night so could Jinny buy a bunch of flowers for the bedroom? Now that's little short of a pain in the neck because Jinny wants to clean out her dolls' house this morning; however, mother says there'll be plenty of time for that, and she places a half crown on the mantelpiece for purchase of said flowers.

Unfortunately, both children forget their errands due to a rather heavy schedule and the Eileen Soper illustration shows them looking highly active - Jinny's tidying out her dolls' house, and behind her Johnny is busy drawing or painting in a book. An hour or two pass and the children suddenly realise they've forgotten all about visiting the shops so, as it's almost dinner-time, they plan to go afterwards.

No they won't. Today the shops close early so an afternoon excursion is out of the question.

Mummy is cross and also quite grieved when she finds the twins have been too absorbed in their own activities to bother about her requests; now there's no firewood for tomorrow, and Granny will have a flowerless bedroom. The twins have to sit through dinner with not one smile from their mother but as has been shown in other stories, the twins actually have a sincere regard for their parent and are remorseful about what has happened. Later in the playroom a couple of firm resolves are made in order to put things right, because the twins want their mother to smile at them again.

Firewood is required and so are flowers but, in a world of commerce, what can two young children do regarding that?

#1: Grandpa's toy soldiers were probably constructed from lead when he was but a nipper. The populace didn't worry (or know) too much about lead poisoning back then.

Could the toffees presented to Johnny have been Sharps? These were popular sweets back in the twins' day and maybe still are; the man with a monocle was often portrayed in old Sharps advertisements.

Oftentimes when searching for a particular Blyton story recalled from one's childhood, a fan may remember only a single character and in line with that, reviews can help with identification if all names are mentioned. In the first tale a Dr Browne is introduced.

#2: Toy guns that use explosive ammunition are still around. A small roll of paper embedded with tiny capsules of gunpowder - each about the size of a pin, is loaded into the pistol. Pulling the trigger causes the hammer to hit a capsule making the gunpowder explode with a 'Bang!'

#3: Johnny and Jinny could have tossed to decide who went to the shops ... surely one of them could have made both purchases.

Q: How much is half a crown worth? A: Two and a half shillings, or thirty pennies (not 'new' pennies though).

Lunch and dinner - what's the difference? It seems 'lunch' is strictly a midday meal whereas 'dinner' is supposed to be the main meal of the day.

Eileen Soper is back to supply the pictures for this book. There's a nice cover design, and the best illustration is (possibly) of Johnny watching the bus leave him stranded. There's also a cheerful sketch of Jinny handing Johnny his toffees.

Of this particularly attractive booklet collection there are, sadly, no more.