This is number four in the series of Noddy books, and one of the ones I picked up on eBay recently. Unfortunately the front board is completely detached from the rest of the book (which is more than just a damaged spine in my mind, which is what the listing said, but that’s neither here nor there), so I will be reading it with that set to one side.
This book is a little different from the others I have read so far as the first four chapters are each a separate story on their own and are pretty much unconnected to the others. Each is only about seven pages long (and full of illustrations) but each is very much complete in itself and has a conclusion. The remaining chapters form one longer story which isn’t connected to any of the earlier ones.
One thing I’m interested in when reading the Noddy books is the “rules” of Toyland and the societies within it. Much like in any fantasy work there are usually some sort of rule about what’s alive and what isn’t and how the world works. Though this is Blyton and that sort of attention to detail isn’t usually a big part of her stories.
I’ve made a note of some random things I’ve learnt about Toyland.
Trees are easily knocked over (presumably they are just wooden carvings?) yet Noddy can fall into a bush of sharp thorns.
Elephants (and I imagine other animals) are somehow employed by Noah to be part of the ark, as one of them ‘gets a day off for a holiday’ in the first story.
One thing I’m lost on is whether or not all the animals are living toys or not. I mean if you can believe that a wooden man can walk and talk it’s not too much of a stretch to believe that he can eat and drink. But can toy hens really lay eggs? This is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night.
Toy dogs chase toy cats though, so they at least imitate real life.
The bouncing balls in the second story have their own consciousness and personality, they talk to each other and get angry when Noddy bumps into one of them with his car and end up chasing him down the road. However, the clockwork clown ‘gets’ one for his own (I assume he bought it) and it follows him home like a dog and takes orders.
We get introduced to lots of new characters and locations with the different stories, like the clockwork clown and the Village of Bouncing Balls as well as Mr Straw and Toy Farm.
We also properly meet our first golliwog who wants Noddy to take him to another new place called the Dark Wood. I think this is one of the more controversial stories as I’m already suspicious of this Golly. Why does he want to go to the Dark Wood at midnight? Well in the words of Admiral Ackbar – “It’s a trap!” The gollies steal Noddy’s car and clothes and leave him in the woods.
Now that’s pretty awful behaviour but nowhere do I get the impression that all gollies are bad, yet they have been changed to goblins in later editions. Anyway, it’s Big-Ears to the rescue and of course everything turns out fine in the end.
Just one last thing I thought I would mention, and I may be completely alone in this, but I’m not a fan of the little songs Noddy sings. There’s nothing wrong with them but I find myself skimming over them to get on with the story pretty much every time one pops up.
And that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say for this book. Another good read, and it was good to have Noddy fall into trouble without it being his own fault for being stupid.