This is one of my tattier Noddys as it’s missing its spine completely. It’s just about still in one piece though.
I’ve noticed that most of the stories start at breakfast, but there’s no visit from the milkman this time. Instead Bert Monkey turns up and Noddy’s really quite rude to him. It turns out Bert Monkey is a bit troublesome, or at least his tail is, but Noddy is almost uncharacteristically judgemental and horrible to him.
Bert has a tale of woe (of his own doing) whereby his grandma gave him a pencil case full of pencils and things but no rubber. His tail (which seems to have a life of its own but it’s never clear how much control Bert really has of it) then stole a nice big rubber to go with the set.
Now his grandma is mad because it’s a magic rubber. It has the power to rub out anything at all, not just drawings. She’s going to spank Bert for a month if he doesn’t return it to her and he wants Noddy’s help to do that.
He needs Noddy’s help because after stealing the rubber he decided he didn’t want it or the paintbox and sold it to Sam Skittle from Skittle Town. He gives Noddy a lot of money – way more than his usual sixpence – to drive him there.
Reluctantly Noddy agrees and takes him there, noting that he doesn’t have to beep his horn or drive carefully as skittles love to be knocked over. Nothing in Toy Town is simple though and when they go to see Sam Skittle he’s given the rubber away to Miss Harriet Kitten who loves in Toy-Cat Village.
Miss Harriet Kitten seems very nice and sweet and Noddy is very taken with her but she refuses to give the rubber back, even in return for an ice cream. She does however agree to give it back if Noddy gives her a ride in his car. Unfortunately the rubber has rubbed a hole in her pocket and gotten lost at some point. Bert Monkey thinks she knew that all along but Noddy, who’s fallen for her feminine charms it would seem, stand up for her.
Noddy’s clever enough to make a sign offering a reward to whoever returns the rubber – I’m surprised any number of people with large rubbers didn’t turn up. I suppose it would have been easy enough to test if it was the right one by rubbing it on a table or chair! Only one person comes though and tells them it has been picked up by one of the Mr Noahs (apparently there are many of them) from Noah’s Ark Town, specifically Mr Nat Noah.
Or arriving in Noah’s Ark Town there are lots of Arks of different sizes and lots of Mr Noahs who all look identical. One of six matching Mr Noahs gives them directions to Mr Nat Noah (I bet all the Noahs have N names just like all the Skittles probably have S names!) and it transpires that his son Shem has traded it to Mr Tubby bear for an ice-cream.
Phew, so after all that the rubber has ended up right back next door to Noddy’s house. They rush back as apparently Mr Tubby Bear is going away – and when they arrive the baker says they’ve already gone. Noddy and Bert plan a little breaking and entering to try to find the rubber but through the window they see Little Tubby Bear is at home – and he’s rubbing out bits of everything!
It seems Mr and Mrs Tubby Bear have left Little Tubby in the care of one of Mr Nat Noah’s wooden dogs. They could well live to regret that if Little Tubby has his way – he’ll have rubbed out their whole house by the time they come back.
Noddy and Bert are left to tackle him and after a bit of a scuffle Noddy gets his hands on the magic rubber. Little Tubby flees to his room before his nose or mouth can be rubbed out but it’s too late for Bert as during the fight the tip of his tail got erased.
Noddy doesn’t hand it over quite yet though, he wants to remove a shelf from his cupboard and a stain from his carpet. He goes a bit further too and, while Bert sleeps, he rubs out his whole naughty tail!
He doesn’t even notice when he gets up to take the rubber back to his grandma, he thinks it’s still safely tucked in his pocket.
This was an amusing story I thought, with just enough instances of the rubber being passed on to be interesting without it going on too long.
Noddy and the Magic Rubber is the first title to be illustrated by Peter Wienk and Robert Tyndall (Mary Brooks did #8 Noddy Gets Into Trouble and the first seven were by Harmsen Van der Beek) and they do a flawless job of continuing the series. I don’t think any child would have noticed any difference as the new books came out. They also do a great job of showing the effects of the rubber – where bits of cushions have gone in the middle and parts of chairs and so on.