So we’re back to #16 in the series this week, for my 16th review. I was supposed to do this one last time but got the order wrong!
This is a strange little story, I have to say.
We begin with the postman instead of the milkman, and Noddy receives an invite to a party at Big Ears’ toadstool house. Tessie Bear, the grown up Tubby Bears, the Wobbly Man and Miss Fluffy Cat are also invited according to the postie who has a lot of gossip to impart along with letters.
After a minor incident with a Toy Soldier and his gun Noddy gets himself ready for the party and uses his car to ferry some of the guests there. It turns out that it’s the birthday of Whiskers (Big Ears’ cat) and that’s what the party is in aid of. Everyone is glad that Tessie Bear has left Bumpy Dog at home they know he would cause chaos.
You can see where this is going, can’t you? Yes. Suddenly there’s barking in the distance. The Bumpy Dog then gatecrashes the party and Whiskers runs off.
Big Ears is absolutely furious and does a lot of shouting before using his stick to hit Bumpy Dog – which I’m sure will have been edited out in newer editions. Saying that, it’s illustrated on the back cover and I wonder if that’s been changed as well.
Big Ears blames Tessie Bear for not locking Bumpy Dog up securely and the party breaks up with very bad feelings between Noddy and Big Ears.
Of course nobody holds grudges very long in Toy Land and the next day Noddy goes to check on Big Ears, to see if Whiskers has come back. He hasn’t and Big Ears has gone to search for him.
Noddy and Big Ears end up in Toy Cat Town as they think that’s where Whiskers might have gone, even if he is a regular cat and not one who talks or wears clothes. Some of the Toy Cats look down on “common” cats who walk on four paws and only say miaow and hiss.
Anyway, Whiskers only passed through Toy Cat Town on his way to Wizard Town. Noddy is apprehensive of tangling with wizards, but being a brownie, Big Ears is unfazed. Wizard Town is full of houses with towers and quickly find a shop selling black cats, which of course, are good for helping wizards with spells.
Big Ears faces off with the first wizard he comes across and snaps his wand (I wonder if he had problems after that, like Ron Weasley, and ended up dribbling slugs.) He then finds out the shop has sold Whiskers to Wily Wizard for sixpence.
Naturally they then seek out Wily Wizard, who turns out to be not that wily at all. He just talks and talks and goes on and rambles and doesn’t let anyone get a word in edgeways. Between that and his ardour for Noddy’s car it means Big Ears is able to fetch Whiskers with little trouble.
I’m not going to give away the ending but it’s not as simple as Big Ears just walking, or driving, off with Whiskers. Wily Wizard not being that wily and Noddy being very generous contribute to the solution, as well as some rather un-Blytonian trickery from the good guys.
So there you have it! I prefer the Noddys with an element of mystery to them and in general I would place the magical or fantasy tales (from any of Blyton series) at the bottom of my preferences.