I’m hoping this book isn’t going to be continuing the feud between Noddy and Mr Plod as I wrote enough complaints about it last time. The fact that the cover features Mr Plod in hospital doesn’t fill me with confidence! Noddy and Mr Plod really remind me of the relationship between Mr Goon and Fatty though I usually felt Mr Goon deserved the bad treatment he got a lot more.
After several absences we are back to a typical start with the Milkman’s morning visit and Noddy’s nodding head. The main plot of the book is really about paint and not Mr Plod. A better title would have been Noddy and the Paint, perhaps!
First Noddy is sent off to fetch paint for the Tubby Bears next door and end up getting himself some paint, too. He worries Mr Plod might stop him for driving too fast but as it turns out Mr Plod is up a tall ladder painting the police station. From there he can see the whole of Toy Village and the visitors arriving at Noddy’s house.
Noddy heads home to greet Tessie Bear and Bumpy Dog who is as badly behaved as ever. Bruiny Bear (I can’t recall ever seeing that name before for the Tubby Bears’ son?) has returned Noddy’s red stool to him so they sit inside before Noddy has to go stop Bumpy Dog digging up his garden. Only then does he discover he has been sitting on a freshly painted stool and now has red paint on his shorts. Bruiny Bear strikes a second time while Noddy’s looking at the mess, and paints red spots all over Bumpy Dog.
Before anything can be done about it though, the news comes that Mr Plod has fallen off his ladder. Given their previous animosities Noddy was rather considerate earlier, hoping that Mr Plod wouldn’t fall off the ladder. When he hears that the policeman has hurt himself however, he begins to gush.
Well- I’m VERY VERY sorry… Mr Plod is cross with me sometimes, but I do like him, Big-Ears, and I think he’s a good policeman. I’m SO sorry he’s fallen off his ladder. I’ll take him to hospital at once in my car.
Well that’s a rather abrupt change of tune. Perhaps it’s just his impetuous nature but in previous stories Noddy has said some fairly harsh and angry things about Mr Plod.
Anyway, the toys of Toy Village are up in arms now that Mr Plod is in hospital.
Who will protect them against robbers? Who will direct traffic and make sure cars don’t go too fast? Who will stop Mickey Monkey being rude and pulling faces? they ask. Seems like Mr Plod is an exceptionally busy policeman. The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is that Big Ears will do the policing!
He’s certainly fierce but he can’t be everywhere at once (goodness knows how Mr Plod manages it) and there is a spate of robberies all of a sudden. Noddy does the investigating while Big Ears directs traffic, and he is remarkably clever in his deductions. Probably cleverer than he ever has been before and it isn’t long before he has rounded up the criminals (showing more bravery than ever before!)
So for a book with Mr Plod in the title he doesn’t actually feature very often! It’s a reasonable story if a little segmented. It would actually be useful as a story for showing children that hospitals aren’t scary as several characters say how awful it must be to be in hospital, then they find out Mr Plod is having a wonderful time. It might be an idea to omit the mention of his favourite cigarettes sitting on his bed, though!
One strange thing I noticed is when it comes time for Noddy to confront the thieves the book suddenly switches to Blyton talking to Noddy and it goes on for almost a whole page of “Be careful, Noddy… Hurry Noddy…” and so on. Then, instead of going back to the usual past-tense narrative (Noddy walked along the road) we have the rest of this chapter in present tense (Noddy walks along the road). Then in chapter eight we go back to past-tense. I’m sure children won’t notice that, but I did!