I can’t believe I’m almost done with the Noddy series now. I only have one more that I can review, then I’ll have to source the three I’m lacking. (Those would be Noddy Meets Father Christmas, Noddy and Tessie Bear and Cheer Up Little Noddy. I do have the last one but it is missing the first 18 or so pages!)
As with Noddy and the Bunkey I start with a question before I’ve opened the book. What, or indeed who, are the tootles? Judging by the cover they’re some sort of musical people, and I’m sure I will discover more as I read.
The tale begins with Noddy in trouble for speeding (yet again!) and then comes along a horse-drawn caravan, also speeding. Out of it pours a band of raggedy children (at least 8 as shown in the illustration). The driver of the caravan introduces himself as Mr Tootle. His occupation: tootling. His children – or indeed his toots – are Tommy Toot, Timmy Toot, Tilly Toot, Tabitha Toot…
As silly as it all is I do like all the alliteration and all the toot/tootle/tootlings.
So Mr Tootle has a tootle which is a sort of recorder or flute which he plays. It is somewhat Pied-Piper like as suddenly even Mr Plod wants to dance along. Dancing does not put him in a good mood, however, and he refuses to let the Tootle family park up their caravan and stay in Toy Village.
There wouldn’t be much of a story if the Tootles obeyed Mr Plod and really went away, though! So naturally Noddy discovers they have set up camp in the field at the bottom of his garden. He, Bruiny Bear and Bumpy-Dog pay them a visit and the little toots persuade him to bring his little car around to drive them about. This goes fine until three of them drive the car themselves and run it into a ditch. Mr Tootle promises to have it pulled out by the garage but it isn’t done by Noddy’s bed time and so he goes home without his car.
I was already getting a bad feeling about the Tootles. Mrs Tootle is not ill, despite what her husband said to Mr Plod while asking to stay. He also seems to not try very hard to get Noddy’s car sorted.
It comes as no surprise really, when the next morning the car is missing. Mr Plod is completely unsympathetic to Noddy’s plight; blaming him for getting involved with the troublesome Tootles in the first place. He certainly doesn’t intend to go traipsing about the whole of Toyland looking for them, no, Noddy can just make do with using the Tootles’ old horse that they left behind.
The Tootles’ horse has a terrible case of the sneezes, however, and rather enjoys eating leaves from trees instead of actually travelling from a to b. After an unfortunate crash with Big Ears the horse bolts, and leaves Noddy without even a sneezy mode of transport. He and Big Ears try to follow the horse and happen across the Tootles and more importantly his car. They claim he willingly swapped his car for their horse, and Noddy is rightfully outraged.
Mr Tootle, as if he is being so very generous, says Noddy can have his car back IF he returns their horse. Of course the horse has run off though, so it all seems hopeless. Using his tootle Mr Tootle tootles and makes Big Ears and Noddy dance, preventing them from doing very much about the car. It has the side effect of bringing the horse to them, though!
This is another story with a bit of a wishy-washy ending. Ok, so Noddy gets his car back but the Tootles intend to move off the next morning before Mr Plod could do anything about the theft. They never admit to having done anything wrong, nor do they apologise. Mr Tootle has left a little tootle for Noddy, though, as if that then makes it all fine.
Maybe it’s just me but I think such blatant wrong-doing deserves punishment!