This Noddy book has been the hardest to review. It was supposed to be my 18th review from the series, but when I opened my copy I discovered that it was missing the first 20 pages. I then added a copy from eBay to my Christmas list, and my mum bought me it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the cover from Cheer Up Little Noddy… and the contents of Noddy Goes to Sea! The copy I’m finally going to review came all the way from Alton and was bought for me by Stef. Needless to say I asked her if it had all pages and matching contents and cover before I let her part with any money!
Noddy’s day starts with washing his car, but right away you could see trouble was coming.
Little Tubby Bear and Tommy Bear are watching and admiring his car and Tommy Bear says he can drive. Uh-oh. Noddy is silly enough to let them sit in his car. Double uh-oh.
Naturally, being naughty teddies they drive off in his car and it ends up smashed to pieces. For once, a catastrophe has occurred that isn’t truly Noddy’s fault and everyone is very sympathetic. Mr Golly takes the car for repair and various toys come to visit Noddy with jam tarts and chocolates.
Little Tubby has been spanked by his parents for his behaviour and is to give up what is in his piggy bank towards the repairs. Tommy Bear has run off. (No-one seems to be particularly concerned about a missing child, or a case of grand theft auto, however.)
Noddy’s plan (conceived with Big Ears who is a much brainier chap) is to barrow a borrow… no, morrow a barrow tomarrow… um, temporarily use a wheeled box to ferry shopping and things for people at sixpence a go.
In a place like Toy Village this sort of venture can only be a success. Toys always have a spare sixpence for someone else to do a boring or time-consuming chore for them. I actually wonder how anyone manages to catch a train or get their shopping home when Noddy’s on holiday or on a day off or without his car for whatever reason. Despite there being enough traffic for Mr Plod to have to control it nobody else (or at least none of the regular characters) seem to own any sort of vehicle. And I’m looking too deeply into a fantasy toy-world created for small children, I know that.
Anyway, the barrow-jobs turn out to be hard-going on Noddy due to lots of heavy loads. He upgrades to a hand-cart after a day or two, but even then he’s tired out as everyone is giving him jobs as they think it’s helpful. Big Ears thinks about getting a horse to help, only he doesn’t know anyone with a horse… And straight away a travelling saucepan sales man comes along, with a donkey.
NODDY AND THE SAUCEPAN MAN
As happens fairly often with Blyton, this is a little cross-over, or cameo if you will. Big-Ears calls him the Old Saucepan Man, and he wears a saucepan on his head. The constant clattering of the pots and pans has made him quite deaf as well. I’ve not got around to reading the Enchanted Wood/Faraway Tree books yet but even I know that this is the same Saucepan Man that appears there.
All too conveniently the Saucepan Man is looking for someone to look after Ee-Aw his donkey while he goes off visiting his aunt, Katie Kettle. Despite having thought about getting Noddy a horse not two pages ago, Big-Ears is outraged. He has no where to keep a donkey! It takes until the Saucepan Man has gone off in a huff before he thinks to let Noddy have the donkey and solve two problems at once.
Not much really happens after that. Noddy goes back to working, using Ee-Aw to pull the cart, and apart from one upset when Bumpy-Dog send Ee-Aw running off, it goes well. Saucepan Man then comes back for Ee-Aw unexpectedly early, but it’s fine as Noddy’s car is repaired and life can go back to normal.
Tommy Bear never turns up again, incidentally.
After waiting so long to read this, it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment.