Amelia Jane Again is the second Amelia Jane book, coming after Naughty Amelia Jane, containing thirteen more stories originally published in Sunny Stories.
I’ve no idea what I paid for my copy (fourth impression, 1954), though I know bought it to replace the Dean edition I had as a child. (I miss the Rene Cloke illustrations and have been picturing them as I’ve read this tonight.)
AMELIA JANE AND THE SHOES
The toys dare to throw a party without inviting Amelia Jane, because they’re tired of her tricks. Amelia Jane pretends not to be bothered, but really she’s sulking, and when the toys take their shoes off to dance she stuffs them all down a mouse-hole. She refuses to admit to any wrong-doing when the toys ask her after discovering the shoes are gone, but she comes clean the next night. When the toys go to rescue their shoes, though, they’re all chewed up by the mice, and they’re very upset until the children that own them buy them nice new shoes. Amelia Jane is not impressed by this and wants new shoes of her own, but hers are too big to stuff down a mouse-hole. Instead she chucks them out of the window, and gets into trouble from the children for being careless and losing her shoes. When they’re found in the garden they’ve shrunk from the rain, making them painfully tight until the kind toys stretch them out for her. As with most of the stories, this one ends with Amelia Jane promising to be good, but we know that won’t last for long.
IT SERVES YOU RIGHT, AMELIA JANE
Here the toys have a picnic in the garden one sunny afternoon while the children are away. The toys don’t want Amelia Jane to join them, but she comes along anyway and the golly tricks her into climbing the apple tree, where she ends up stuck while they eat their picnic and play games.They refuse to help her down until they’ve had their fill, but have been nice enough to save her a bun (though the bear has sat on it by mistake and squashed it!) This is a slightly unusual tale, as Amelia Jane doesn’t do anything to the toys first, at least not that we get to read about.
AMELIA JANE GETS A FRIGHT
The naughty doll starts playing scary tricks on the toys, hiding under tables and growling, making a frightening face out of an apple. It’s the apple-face that’s her undoing, though, as the toys realise it’s her when it’s hazel-nut nose falls off. To stop her playing so many tricks the toys sew bells to her skirt, meaning they can always hear her coming. She figures it out after a few days and sticks the bells to one of the nursery curtains so they jingle every time the wind blows, making the toys think she’s hiding there so she can give them another fright.
The toys have to come up with something else, and decide the only thing for it is to give her a fright back. They make a snake out of stockings and pin it to her shoe (this reminds me of the plasticine-snake-tail Amelia Jane gave the bear in the last book, as well as how Elizabeth Allen [the Naughtiest Girl] pins a pair of stockings to Miss Scott’s skirt as she’s preparing her things for Whyteleaf.), so when she wakes up and they shout “look out, a snake,” she runs off, squealing, terrified it’s biting her (which reminds me of Raya Uma from The River of Adventure being terrified he was dying from his snake bite from a non-venomous snake. At least he’s really been bitten, though). The bear “rescues” her and teases her by pointing out it was just a stocking all along. I like this story as it goes back-and-forth nicely between Amelia Jane being the one playing tricks and the toys doing it too.
AMELIA JANE IN THE COUNTRY
This one references the earlier story It Serves You Right, Amelia Jane, as in that the toys said Amelia Jane could join them for a picnic if she was good. She has managed to be fairly good (ie only putting salt in the bears tea once,) so she is allowed to go along with the other toys into the country. They travel by wooden train and a small motor-car, Amelia Jane riding on the engine boiler as she won’t fit in the carriage, carrying her butterfly-net with her. The butterflies are too agile for her, though, and when the toys tease her about not knowing the names of the insects she loses her temper and starts catching them in her net instead. The toys are furious and get back in the train and car and leave for home without her. Unfortunately the train takes a wrong turning and falls into the river, and Amelia Jane comes to their rescue, using her butterfly net to fish them out of the water.
AMELIA JANE AND THE PIG
Amelia Jane finds an old ‘balloon-pig, quite flat,’ which Blyton helpfully describes for us: You blow them up like a balloons and they stand on four funny little legs, have a squiggly tail, and a nose that you blow into to make the pig fat. And when they go down they make a dreadful wailing noise. Of course, Amelia Jane automatically plans to use the pig to frighten the toys, and stuffs it into the doll’s house before she blows it up. When she lets go of the nose, it starts making a horrible noise (Eeee-oooo-ow-eeeee, oooooo – ooh!” as it appears in the book,) scaring all the toys and making them run around in a panic, as she tells them it’s the Tiddley-Widdley-Wonkies who apparently eat toys. Amelia Jane shouta at the “Tiddley-Widdley-Wonkies,” who immediately silence, as the pig has run out of air, making the toys think she has saved them.
She plays the same trick the next night, but the clockwork mouse is asleep in one of the beds inside the doll house, and gets a terrible fright when the wailing starts. He can’t get out as the pig is blocking the door, but realises it’s Amelia Jane plying a trick and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. He cleverly bursts the pig with a pin, and rushes out telling the toys he has defeated the T-W-Ws, but then shows them the pin and the pig. As is often the case the toys decide to give her a taste of her own medicine and arrange lots of horrible noises for her, squeaky paws on glass, pencils on slate, broken violins, and give her a fright, pretending the T-W-Ws are real after all, leaving her hiding in the toy cupboard for two nights.
AMELIA JANE IS TERRIBLY NAUGHTY
Amelia Jane starts pulling feathers out of the dolls’ eiderdowns, and makes a ‘snow-storm’ with them. She wants more feathers so climbs up to find an old cushion, but accidentally pours a tin of treacle over herself, making herself all sticky. Of course all the feathers then stick to her, and the toys all laugh themselves silly until she starts smacking them (I wonder what modern editions have here, surely not “Amelia Jane caught up a stick and ran at the golliwog. She hit him hard.” They’ll undoubtedly have changed the golly to another character but I imagine they’ve taken the hitting out too?) The cat then wanders in and mistakes Amelia Jane for a strange-looking bird and tries to eat her. He’s put off by the sticky treacle and leaves her be, but not before she’s been squashed and scratched. The toys clean her up but only after she’s promised to pick up every single feather and sew them back into the eiderdowns. I particularly miss the Rene Cloke illustrations for this story, so much so I may have to find my old copy and have a look through it soon.
There are seven more stories, but this post is already too long and it’s well after midnight, so I will leave them for another time!
Illustrations are by Sylvia I Venus (though for once they’re not from the cave, these are photos of the pages in my book, hence the dodgy quality and odd shadows!)
Next review: Amelia Jane Again! part 2