I abandoned part one a bit abruptly (it was after midnight and it was already really rather long) so here I am continuing with part two and the other seven stories in the book.
The next story in the book is Amelia Jane is Tired. It starts with Amelia Jane and the teddy bear going to the shops where she buys a watering can and he buys an umbrella. On the way home they both get tired, and the teddy bear refuses to carry Amelia Jane the rest of the way when she begs him. Instead he has a rest under a tree and Amelia Jane uses her new watering can to make him think it is raining. The teddy bear is very pleased he can put up his umbrella now, and when Amelia Jane sits herself on top, he simply thinks it’s heavy because of the rain and so carries her all the way home! It’s nice to have a story where Amelia Jane is more mischievous than malicious, but she still gets her comeuppance as she has left her new watering can behind!
In A Shock for Amelia Jane we are told visiting toys to the nursery are always shocked by Amelia Jane’s behaviour. Examples given include Betsy-May’s best doll and Billy-Bob’s floating duck. (Betsy-May and Billy-Bob are Blyton characters from their own books.)
In an attempt to teach her some manners they concoct a plan to shock her, one that involves a large balloon, paint, hair, a coat and a shawl. Mrs Good-Manners then comes to visit the nursery, her large round head wobbling over her shawl-covered shoulders. She’s terribly polite, as one would expect with a name like Good-Manners, but Amelia Jane is very rude to her despite the toys’ warnings. Mrs Good-Manners’ head wobbles alarmingly at Amelia Jane’s rudeness until it appears she must surely burst with rage, and burst she does, her head exploding and her body tumbling to the ground. It’s a lot less gruesome than it sounds of course, but Amelia Jane is horrified and upset at what she’s done to the poor woman and promises to be a much nicer doll in future.
Of course it doesn’t last very long and in Amelia Jane’s Hair Goes Straight! she is quarrelling with the clockwork clown over a brick picture puzzle. She deliberately messes it up when he doesn’t want help and then throws two pieces out of the window. The clockwork clown then loses his temper and behaves rather badly, throwing a brick at her, and she then throws all the bricks out of the window.
It starts to rain then and Amelia Jane feels bad as she knows the puzzle will be spoiled and she did enjoy playing with it. She rushes out to rescue it, getting soaked and losing her curls in the process.
The toys feel sorry for her and use papers from the kite’s tail to curl her hair again, meaning she can go off to a party the next day.
Amelia Jane and the Snow-Doll is one of my favourite stories, though the premise has sort of already been used in Amelia Jane in the Snow which is in Naughty Amelia Jane. The toys go out to play in the snow and as always Amelia Jane is tiresome, throwing snow-balls at them all. When she gets bored of that she makes herself a snow-baby, dressing in in dolls’ clothes from the nursery. The toys build a fine snowman and laugh at Amelia Jane when she takes her snow-baby into the warm nursery for a nap. I think we all know what happens to snow when it gets warmed up, and Amelia Jane finds herself very cold, wet and sneezy.
Amelia Jane is Naughty Again features a canary called Goldie who lives in a high-up cage in the nursery. Amelia Jane, being a nosy sort of doll clambers up on a chair to have a look in his cage. That’s not enough for her though, and she decides to let him out to fly around the nursery. While Goldie is enjoying his freedom Amelia Jane decides to become a canary and climbs into the cage, which is promptly shut up by the other toys. The toys then manage to trap Goldie in the dolls’ house, so when Nurse comes in she gets rather a surprise. She spanks Amelia Jane (it would be interesting to know whether that remains in modern editions.) This story is odd in a way, as it breaks the ‘rule’ that the grown-ups and children don’t know that the toys come to life. You would think Nurse’s reaction would be to blame the children for letting out the bird and putting a doll in its place, rather than punishing what she’s supposed to think is an inanimate object. There are some tales (for example Amelia Jane and the Shoes from earlier in this book) where the children punish Amelia Jane, but children do that sort of thing.
In Poor Amelia Jane a new family move in next door and have a pond dug in their garden, complete with a fountain. The toys sneak out one night taking toy boats and ducks to play. Amelia Jane encourages the clockwork mouse to take a duck-ride to the middle of the deep pond to look at the bowl there, and while he is exploring she finds a tap and turns it on. The poor mouse gets caught in the stream of water from the fountain and is left bobbing up and down in the air. The tap simply won’t turn off though, no matter how hard they try, and so Amelia Jane has no option but to wade out waist-deep in the cold water to rescue him, leaving her soaked through and with straight, wet hair again. Perhaps the toys remember the last time that happened, as they simply get some curl-papers and sort her hair with no mention of the kite this time.
The last story is Amelia Jane and the Drum. After Nurse is done washing and ironing the toys’ clothes (she must have a lot of time on her hands!) she leaves them to air in font of the fire. Amelia Jane makes the toys play with her thought it’s really too hot for it and she ends up opening a window so they can cool off. Unfortunately it is windy, and the clothes start to get blown into the fire. This is were the drum comes in handy and Amelia Jane uses it to make the children and Nurse come running in order to rescue the clothes. It’s a little too late, though, and so the doll ends up giving the gollywog her hair ribbon to hide the singed waistband of his trousers, and promising to sew some hankies together to make a new petticoat for the baby doll.
A nice mixture of stories in this book, some where she’s outright nasty and others where she is just foolish or selfish. I’m sure if I was one of the toys I wouldn’t be nearly so forgiving. She may often do her best to undo her mischief; but she still does horrible things in the first place!
I haven’t had a chance to look out my other copy of the book (with Rene Cloke illustrations) but I might do at some point and do a comparison.
Illustrations are by Sylvia I Venus, and are photos I took of my copy of the book.
Next review: More About Amelia Jane part 1