My eighteenth Noddy should have been Cheer Up, Little Noddy which I was going to review last week. Unfortunately when I opened it I discovered the first 18 pages were missing (what a swizz!) and that put paid to a review. So this week I’m skipping onto the next in the series which I was able to pull from my new bookcase instead of from a plastic box.
Noddy’s tale, this time, opens on a very windy morning. It blows Noddy’s hat off and then it blows off Mr Plod’s helmet. Noddy really is most disrespectful to the policeman, even if he is annoyingly intent on catching Noddy up to no good. He had left his car on a corner with Bumpy Dog looking after it but being a troublesome animal Bumpy Dog went off and left it. I’m not sure that Bumpy Dog could really be considered responsible for a vehicle but either way Noddy is in trouble for his bad parking.
Mr Plod says he will lock up Noddy’s car for a week, and so Noddy says “I SHAN’T let you,” which somehow seems worse than his usual tantrums and protestations. While Mr Plod is distracted by his escaping helmet he decides to hop in his car and drive off – that way he can still go to the fair that Miss Fluffy cat has told him about.
Thus begins a life on the run for little Noddy! He manages to go about his usual day at first, ferrying his passengers around Toy Village but when he returns home for lunch Mr Plod is waiting for him! He is spotted by the policeman but drives off in a hurry – buying a sandwich for lunch before taking Tessie Bear to the fair. She isn’t too concerned about gallivanting about with a wanted criminal, she just worries that Mr Plod may find them at the fair.
Bumpy Dog turns up at the fair too and makes himself somewhat useful fetching hats which have blown off in the continuing winds. Suddenly a lot happens all at once. Mr Plod arrives at the fair and loses his helmet to the wind. Bumpy Dog catches the helmet and runs off with it. Noddy and Tessie Bear try to evade Mr Plod and run into old Saucepan Man (the same Saucepan Man as lives in The Faraway Tree perhaps?). They’ve met him before apparently – and Ee-aw his donkey – but that must have happened in one of the books I haven’t yet read. Anyway, at this point Noddy also realises he’s lost all his money through a hole in his pocket and decides to go looking for it.
So we have Mr Plod searching for Noddy, Noddy searching for his lost money and Bumpy Dog running about with the policeman’s helmet.
Noddy’s search for his money is fruitless but Ee-aw allows him and Tessie to ride for free and they do so, Noddy making up a song to sing along the way. (Not the most discrete behaviour when you’re hiding from the police but such a Noddy thing to do.) It’s mentioned that the Saucepan Man is almost deaf from the saucepans he sells clanging so I think he must be the same character – Blyton does do that on occasion especially with her fantasy stories, crossing over characters.
Bumpy Dog returns minus the helmet, and gives Noddy some of the pennies he had earned by catching so many hats and so he and Tessie Bear head over to the coconut shy for a turn. One of the coconuts has a face painted on it and a familiar blue helmet on top…
After winning themselves a coconut they hear the bad news that Mr Plod has managed to find Noddy’s car even if he couldn’t find the little toy himself. He has taken off the steering wheel so that Noddy can’t drive his car and Noddy is furious.
I’ll get his helmet and stamp on it! I’ll pull off his buttons!
Thankfully Big Ears is a bit more sensible than Noddy and points out he’d end up in jail alongside his steering wheel if he did that. Noddy hatches an alternative plan instead, when he sees Mr Plod getting a ride on the roundabout all on his own. He bribes the roundabout man into giving Mr Plod a very long ride indeed, and when he goes off to buy some food Noddy speeds up the roundabout to make Mr Plod giddy and sick.
The roundabout man rescues him at last but it’s Tessie Bear that manages to persuade him to give up the steering wheel – by promising to show him where his helmet it. Instead of being grateful he’s furious at the coconut made to look like himself and scares everyone at the fair into hiding – while Noddy and Tessie Bear escape in Noddy’s car.
I kept expecting Noddy to have his comeuppance all the way through as he really behaves quite badly. I don’t exactly like Mr Plod either (neither do the residents of Toy Village if the coconut incident is anything to go by) but that doesn’t make Noddy’s behaviour OK. I swing back and forth over whether I like Noddy as I read these books and after this title the answer has to be ‘No’.