This will probably be my last Noddy review for a while, at least until I can get my hands on the three titles I don’t have. My Noddy and the Aeroplane is one of the slightly newer hardbacks which is very similar to the original but with a few minor changes.
On mine Noddy appears in larger lettering above and the aeroplane, the letters yellow in the middle and changing to green then blue towards each end, and on a black background. The lettering on the spine is all plain black as is Noddy book 24 on the back.
I don’t know if Blyton intended this to be the final Noddy book but it starts with Noddy coming home at the end of a long day’s work, which seems quite apt. It was written in 1963 (the same year as Five Are Together Again, and two years after The Mystery of Banshee Towers) and comes around the time many people agree that Blyton’s skill as a writer began to decline. I think it’s fair to say this book suffers the same fate as the two I just mentioned, being a rather weaker instalment not to mention riddled with small errors.
So anyway, Noddy brings his car back after a day of driving in muddy weather whatever that is. Presumably rainy weather which produces mud but it rather sounds like it’s the mud that’s falling from the sky. And not an error on Blyton’s part but Noddy’s car is described as dirty, filthy and muddy, yet is perfectly clean in the accompanying illustrations.
Noddy’s very tired and Tubby (Little Tubby Bear) is attempting to turn over a new leaf behaviourwise and he ends up cleaning Noddy’s car as a good deed.
They don’t really contribute much to the plot but it’s still nice to see Tessie and (the) Bumpy-Dog (sometimes referred to with a the, sometimes not) turning up for tea and cake with Noddy.
Noddy has firmly told Tubby that he is NOT to drive his car, not even as a reward for cleaning it. He can’t be trusted to drive safely, and besides, the car is out of petrol. Surprisingly Tubby simply cleans the car beautifully and then eats four slices of ginger cake as his reward. Even though he has claimed the car has no petrol at least twice, Noddy still offers to drive Tessie Bear home, though she says she’d rather walk with Bumpy-Dog. She also says she’ll never bring Bumpy-Dog out to tea again, though earlier she was surprised that he was there at all, having been left at home.
Everything seems well in Toyland until the next morning. Noddy’s car won’t start. Instead it says eekoff over and over, and jerks about. Naturally the suspicion falls on Tubby who conveniently is no-where to be found. Big-Ears surmises that the car has hiccups and must have ‘drunk’ something that has upset it. Conveniently that something was contained in bottles that have been left in Noddy’s garage.
This being Enid Blyton and all, that something just happens to be ginger-beer. Mrs Tubby Bear confirms they are missing some bottles and Big Ears gets a confession from little Tubby who rather thought ginger-beer would make an acceptable substitute for petrol. The Tubby Bears are so sorry for the trouble their son has caused that they arrange for their pilot cousin to bring his plane over and lend it to Noddy while his car is repaired. (Incidentally Mr Golly is now just the garage-man). The poor cousin then has to then take the bus home while Noddy flies around. Couldn’t Noddy have flown the kind chap home?
Naturally Mr Plod is quite concerned that Noddy, hardly the most road-safety conscious toy, now has an aeroplane to cause chaos with. He argues that Noddy has no permit and therefore can’t fly.
Big-Ears argues back with the claim that HE organise the loan of the plane and is paying for it out of his own pocket. That entirely contradicts what’s said earlier. His solution regarding the permit is for Noddy to take lessons with the instructor, who apparently turns up right away and teaches Noddy (who has already flown the plane) to fly the plane. There’s no explanation as to who the instructor is, where he comes from, and he’s barely seen or mentioned. He seems to do a good job though, teaching Noddy how to take off and land a plane fairly vertically like it was a helicopter. No need for runways in Toyland!
Noddy uses the plane like his taxi for a time, which all goes fine until the end of the week where he manages to accidentally fly off with Tubby hanging from a wing, land on a suitcase, drop the suitcase from a height into a train, knock someone’s hat off, squash some rose bushes and then finally knock Mr Plod from his bike. In a rather rushed ending that all turns out to be OK as Noddy’s car is fixed and therefore he won’t be flying the plane any more.
At the end there is still the message Look out for next Noddy book, so perhaps Blyton wasn’t ready to call it a day with Noddy – or it could simply refer to the various Noddys that were still being published in other series.
Not a terrible Noddy by any stretch – but the various errors do detract from the story. I also think that the Tubby Bears might simply have borrowed or rented a car for Noddy rather than arranging for an aeroplane. If Blyton desperately wanted to bring in an aeroplane there were probably more reasonable ways to do it.