Last time I looked at the first editions and their half-dozen artists, plus some mystery editions using the same artwork.
This time we jump on to some more modern styles… I would say that you have been warned but actually these are all fairly inoffensive which makes a nice change!
The odd one out
In the mid 1980s Macdonald Purnell produced the series in square hardback with very bright covers by Edgar Hodges – though it appears that only the first 20 titles were printed. 24 books is quite a long series, to be fair, but it’s still a shame.
I actually rather like these – the covers anyway – they are quite appealing in their brightness and Noddy doesn’t look too different from his original incarnation.
This post isn’t supposed to be about the contents but I have to add that these particular editions are rather heavily abridged. I assume they are aimed at even younger children than Noddy normally is. I have two of them and one day hopefully I’ll do a text comparison but I think it will be quite hard as so much has changed!
From childish to grown-up
Strangely the remaining books all have the slightly more grown-up format of a standard-sized paperback (ie taller and thinner than the originals). Of course children read paperbacks but they are the size/format you associate with books for children of 5 and above, whereas the original Noddys were closer to the board book format for younger children. There’s also something about the solid colours and more white/cream that age these up.
The first set are are 2008 Harper Collins paperback editions where the original cover (or sometimes internal) artwork has been used, but only the characters appear without their background. I think you rather lose some of the context there, and they are much less appealing despite the attempts to add colour and interest with the coloured lettering and the banner at the top and bottom.
Strangely books 14-24 were omitted (according to the Cave, anyway, which is normally extremely accurate), and even more strangely so were books 5 and 11.
Then there are some 2010 Harper Collins paperback editions, even fewer of these appear in the Cave so presumably it is another much reduced series. This time they only did books 1, 3, 6 and 7. Perhaps these were the most popular from the previous set?
These again use original artwork cut out from their backgrounds (the same pieces as the previous set on 3 of the 4). This time they are placed on solid-colour backgrounds though if you look closely you can see the Enid Blyton signature repeats faintly rather like a watermark. Although these are more colourful than the last I think these look rather cheap – a quick copy and paste job!
And lastly we have the Hodder 2016 set which I believe are hardbacks, and also use original artwork. They use a fuller piece of artwork from the internal illustrations along with Noddy in coloured letters and a different coloured spine.
This set comprises books 1-9 and 12.
These are probably the most attractive of the modern sets as they have used the most original artwork.
And that’s it – Noddy has had surprisingly few redesigns given his popularity, but then, perhaps they just didn’t want to mess with a good thing! It’s nice to see the original illustrator(s) work being reused so many times as well. Van Der Beek certainly created an iconic style that couldn’t be bested.