The Enid Blyton Society
Enid Blyton's Book of the Year
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Book Details...

First edition: 1941
Publisher: Evans Brothers
Illustrator: Harry Rountree, music Alec Rowley
Category: Nature and Other Annual Courses
Genre: Mixed
Type: Courses and Encyclopaedias

On This Page...

Reprint Covers
List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

Reprints
  1. New Year's Party
    Story: Teachers World No.1805 Dec 29, 1937
  2. The Blackbird is Singing
    Poem: Teachers World No.1701 Jan 1, 1936
  3. Now, Brer Rabbit!
    Story: Teachers World No.1723 Jun 3, 1936
  4. Snow
    Poem: Teachers World No.1705 Jan 29, 1936
  5. Black Bibs
    Story: Teachers World No.1756 Jan 20, 1937
  6. Tree Buds
    Poem: Teachers World No.1809 Jan 26, 1938
  7. The School Snowman
    Story: Teachers World No.1858 Jan 4, 1939
  8. On the Bird-Table
    Poem: Teachers World No.1644 Nov 28, 1934
  9. Stones for a Horse
    Story: Teachers World No.1658 Mar 6, 1935
  10. The First Lamb
    Poem: Teachers World No.1707 Feb 12, 1936
  11. What They Did at Miss Brown's School
    Story: Specially Written
  12. Mr. Stick-it-up
    Play: Specially Written
  13. Goose Feathers
    Poem: Teachers World No.1802 Dec 8, 1937
  14. The Blackbirds' Secret
    Story: Teachers World No.1652 Jan 23, 1935
  15. The Animals' Prayer
    Poem: Teachers World No.1823 May 4, 1938
  16. Brer Bear's Band
    Story: Teachers World No.1768 Apr 14, 1937
  17. Good Advice
    Poem: Teachers World No.1614 May 2, 1934
  18. The Funny Dream
    Story: Teachers World No.1757 Jan 27, 1937
  19. The Goblin Shepherd
    Poem: Teachers World No.1652 Jan 22, 1935
  20. The Elm-Tree and the Willow
    Story: Teachers World No.1691 Oct 23, 1935
  21. The Cautious Snail
    Poem: Teachers World No.1824 May 11, 1938
  22. The Lion and the Mouse
    Play: Specially Written
  23. Little Old Ladies
    Poem: Specially Written
  24. Spring Folk
    Story: Teachers World No.1870 Mar 29, 1939
  25. Pink-Pink!
    Poem: Teachers World No.1662 Apr 3, 1935
  26. The Tale of Wattle Weasel
    Story: Teachers World No.1801 ... 1802 Dec 1 ... 8, 1937
  27. What Gillian Saw at the Farm
    Poem: Teachers World No.1674 Jun 26, 1935
  28. The Pixies and the Primroses
    Story: Teachers World No.1770 Apr 28, 1937
  29. The Happy Hedgehog
    Poem: Teachers World No.1874 Apr 26, 1939
  30. Ripple Gets a Necklace
    Story: Teachers World No.1869 Mar 22, 1939
  31. The Herald
    Poem: Teachers World No.1658 Mar 6, 1935
  32. The Runaway Rabbit
    Play: Specially Written
  33. Oo-hoo!
    Poem: Specially Written
  34. A Pair of Blue Trousers
    Story: Teachers World No.1732 Aug 5, 1936
  35. The Angry Gnome
    Poem: Teachers World No.1826 May 25, 1938
  36. Brer Rabbit Gets the Meat
    Story: Teachers World No.1791 Sep 22, 1937
  37. April Showers
    Poem: Teachers World No.1717 Apr 22, 1936
  38. The Surprising Easter Egg
    Story: Teachers World No.1765 Mar 24, 1937
  39. Easter
    Poem: Teachers World No.1820 Apr 13, 1938
  40. The Little Clockwinder
    Story: Teachers World No.1622 Jun 27, 1934
  41. The Dandelion Clock
    Poem: Teachers World No.1629 Aug 15, 1934
  42. The Old Boot
    Story: Teachers World No.1661 Mar 27, 1935
  43. Who Made This Nest?
    Poem: Teachers World No.1713 Mar 25, 1936
  44. Brer Rabbit Raises a Dust
    Play: Specially Written
  45. Springtime is Coming
    Poem: Specially Written
  46. Hide-and-Seek
    Story: Teachers World No.1665 Apr 24, 1935
  47. The Cuckoo Speaks
    Poem: Teachers World No.1828 Jun 8, 1938
  48. Brer Rabbit's Boast
    Story: Teachers World No.1821 Apr 20, 1938
  49. Summer Visitors
    Poem: Teachers World No.1719 May 6, 1936
  50. The Meddlesome Butterfly
    Story: Teachers World No.1827 Jun 1, 1938
  51. Speedwell
    Poem: Teachers World No.1877 May 17, 1939
  52. Pixie Pockets
    Story: Teachers World No.1718 Apr 29, 1936
  53. The Caterpillar and the Butterfly
    Poem: Teachers World No.1624 Jul 11, 1934
  54. The Mothers' Meeting
    Play: Specially Written
  55. May Time
    Poem: Specially Written
  56. A Farmyard Charade
    Story: Teachers World No.1660 Mar 20, 1935
  57. The Bee and the Flower
    Poem: Teachers World No.1789 Sep 8, 1937
  58. Brer Rabbit Borrows a Fiddle
    Story: Teachers World No.1826 May 25, 1938
  59. Riches
    Poem: Teachers World No.1879 May 31, 1939
  60. The Tail That Wouldn't Wag
    Story: Teachers World No.1727 Jul 1, 1936
  61. The Swallows
    Poem: Teachers World No.1616 May 16, 1934
  62. The Girl Who Bit Her Nails
    Story: Teachers World No.1790 Sep 15, 1937
  63. The Listening Corn
    Poem: Teachers World No.1681 Aug 14, 1935
  64. The Currant Bun
    Play: Specially Written
  65. June Day
    Poem: Specially Written
  66. It's Going to Rain!
    Story: Teachers World No.1724 Jun 10, 1936
  67. The Weather-Flower
    Poem: Teachers World No.1841 Sep 7, 1938
  68. Brer Bear's Stuffing
    Story: Teachers World No.1617 ... 1618 May 23 ... 30, 1934
  69. A Roof Above His Head
    Poem: Teachers World No.1794 Oct 13, 1937
  70. The Tales of Scissors the Gnome
    Story: Teachers World No.1840 Aug 31, 1938
  71. Foxglove Magic
    Poem: Teachers World No.1729 Jul 15, 1936
  72. The Bird-Man
    Story: Teachers World No.1773 May 19, 1937
  73. Sweet-Pea Bonnets
    Poem: Teachers World No.1777 Jun 16, 1937
  74. Annie's Great Day
    Story: Teachers World No.1697 Dec 4, 1935
  75. Pockets
    Poem: Teachers World No.1746 Nov 11, 1936
  76. Who Will Hold the Giant?
    Play: Specially Written
  77. The Poppy [The Poppy's Day]
    Poem: Teachers World No.1619 Jun 6, 1934
  78. The Boy Who Wouldn't Bathe
    Story: Teachers World No.1783 Jul 28, 1937
  79. Seaside Days
    Poem: Teachers World No.1894 Sep 13, 1939
  80. Poor Brer Bear!
    Story: Teachers World No.1708 Feb 19, 1936
  81. The Kindly Dock
    Poem: Teachers World No.1622 Jun 27, 1934
  82. Little-Bit-of-Bread-and-NO-Cheese
    Story: Teachers World No.1785 Aug 11, 1937
  83. The Yellowhammer
    Poem: Teachers World No.1785 Aug 11, 1937
  84. The Singing Shell
    Story: Teachers World No.1837 Aug 10, 1938
  85. Montague Meredith Fortescue Jones
    Poem: Teachers World No.1854 Dec 7, 1938
  86. Mr. Sly-One and the Cats
    Play: Specially Written
  87. Song of the Bumble-Bee
    Poem: Specially Written
  88. Upadee and the Dragon
    Story: Teachers World No.1630 Aug 22, 1934
  89. Good and Bad Berries
    Poem: Teachers World No.1843 Sep 21, 1938
  90. Brer Rabbit's Earthquake
    Story: Teachers World No.1626 ... 1627 Jul 25 ... Aug 1, 1934
  91. Off to the South
    Poem: Teachers World No.1847 Oct 19, 1938
  92. The Enchanted Mirror
    Story: Teachers World No.1862 Feb 1, 1939
  93. Autumn Fruits
    Poem: Teachers World No.1893 Sep 6, 1939
  94. Lightwing the Swallow
    Story: Teachers World No.1844 Sep 28, 1938
  95. Blackberries
    Poem: Teachers World No.1792 Sep 29, 1937
  96. Goodbye, Swallows!
    Play: Specially Written
  97. Goodbye Song [Goodbye!]
    Poem: Teachers World No.1693 Nov 6, 1935
  98. The Sycamore Key
    Story: Teachers World No.1693 Nov 6, 1935
  99. October
    Poem: Teachers World No.1689 Oct 9, 1935
  100. Brer Rabbit and the Apples
    Story: Teachers World No.1814 ... 1815 Mar 2 ... 9, 1938
  101. Hazel Nuts
    Poem: Teachers World No.1584 Oct 4, 1933
  102. The Lovely Present
    Story: Teachers World No.1643 Nov 21, 1934
  103. Under the Ground
    Poem: Teachers World No.1800 Nov 24, 1937
  104. Blackberry Pie
    Story: Teachers World No.1894 Sep 13, 1939
  105. Who-Who-Who?
    Poem: Teachers World No.1696 Nov 27, 1935
  106. The Seed Travellers
    Story: Teachers World No.1795 Oct 20, 1937
  107. Seed Babies
    Poem: Teachers World No.1796 Oct 27, 1937
  108. Finding the Tickets
    Play: Specially Written
  109. The Wind's Broom
    Poem: Specially Written
  110. The Squirrels and the Nuts
    Story: Teachers World No.1707 Feb 12, 1936
  111. Who'll Buy My Berries?
    Poem: Teachers World No.1645 Dec 5, 1934
  112. Brer Rabbit and Brer Terrapin
    Story: Teachers World No.1659 Mar 13, 1935
  113. The Last Feast of Autumn
    Poem: Teachers World No.1691 Oct 23, 1935
  114. The Little Beggars
    Story: Teachers World No.1759 Feb 10, 1937
  115. Jack Frost
    Poem: Teachers World No.1861 Jan 25, 1939
  116. The Boy Who Borrowed
    Story: Teachers World Nos.1872 ... 1873 Apr 12 ... 19, 1939
  117. The Sleepy Snail
    Poem: Teachers World No.1694 Nov 13, 1935
  118. A Penny for the Guy
    Play: Specially Written
  119. November Days
    Poem: Specially Written
  120. How Far Would You Have Got?
    Story: Teachers World No.1850 Nov 9, 1938
  121. Trees in Winter
    Poem: source untraced
  122. Brer Rabbit is Santa Claus!
    Story: Teachers World No.1855 Dec 14, 1938
  123. Cold Weather
    Poem: Teachers World No.1759 Feb 10, 1937
  124. One Christmas Eve
    Story: Teachers World No.1700 Dec 25, 1935
  125. Christmas Carol
    Poem: Teachers World No.1855 Dec 14, 1938
  126. A Christmas Tale
    Story: Teachers World No.1803 Dec 15, 1937
  127. The Little King
    Poem: Teachers World No.1803 Dec 15, 1937
  128. The Christmas Tree
    Play: Specially Written
  129. In the Stable
    Poem: Specially Written
[ ] indicates the original title
This book is a collection of stories, puzzles, plays, and poems, the theme being "Nature," and we're taken through the year week by week. Enid Blyton and Nature are very closely aligned so there're plenty of opportunities for her to impart various snippets of information that we may never have got round to finding out for ourselves.

It could be called a "Dip-Into Book," a name thought up by a twelve-year-old girl to describe "The Big Enid Blyton Book," and each week, we have a Motto, a Tale, a Poem, and a Puzzle, plus Nature Notes, and a Serial story called "What they did at Miss Brown's School" - a record of the various activities Miss Brown and her four pupils took part in. Perhaps Miss Brown lives at the back of the schoolhouse because it hardly seems worthwhile to have a dedicated venue for so few children. There's also a Play, and a Song and whenever there's a chance to add a little tweak, the opportunity is taken - for example at the end of poem No.1, there's a note that tells the reader to look at the first letter of each line and read the message spelt out - a novel way for a youngster to practise his or her spelling.
January being a winter month has Mary, John, Peter and Susan going on a nature ramble with their teacher (Miss Brown) and hunting for various footmarks in the snow. Most Blytonites would have read at least one tale about children searching for the prints of various animals and birds and in this case they find quite a few despite the cold weather. There's a tale about Joan, Hilda, and Bobby who go to a New Year party and learn a little about their true selves. Brer Rabbit makes an appearance as a Regular and this month he's attempting to outwit Brer Fox. There's another school story with a familiar plot: a snowman built by Ronald, Alan, Amy, and George is mistaken for someone else, and what with the mottos, poems, and puzzles, the readers of this book will have plenty with which to occupy themselves. A short play for six performers is featured so a school class could take it on or perhaps some friends could be roped in one weekend to prepare a surprise performance for father and mother. Two of the characters in it are Mr. Stick-It-Up, and Mary-Ann. Finally there's a song (with music composed by Alec Rowley) and the tune for January is "Goose Feathers."

February's stories touch on the Prince of White Magic, the Yellow-Eyed Goblins, an "Elsa" who has a funny dream, and the Uncle Remus connection features Brer Bear starting up a "band" of all things. An elm-tree and a willow have words with each other, and there's a little artistic exercise coupled with Week #9's poem. Miss Brown's pupils are into germinating seeds under their teacher's expert tuition, and one of Aesop's Fables is used for the play - "Lion and the Mouse."

March arrives and gives "Miss Blyton" the opportunity to weave her vast knowledge of flora and fauna into the story plots. I wasn't sure a Brer Mink or a Wattle Weasel existed in the Brer Rabbit stories but sure enough they do and Enid Blyton would certainly know because she's written several books about the clan. One of the featured poems is "What Gillian Saw at the Farm" and it's an inspiration for us to speak English properly. As for the girl called Gillian, I'd say she was also an "inspiration." Scatterbrain the pixie does some work amongst the primroses this month and Ripple the Water Pixie finds herself a necklace (of sorts) in the Week #13 story but old Bufo the toad is not too happy about it. How to Make an Aquarium is taught in Miss Brown's school and a very interesting instruction it is. All the plays contain an inherent attractiveness because they need only a few characters although extraneous children could fill in as onlookers or villagers. The scripts are short as well so even the class dunce should be able to remember his or her lines. "The Runaway Rabbit is the Play for March and the featured Song is "OO-HOO," (it's about the wind).

The Motto for Week #14 in April is: Be Strong and Play the Man. It's written on the gates of the Northlew School in Okehampton, Devon ... at least it was in 1941. "A Pair of Blue Trousers" has the villagers consulting a wise woman because they're desperate for some decent weather, and Brer Rabbit outwits Brer Bear in his particular slot. Make what you can of the Week #15 Motto Leave not your Cloak to make till it begins to Rain. Joan skips off to attend Ellen Jones' Easter party this month but is distracted by Mrs. White's lost cats. Doing a good deed causes her to miss the party but it nets a wonderful surprise. Week #17 brings Dickory Dock, clock winder to the King of Elfland, but Dickory is naughty and therefore banished to our world where he is now employed. How many times have we read about robins nesting in an old kettle or the pocket of a discarded coat hung up in a shed? In Week #18's story, it's an old boot. April appears to be the cuckoo month because there's a picture of one in the Nature Notes, and it's also time to start a garden apparently because Miss Brown takes the kids to Mr. Millet's shop to purchase a pile of seeds. Hallo! Brer Rabbit's made it to stardom - he's now in a Play entitled "Brer Rabbit Raises a Dust" and if anyone knows how to do that, Brer Rabbit does - and yes, it's almost Spring in the Northern climes because it's time to warble Springtime is Coming.

The year is passing rapidly by and in May a cuckoo tricks Joan who wants to play hide and seek with her reluctant brother, Allan. Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear are talking "mighty biggitty - each trying to outdo the other in their claims to superiority and one can but guess as to which of these characters makes the most impression. We're told about Lightfoot the brownie and a butterfly in Week #21, and two pixies called Snippet and Trim in Week #22. As we move along past the pleasant distractions of poems and puzzles there comes another interesting assignment from Miss Brown for her pupils. This month they're making a nesting box and a bird-bath and, turning the page (I hadn't looked), there's actually a picture of some robins nesting in an old kettle (cf. April)! "The Mothers' Meeting" is a play where old Mr. Muddle comes to repair a clock and ends up being attacked by Mrs. Jenks, Mrs. Timms, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Dicks, Mrs. Higgins, and Mrs. Green! Women are a rough lot!

June is busting out all over now and begins with the Motto and then a Farmyard Charade for the children to act out. Brer Rabbit takes up the fiddle, and there's a story about wagtails. In the Week #26 story, Hetty, Jimmy, Annie, and their friends visit Blackberry Wood to have tea with the brownies, and in the school serial the children send away for 100 eggs that cost exactly 1/- and then learn all about the breeding of silkworms. A short comical play called "The Currant Bun" stars Bill, Ellen, Mary and Fatty in an old plot that's been used at least once before by the author.

The first Story for July has two characters that might conjure up images of Mrs. Twiddle and her husband (two very popular Blyton characters) - Dame Twinkle consults Witch Green-eyes over a spell to prevent her spouse from being so foolish. Brer Rabbit knocks the stuffing out of Brer Bear and the obvious question arises: How could he possibly do that? Week #29's Tale is about a gnome called "Scissors" who's only 2 inches long (that's about 65 millimeters) - a nasturtium helps him and he helps the nasturtiums, and in the following story a little boy called Ben meets a bird-man who teaches him all about the swallows and the swifts. We learn about things too, such as the thrilling time Annie has when she meets Lady Lucy. She's a rather "stupid" girl although that's not my opinion - her mother, teacher, aunt, granny and others all say she is ... but she's "clean!" Hedgehogs, bats, and field-mice feature in the Nature Notes section and at Miss Brown's School the children are into keeping pets. The Play is "Who will Hold the Giant," and stars Cherry, Lightfoot, Silverwing, Longnose, Slippy, Feefo, Gobo, Trips, and Tiny."

Jim, Peter, Mary, and Joan have a brother called Thomas who's scared of the sea. He won't go into the water at all because it's cold but, as we know, if the urge is sufficient, then anything can happen. Also in August we find Brer Rabbit being a nuisance as usual but he needs>\ to be if he wants some honey. A Motto sent in by Broadstone School runs like this: If a thing is Right it can be done; But if a thing is Wrong it can be done without. Dame Tiptop, The King, and an enchanter called Yellowbeard are in Week #34's Tale and they become rather cross with a bird who steals cheese. That's the reason we now hear "A little bit of bread and no cheese" being chirped from the trees whenever a yellowhammer is around. A brownie visits the seaside and becomes so fond of hearing the waves breaking and sighing on the sands that he'd like to take the sound back home with him and, speaking of the sea, where do you think Miss Brown's class go in August? Twinks, Fiddle, Pippy, Rikky, and Dinny get on the wrong side of Mr. Sly-One in the Play but they manage to use their noggins to good effect, and Alec Rowley is still around. His composition for August is "Song of the Bumble-Bee."

Week #36 in September has Upadee the pixie teasing everyone in sight, Brer Rabbit experiencing an earthquake (he thinks), and an enchanted mirror is set up against Miss Brown's desk by a school inspector. It can't be the Miss Brown because the former's pupils number among them fat Johnny, timorous Lucy, witless Jack, spiteful Betty, plus others with various character traits - Rita, Benny, Molly, Jenny, Ronnie and I'm sure there must be a Harry somewhere. Yes, there is! Another story is about Lightwing the swallow, and this month, the Miss Brown has put a chart up on the wall labelled Winter Term. It's time for the children to plant various bulbs in bowls for observation. The swallows are flying south and the Play reflects their migration, as does the September Song.

October is here and the clockwork mouse has lost his key but never mind, nature supplies a substitute. Brer Rabbit combines honey and apples to outwit Brer Fox, a little boy cheers Princess Peronel up with a lovely present, and Jeffery misses out on a blackberrying expedition with Jack and Gladys, but a visit to Mrs. Jones makes up for it. The stories continue reflecting the seasons and when Week #44 arrives, Eileen learns how various seeds are distributed around the fields. Wormeries are created in Miss Brown's classroom this month and even Susan finds she can pick up a worm despite her inherent revulsion towards the "feel" of them. A comical Play for three characters (Skippo, Pippy, and Twinkle) is entitled "Finding the Tickets," and the month ends with a Song called "The Wind's Broom."

November's first tale takes us to Windy Wood where two squirrels are fighting over some nuts, and later on, Brer Terrapin comes up against Brer Rabbit's tricks and one can only hope that he survives - Brer Terrapin that is. There's yet another Miss Brown and she also keeps a school. I don't think she would be the Miss Brown in September's short story because this time the pupils are Peter, Mary, Eileen, Tom, Polly, and Joyce. Now, in case someone scrolls down the list of stories for "EB's Book of the Year" in the "Cave" and wonders what the Little Beggars in Week #47's tale are - they're birds. The Week #48 story is about Bertie who's an incessant "Borrower." He scrounges things from Mary and John and Elsie, not to mention George, Jane, Kenneth, Alan, and Fred so he's deemed an utter nuisance and a cure is sought. Guess who their teacher is - yes, she's another Miss Brown! Maybe the pupils mentioned in Week #38, #47 and this week are all in the one class of a large school. The Serial episode has John making a bird-table for the children to feed their feathered friends now the colder weather's here and at the same time they can list all the different breeds that visit for a meal. An old tradition is presented in the Play because it's about Guy Fawkes and Alan, Peter, Betty and John are wheeling round a guy to get pennies for fireworks. Unfortunately things go a little awry.

December arrives and the first short story is also an exercise. Brer Rabbit is very seasonal this month because none other than Brer Santa Claus visits Brer Fox! The Week #51 tale has in it a little boy called John who actually sees Father Christmas every now and again because he lives near a hill where the old fellow resides. There's a Christmas Carol and a Christmas puzzle, and "A Christmas Tale" about a little girl named Mary who lived two hundred years ago. The Nature Notes describe Snow Crystals - Enid Blyton has instructed us about these before, and Miss Brown's class finishes the year off by making a Christmas cake and a Christmas tree for the birds. The tree has of course a selection of palatable foods amongst the branches such as millet-seed sprays and pieces of cocoanut. Three children - Elsie, Jimmy, and Freddie Brown, and three servants - Jingle, Pip, and Tippy perform the end of year play and it relies a little on the audience taking a small part. The Book of the Year ends abruptly with a song called "In the Stable."

There is no more!
The Contents are tidily set out so that each and every item can be located instantly.

The weekly mottos have been sent in from various places of learning, examples of which are Penyclawdd School near Monmouth, and White Lion Street Infants School in Finsbury, London. There's also one sent in by Yatton Keynell School in Wiltshire. I had to search that one out seeing it had such an unusual title and decided that if Namers of Places have the nerve to call a nearby hamlet Tiddleywink, then there's no reason why they can't call the village Yatton Keynell! The motto contributed by the school is Great Talkers are not Great Doers.

One tiny criticism is that the answers to puzzles are located directly below rather than at the end of the book. Eyes tend to drop down to view the next sentence (the answer) before one has the chance to ponder.

Ronald, Alan, Amy, and George in the January "Snowman" story also have a Miss Brown as their teacher!

Gillian is a daughter of Enid Blyton and is probably the girl in one of the poems for March (What Gillian Saw at the Farm).

Bufo the toad (March) was originally in a "Sunny Stories" magazine and again in "Round the clock Stories."

Miss Brown's school aquarium in the Soper illustrated version of this book was the model for my own because the picture looks so attractive with its water beetle, snails, and fronds of weed all contributing to present an appealing underwater environment. (March)

A different version of "A Pair of Blue Trousers" appeared in "EB's Happy Story Book" as A Bit of Blue Sky starring Harry and Joan.

If you ever puff at a dandelion to find out what the time is you may notice from the result that Dickory Dock is not a very good clock winder! (April)

The reader won't run out of things to do if all the projects are undertaken. The Nature Notes alone would keep one busy all year round not to mention the various activities undertaken by Miss Brown's class.

For the very young, wagtails are not dogs - they're birds. (June)

1/- = One bob (slang) = One Shilling = about 60p these days, so the silkworm eggs weren't exactly "dirt" cheap. (June)

Fatty in "The Currant Bun" play is not Frederick Trotteville who starred in the Find-Outer books, and the plot is similar to that in "A Bit of Bacon Rind," a tale from "E.B's Second Bedside Book. " (June)

Nasturtium is a curious name for a flower so after a search it came up as nāsus (nose) and tortus/torquēre (twist or distort). Apparently the pungent smell can cause one's nose to wrinkle. (July)

"Who will hold the Giant" is similar in vein to the old fable - "Who will Bell the Cat." (July)

Many of Enid Blyton's plots and themes are repeated in her stories but it doesn't really matter because names, places, and other aspects differ in various ways thereby retaining the interest. Stories can always do with a second of third airing anyway as readers of the Find-Outers, Smugs, Kirrin, Secret Seven, and many other books can testify.

On the Enid Blyton Society website there's a story (Donald's Trees) featuring yet another Miss Brown. EB seemed to prefer primary school teachers so named, and in this short tale for Teachers' World the kids are also growing bulbs for a classroom project. On the same page is a mention of Montague Meredith Fortescue Jones, which is the poem featured in Week #35 and the title rang a bell. I could have sworn I'd seen it in one of the Christopher Robin books but no; it looks like an Enid Blyton composition. You never can tell though - perhaps she was influenced a little by Alan Alexander himself because she once interviewed him. The poem has the lilt of Milne so I must have filed the memory under his name and, looking through his collection, the confusion may be attributed to "Disobedience" where there's also a boy with a long name: James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree.

A "wormery" is a container such as a large jar for the observation of worms. Layers of assorted soils can be introduced to observe how the inhabitants mix them up. (October)

The Cave (November) is of course the "Cave of Books" which is a portal on the Enid Blyton Society Website.

A "Guy" was a homemade effigy of the notorious Guy Fawkes that kids (the freer ones) trundled round the streets of their neighborhoods. If a grown-up considered the effort praiseworthy, a few pennies or even a silver coin might be offered, and the recipient used the funds to purchase fireworks.

Snow crystals (December Nature Notes) are dealt with at length in "Round the Year (With Enid Blyton) Winter" - one of four booklets that have were later combined in a single volume.

In the reprint of this book the revered Eileen Soper is the illustrator. The Harry Rountree pictures in the original version are good but mainly technical and cover the natural side only - plants, birds, insects, etc. Only one or two of the stories actually have illustrations (of birds) whereas in the revised version (1950) we're really spoilt with lovely pictures everywhere ... there's even a depiction of Montague Meredith Fortescue Jones. Soper's illustrations can conjure up images of fleecy clouds, gamboling lambs, water nymphs, squirrels with bushy tails, fluffy birds, landscapes with lofty trees, and fairies conversing with pixies - all subjects at which this artist was very adept. It's interesting to compare Rountree's illustrations of animal and bird footprints with the Soper drawings - not all that different, but there are a few dissimilarities.

The 1950 version is missing a few items but not all that many. One or two poems and puzzles - and the mottos are monthly rather than weekly. The schools from whence they came are not recorded either which is understandable seeing they were contributed a decade or so earlier.

The reprint is more readily available these days (2012) although the wrapper would probably be missing. 5 upwards (plus some luck) could buy a 1940's copy but with a cover the price can go up to the 20+ mark. Reprints with the Soper pictures are fairly common and 7+ can be allowed for a reasonable copy without the wrapper. Raise the offer in line with your urge to possess the prize.

Preference: Personally, I'd choose the latter version because of the illustration count, and the artist. Those who want every single item, no matter how tiny will prefer an original of course.

Motto from Week #44: It is better to be a little patient when crossing the road, than to be a little patient in the hospital.