The Enid Blyton Society
More Adventures on Willow Farm
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Book Details...

First edition: 1943
Publisher: Country Life
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Farm Series
Genre: Farm
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Anita Bensoussane
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Eileen A. Soper
Whereas The Children of Willow Farm is a wholly up-beat book, in More Adventures on Willow Farm the family encounter more setbacks — for example Darling the plough horse has colic, Stamper the bull goes mad, Jim the farmhand is hurt in an accident involving a falling elm, and the stray dog which Rory looks after dies. The children help their parents and each other through many of the difficulties. Benjy fetches Tammylan to cure Darling, Rory and Benjy do the milk-round while Jim is in bed after his fall, and Penny lends some of her books to Jim to keep him entertained. The others tease Penny as her books are "about dolls and toys and things." Are they collections of Enid Blyton's short stories, perhaps?! The boys find that the milk-round is not much fun when it's raining but, as Rory says, "... we've got to stick it, and stick it without grumbling, Benjy. We took it on and we've got to keep it going all right." That's the right attitude — to keep going even when things are tough.

The children's friend, Mark, comes to stay with them from time to time. He is nervous of the larger animals at first but the children like him because he is willing to join in and have a go, telling them, "I don't want to be treated as a visitor. Just let me do the things you all do. That would be much more fun for me." However, his carelessness causes trouble when he leaves the gate of the horses' field open. That day the children are picnicking with Tammylan and we have one of Blyton's typically brief but vivid descriptions of nature, with the children sitting in "a sun-warmed, wind-sheltered copse, where primroses were flowering by the thousand. They shone pale and beautiful in their rosettes of green, crinkled leaves, and on the tiny breeze came their faint, sweet scent." Tammylan, full of information as ever, explains that the leaves of the primrose are crinkled "so that the rain may trickle down the crinkles and fall to the outside of the plant, not down into the centre, where the flower-buds are." He has a deep love of wildlife, remarking that people who are unfamiliar with the countryside "miss the sound of the wind in the grasses — the way a cloud sails over a hill — the sight of bright brown eyes peering from a hedgerow — the call of an otter at night — the faint scent of the first wild rose ..." As Benjy says, this way of talking is almost like poetry.

Suddenly, Mark remembers that he didn't close the gate and the children return to the farm to discover that two horses have escaped. They waste a lot of time searching the common fruitlessly. Although they are all frustrated and worried, they try to avoid making Mark feel too dreadful about what he has done. The children's father simply says, "Leaving a gate open is a very small thing ... but unfortunately small things have a way of leading to bigger things." He adds that everyone makes mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them so you do not repeat them. Mark does indeed learn his lesson and the horses are found safe and sound the next morning.

Penny has two lambs to rear in the second year at Willow Farm and she calls them Hoppitty and Jumpity. We know that she previously had Skippetty. Interestingly, the lambs' names are a reminder of the brownies Hop, Skip and Jump in The Enid Blyton Book of Brownies. She also receives Dopey, her mischievous pet kid, as a birthday present. He is the perfect pet for someone like Penny, who hates to see the young animals grow older. We are told of the kid: "There was one little creature that grew too — but he didn't become solemn and proper. No — Dopey remained as funny and as mad as ever. He just simply couldn't grow up."

The children are given a great deal of responsibility on the farm and Rory becomes "too big for his boots," taking the decision to burn a field while his father is out. Unfortunately the wind changes direction and the fire spreads, almost leading to disaster. His father realises that he himself is partly to blame for having treated a boy of fourteen like a man.

Towards the end of the book, Penny points out that, in their second year on the farm, there have been many "downs" as well as "ups." Facing up to their troubles and coping with them has made the whole family stronger. The final chapter reinforces the feeling that Willow Farm is a place where everyone pulls together, through good times and bad, and even the animals are part of the family. We agree with the children's father when he tells them that he did the right thing in buying Willow Farm because "I've seen you all grow healthy and strong. I've seen you doing work that matters. I've watched you learning good lessons as you handle the animals and help to till the soil. You've had to use your muscles and you've had to use your brains. You've grown up complete and whole, with no nonsense in you. I'm proud of you all." These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.