The Enid Blyton Society
Bom Goes to Ho Ho Village
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Book Details...

First edition: 1958
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: R. Paul-Höye
Category: Bom Series
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Review by Terry Gustafson

Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by R. Paul-Höye

Endpapers from the 1st edition, illustrated by R. Paul-Höye

Title Page from the 1st edition, illustrated by R. Paul-Höye
Bom has never received a letter in his life — until now! The postman pulls up alongside him and tosses it to the little drummer which is quite a good service seeing that Bom is of "No Fixed Abode." He opens it with the firm resolve that if it's from Captain Bang ordering him back to the fort he'll tear it up into small pieces and give it to a mouse for its nest.

Goodness me, it's from his Auntie Twinkle who resides in Ho-Ho Village She'd like him to visit her and Bom would be delighted to oblige so he enquires as to the way from a little brownie who advises him to catch a bus. Bom waits at the stop and the first bus that appears is full of goblins on their way to Goblin Town. Bom's little dog Wuffy jumps on but his master steps back as the passengers make faces at him through the window.

"Hey, Wuffy, come out of the bus!" calls Bom.

"Oh, he can go with us," grins the goblin conductor and he rings the bell.

Well, what a dreadful thing to happen! It looks like Wuffy will end up in Goblin Town and they're sure to be horrid to him. Bom sits down and sings a sad little song to himself until another bus arrives with a notice — TO THE TOY FORT. Hell, that's certainly not the bus he wants and Bom jumps into a hedge to hide when he sees two soldiers disembark and make off over a stile into a field. The next bus that comes along is bound for Ho-Ho Village so Bom boards it and sets off on his journey with a crowd of teddy-bears and golliwogs for company. Very shortly the driver slams on the brake which arouses the wrath of a teddy-bear who bumps his nose but it's just as well the vehicle stopped because a little dog has raced in front of it — a much-loved dog that hops up onto the back step and enters. The animal is looking for someone — and that Someone is Bom. Yes, the dog's name is Wuffy and if animals could speak he'd probably tell his master that he managed to jump off the goblin-bus and go hunting for him. They reach Ho-Ho Village and with Bom banging his drum to let everyone know he's arrived, they set off for Auntie Twinkle's place with Wuffy capering around his master's heels.

By Golly, look who's coming along — it's Mrs. Golliwog with four babies in her pram. Bom stops to look at them.

"What nice little black faces they have! You're lucky, Mrs. Golliwog, because they won't show the dirt like mine does!"

Wuffy has an altercation with a monkey's tail as they set off again so Bom instructs Mr. Monkey to pick his tail up and carry it and now there's a clockwork clown turning head-over-heels and making straight for them — BUMP! Bom is knocked over.

"What's happened! Hi, clown, come back! You knocked me over going head-over-heels at sixty miles an hour down a busy street!"

A nearby teddy-bear warns him, "Look out — here come the Bouncer Family!"

"A family of bouncing balls appears and they bounce all over Bom and Wuffy! It seems that you have to keep a bit of a watch-out when you're in Ho-Ho Village. The little teddy-bear points out Aunt Twinkle's house and Bom heads for it. A few bangs on his drum bring his aunt out in haste. She hugs her nephew very warmly and takes him inside where there's a big pile of balloons which she'll be taking to the market. She begins preparing a meat-pie for Bom and he offers to blow some balloons up for her because he likes to return favours. He does so and then whilst the pie is cooking, he and Wuffy set off to see if they can sell them. They look so bright as they wave in the breeze that several customers come to spend a penny and a toy horse even tries to eat one but succeeds only in bursting it! He gallops off in fright without paying for the balloon, and then — guess who appears on the scene? It's one of Bom's friends and, no, it isn't the Goose-girl.

The Navy's here — yes, it's Skipper Heave-Ho himself! He's really surprised to see the little drummer and invites him to dine so Bom leaves his drum with the balloons tied to it and sets off with him to partake of ice-cream and biscuits at the shop. They exchange news and Heave-Ho tells Bom that he had been out visiting and was on his way home. During their meal, Bom hears shouting so he and the Skipper go to see what's happening and find that a strong wind has blown the drum with its attached balloons up into the air! What a pain but, never short of a song, Bom sings as loudly as he can —
Oh drum, oh drum,
Come back to me,
I'll miss your diddy-bom-bom! ...
I won't put in any more because he's a pretty hopeless composer of tunes but that criticism may be a little harsh because little people might like Bom's ditties. Certainly, the drum and balloons don't seem too enamoured with his music because they sail on through the air and it's obvious they need chasing. Bom, Wuffy, and the Skipper race along with their eyes riveted on the flying drum — down lanes, around corners, up hills, over fields and through little towns they go. Then the wind changes and a course is taken which leads them back into Ho-Ho Village. The breeze is easing up now so where will the drum and balloons fall — they're over the Noah's Ark right now and the animals are rather surprised at this intrusion into their air-space. Finally, after drifting over some roof-tops, the colourful collection descends and this may be hard to believe, but out of all the houses in Ho-Ho Village, it's Aunt Twinkle's chimney upon which the drum comes to rest with the balloons fluttering around it!

Well! How can Aunt Twinkle cook a pie properly with her chimney blocked and smoke pouring into the house I'd like to know. Skipper Heave-Ho takes charge and sends for a ladder. A teddy-bear brings one along and the doughty mariner starts climbing. As he goes higher an astonished Aunt Twinkle looks out of the window and wonders what's going on because the chimney is smoking, her pie is not cooking properly, and now someone's climbing up the house to clean the windows it seems! She reaches out in a temper and shakes the ladder then storms outside and, taking no notice of Bom's entreaties, she wobbles the ladder again so hard that poor Heave-Ho loses his balance and down he goes followed by the drum and the balloons. Crash, Clitter-Clatter, Bang, Smash, Pop!

Bom screams, Wuffy runs for his life, and the drum with several popped balloons on it, rolls away behind the dog. Explanations are made to Auntie Twinkle but she can't understand how the drum got onto her chimney and she thinks it must have been a silly joke. Skipper Heave-Ho who is picking rose-thorns out of his hands from the bush that he fell on, marches off with a dignified air looking very annoyed and with Bom racing after him and trying to get him to come back but he won't because he's VERY cross.

"AVAST THERE — let go of my sleeve."

A few tears roll down Bom's cheeks because it appears that Heave-Ho is no longer his friend. His precious drum has gone, the balloons are with it and Aunt Twinkle is going to be very angry. He tiptoes away down the road but his aunt is watching from the gate and she calls to him.

"Bom! Come here! Why, little Bom — you're crying!"

She puts her arms round him and they go into the cottage where Bom tells her exactly what had happened. Aunt Twinkle listens and then bursts out laughing when she thinks of the wind blowing Bom's drum onto the chimney and then she feels sorry for shaking the sailor-man down from the ladder. She offers Bom some of the meat-pie but eating is the last thing on his mind right now seeing that he has no drum, no dog, and no Captain Heave-Ho for his friend. Aunt Twinkle doesn't want to eat either because she's feeling a little guilty about what she's done so the pie is put back into the oven. Bom gets up and gives his aunt what pennies he made from the balloon sales and a few more for the ones tied to his missing drum and then goes off to search. It's dark now and he wanders around looking high and low and asking passers-by if they have seen a drum anywhere but no one can help him. He sings a doleful little song and then he tries shouting loudly for Wuffy-dog but to no avail. He stumbles along and then stops suddenly because he hears a noise —

Bom-diddy-bom! Bom-diddy-bom! Bom-diddy-bom! That can mean only two things — his drum is nearby, and someone is playing it. Then a sturdy figure comes up the lane ... BOM-DIDDY-BOM! Yes, it's the Skipper himself approaching and he's playing Bom's drum and there's Wuffy dancing around his feet. What a wonderful reunion it is with Wuffy yelping and licking his master and the Skipper lifting Bom up and telling him that Wuffy found the drum and he found Wuffy so the obvious thing to do was to come back and deliver them to his friend. The little procession makes its way back to Aunt Twinkle's place with Bom once more behind his drum and banging it for all he's worth. It's meat-pie time I would say and naturally it's song time as well and here's the start of Bom's final offering —
Here we all come
Skipper and Wuffy
And me with my drum! ...
Aunt Twinkle welcomes them back as Very Good Friends and who could dispute that when there's hot meat-pie and apple pudding on the menu? The door shuts, but we can still hear the drum beating softly — Bom-diddy-bom-diddy-bom! Good-night Skipper and Bom and Wuffy — enjoy yourselves in Aunt Twinkle's cosy little cottage and we'll see you again soon!
The EB books make good use of exclamation marks, and there's a case where one is put at the end of a question ("What's happened! Hi, clown, come back!").

Ho-Ho Village doesn't have a hyphen on the cover or on the title page but it does in the actual story.

Captain Bang hasn't appeared in this book although he is mentioned. For those who aren't aware, the Captain is trying to catch Bom to bring him back to the fort from whence he absconded.

Bom's a little bit wrong in the case of the baby gollies. It would be nice if you could eliminate looking dirty by painting yourself black but it wouldn't work because if you dropped your golliwog into a muddy patch the dirt would show just as much as it would on any other doll. Little children could be drawn to the concept though but, unfortunately, there are no short cuts.

The word "Avast" which the Skipper uses is apparently a rather nautical way of saying "Stop" or "Desist!"

This book is number four in a series of eight.