The Enid Blyton Society
Be Brave, Little Noddy!
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Book Details...

First edition: 1956
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Peter Wienk
Category: Noddy
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson


Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Peter Wienk

Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Peter Wienk

Front and back flaps from the dustwrapper of the 1st edition

Title page from the 1st edition, signed by both Peter Wienk and his wife Nel Koenen
who assisted him with his Noddy illustrating

Peter Wienk and Nel Koenen at work on Noddy illustrating c. 1960

A recent picture of Peter Wienk with Noddy books
Books may come and books may go but Enid Blyton and Korky the Cat march on forever and that's official.
In the latest survey of reading habits carried out amongst 8000 children aged 10-14 by a schools council research team (based at Sheffield University),

1604 of them named Enid Blyton as their favourite author.
(Daily Mirror, September 1977)

Noddy does have to be brave during this little adventure because some unpredicted expenses arrive when his car is out of action and his livelihood is threatened. The day this all happens starts out very positively because Mr. Wobbly Man pays him a shilling instead of sixpence for his services (Noddy is the local taxi-driver) and the Sailor Doll also gives him a shilling but that was probably because his wife accompanied him on their trip to the station. Mr. Jumbo needed his luggage picked up as well so Noddy has enough funds to consider buying a nice chocolate cake and taking it to Big-Ears' place for tea. He's feeling very happy and whilst singing a little song of his own creation he comes across another fare in the form of Mrs. Noah whose name probably rings a bell because of the 'Noah's Ark' connection and the fact that miniature Arks have been found in nurseries before today. It's another sixpence from her when she's dropped off and then Noddy's away again — around a corner and CRASH! Why does something like that have to happen just when you're feeling on top of the world? The little man is flung out of his car and he lands in the middle of the green-grocer's barrow of apples and tomatoes. We can all picture the scene — fruit spilling out onto the road and a crowd of rubber-neckers gathering to see the action and the inevitable condemnations and arguments that are bound to follow. They do all right — from Sid Golly whose barrow it is and also from a wooden man who shakes his fist at Noddy with what he considers to be good reason because his car was what Noddy crashed into. There are one or two things to consider when Mr. Plod the policeman arrives to take particulars — one point is that the wooden man's vehicle which is larger and perhaps sleeker than Noddy's, is built like a tank and has suffered no damage. Then there's the fact that he had parked it very close to the corner which Noddy had driven around and as Miss Fluffy Cat says, "No one should put a car almost on a corner."

Mr. Honk is the wooden-man's name and he hastens to assure everyone that he doesn't want Noddy to be punished and he'll even tow him to the garage which he does. Why? Well, there’s a small chance that Mr. Plod might decide to charge him for parking so close to a corner so Mr. Honk thinks he'd better make himself scarce whilst he can. When they arrive at the car-repairers the wooden man makes disparaging remarks about Noddy’s little vehicle and compares it unfavourably to his own automobile. Furthermore, he doesn't think Noddy could earn much money taking passengers in such a 'silly little car'. Well, Noddy can, as we know, and when he shows his earnings to Mr. Honk that man does a little quiet calculating!
Be Brave Little Noddy — that's the title of Chapter Three. Noddy leaves his car for repairs which will be expensive and trudges off to find Big-Ears whom he hopes will comfort him. His brownie friend is very constructive and immediately put things into perspective. Noddy could have been injured. He wasn't. He might have been told to pay for the fruit he messed up. He wasn't. Mr. Plod might have put him in prison. He didn't, and then Big-Ears tells Noddy he can find other jobs to do and advises his little friend to make up a Brave Song. Noddy doesn't want to but Big-Ears encourages him and tries to start one off but he hasn't Noddy's talent for composition so the Master takes over and comes out with a sixteen line song straight off the top of his head. There's a picture of him singing it with a very determined look on his face and his audience of two (Big-Ears and Whiskers the cat) look as if they're really enjoying his efforts to overcome this unexpected low-point in his life.

Noddy cheers up a little and after cakes and raspberry syrup (no chocolate cake unfortunately) he's beaming and ready to face whatever comes his way. He needs work urgently so Big-Ears, as usual, comes to the party by offering Noddy the use of his bicycle and suggests he attaches a cart to it and then he can deliver all kinds of things for the people of Toy-Village. Noddy hugs him then cycles away whilst singing his Brave Song which becomes very helpful when things get a little hard for him such as cycling up hills. He visits his car 'in hospital' as it were and sings his Brave Song — hoping it will hasten a recovery. The car joins in although it can't PARP at present — all it can do is Pooooooop! Mr. Golly the garage owner is glad to see Noddy being so brave about everything although the Little Nodding Man feels like crying when he looks again at his poor little car with its smashed lamp.

The ever industrious chap then gets stuck into his new delivery service and then when he sets off to do Mrs. Noah's shopping for her he receives a terrible jolt. A big shiny car sweeps by and almost knocks him into the gutter which is bad enough but then he spots a sign on it -

"Taxi for Hire. Sixpence a Time."

Yes! Mr. Honk's gone into business!

All his 'Braveness' disappears and Noddy just sits down on the side of the road to wail loudly at his misfortune. Mrs. Tubby Bear comes by and enquires as to why there are tears rolling down his cheeks.

"I'm c-c-crying because Mr. Honk is using his c-c-c-car as a t-t-taxi."

Mrs. Tubby Bear wipes his eyes and advises him that once his car is mended, the villagers will want him to be their taxi-driver again and now he should ride away singing his Brave Song and also come to her place for tea that afternoon. Noddy does his best to be brave and after singing his song he feels a little better and more able to cope with life. He cycles around doing the shopping for a great many people who are all talking about him because he's singing a new song and he's so Brave. His red and yellow car receives frequent visits and soon it can go PARP, PARP again as it gradually recovers under the expert attention of Mr. Golly. Just a coat of paint needed now and once it's all fixed the general feeling is that Mr. Honk will be 'Out' and Noddy will be 'In'.

Noddy visits Big-Ears again who congratulates him for being so brave especially when he saw Mr. Honk had taken over the taxi-service. Actually I seem to recall that he sat down on the side of the road and howled but I guess it's the positive action he took afterwards which is praiseworthy and courageous. He stays the night with Big-Ears and there's a surprise just before seven the next morning but it's not A 'Dreadful Shock' this time. I don't think anyone could guess what happens because it's so unexpected — Noddy's car couldn't wait for his owner to come so as soon as Mr. Golly opened the door to start the day it rushed away all by itself to Big-Ears' toadstool house to be reunited with its owner. "PARP, PARP, PARP" — what a lovely surprise.

There's little more to relate except that the titillating phrase 'A Dreadful Shock' comes up again because Mr. Honk, with his bigger and faster car, is reluctant to be an ex-taxi driver so there has to be more consultation with the all-knowing and inventive Big-Ears whose first suggestion is that Noddy must sing his Brave Song. What a good idea! Noddy does so and then he learns how Big-Ears has solved the crisis for him and I must say it's not strictly 'cricket' but still ... this is Toy-Village in Toyland where Fair-Play and Scruples can be interpreted a little differently from our own.

Does the story end with a Noddy-Song? Yes, of course!
Noddy calls Big-Ears' cat simply 'Cat' in this book so maybe its real name has been momentarily forgotten.

Korky the Cat is a comic strip which graced the cover of The Dandy when it first came out about seventy years ago and even today you still might find it in your local store!

There are several chapters entitled 'A Dreadful Shock' or 'A Horrid Shock' in the Enid Blyton Books and it's not really surprising because those sorts of titles are dramatic and convey an instant feeling of apprehension. There's 'A Horrid Shock' in The Adventurous Four Again and also in The Boy Next Door. There's 'A Dreadful Shock' in this book, the tenth Find-Outers book, the eleventh Secret Seven book and Hollow Tree House and in the third Kirrin book it's 'A Nasty Shock'. I'm sure there must be other similar titles amongst the many tales of adventure and intrigue that were produced by the author.

How did the car know that Noddy was at Big-Ears' house? Noddy told it he was staying the night with Big-Ears when he visited the day before.

There's another poet to rival Noddy's creative efforts in the form of a bunny named Binkle whose rhymes are quite professional but they were a passing phase. I think he gave it all up when he created a naughty poem which earned him a spanking!