Mr. Plod and Little Noddy
First edition: 1961
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Robert Tyndall
Publisher: Sampson Low
Illustrator: Robert Tyndall
On This Page...
Cover from the 1st edition, illustrated by Robert Tyndall
Frontis from the 1st edition, illustrated by Robert Tyndall
Front and back flaps from the dustwrapper of the 1st edition
Title page from the 1st edition
without a story about Toyland, inhabited by Little Noddy the Pixie and Mr. Plod
the Policeman. She authored some 400 titles.
(Time — December,1968)
I don't think it would be all that hard to look on Noddy as "Inspiring" but that statement needs qualification so here it is: It's uplifting to read how cheery the little fellow is and what joy he receives from such a simple act as rising from his bed in the mornings. Think what a wonderful life it would be if it was possible for all of us to have such a positive attitude.
One morning when Noddy looked out of his window, his garden was so full of golden sunshine that he really had to sing a joyful song —
"Oh what a lovely sunny day,So he sang as he dressed himself, and he sang as he cooked his breakfast, and he jumped about for joy all the time.
It's spring again, it's spring!
The sun is shining bright and gay,
It makes me want to sing!"
Perhaps we could try to be a little more Noddy-like and expect the best instead of worrying ourselves to a frazzle over things that might never happen and, in most cases, don't. Noddy is particularly vulnerable to the odd bout of bad luck due to the desires of his creator. If everything went fine for him we'd be bored out of our minds so he has to experience adversity but he's always happy at the end of the day by following the simple philosophy — "Today, is the Tomorrow, we were worrying about Yesterday."
The milkman likes Noddy's new song very much indeed and when he offers him a little pot of cream he's allowed to tap the little wooden head three times to make it nod up and down. He does so and after leaving Noddy his pint of milk, he carries on his way trilling the happy little song to his customers and soon everyone is singing it — even Mr. Plod the policeman who's busily painting the outside of the police station.
Mrs. Tubby Bear next door needs some paint because the bright sun is showing up the dirty corners on the family home so Noddy says he'll fetch some in his car. Her rather naughty little son acquires a name at this point — it's "Bruiny." In the past he was usually Little Tubby or Master Tubby Bear and at this particular moment in time he's gone out to buy some lollipops. Noddy is given a list and he sets off to buy the various paints. On the way he sees Little Tubby (Bruiny), and shouts out that he wants the stool back that the bear borrowed from him yesterday. Bruiny doesn't seem very interested in giving things back — he just walks on sucking a lollipop despite the fact that he's been told he mustn't suck lollipops in the street. I'm sure that Mr. & Mrs. Tubby Bear are very good and upright citizens but they've fallen down a little where their son is concerned, or maybe he was simply born a "bad egg!" Noddy purchases all the paint needed and then drives back through the village singing his heart out and, as he can't spot Mr. Plod anywhere, he asks the Wobbly-Man as to his whereabouts. The Wobbly-Man who is with Mickey Monkey informs him that the policeman is painting the outside of the police station and Mickey Monkey expresses the hope that Mr. Plod will fall off his ladder. Mickey is another of those one or two Bad Eggs that inhabit the village and his reasoning is that if the policeman falls down and is injured then nobody will be scolded or locked up or smacked for a period of time! Leaving the Wobbly-Man trying to explain to Mickey the good points of having a policeman in the village, Noddy drives to the police station where he sees his friend Big-Ears holding the ladder on which Mr. Plod is perched about level with the chimney. From his vantage point Mr. Plod can see for miles and he yells down to Noddy that he's spotted Bruiny going up to his door. It looks like the little bear is actually returning Noddy's stool. He can also see Tessie-Bear with the Bumpy-Dog, talking to Bruiny although he can't hear the conversation of course. Noddy sets off home at a good speed to join the love of his life and when he arrives Tessie Bear tells him that she has a chocolate cake for him that she made herself. Noddy hugs her and Bumpy-Dog jumps up to give Noddy a kiss which means of course that the little man ends up on the path with the dog on top of him. That's why he's called the Bumpy-Dog — he keeps knocking people down!
"Go away, Bumpy-Dog! Get off my tummy!"
It's quite normal to hear those words when the Bumpy-Dog is present. Noddy's car PARPS loudly and frightens Bumpy who immediately hides under a bush whilst Noddy and Tessie go indoors where they find that the little red stool has been returned. Soon Noddy's sitting on it and enjoying large slices of chocolate cake and glasses of lemonade with Tessie. They hear the car hooting again and Noddy rushes out to find the Bumpy-Dog digging up his garden so he shoos him over the wall into the Tubby Bears' place and then he sees Gilbert Golly and Sailor Doll looking at him over the gate — laughing like anything. He can't think why — they just tell him to look behind. He goes back inside and Tessie begins laughing as well and Noddy then finds that his stool had been repainted and as the paint is still wet, there's red colouring all over his shorts! Next, the Bumpy-Dog comes in with red spots of paint all over his fur — another free service from little Bruiny! That bear is the absolute limit and urgently in need of guidance — Tessie Bear will have to give her pet at least three baths to try and get rid of the paint. This is definitely going to be one of those days because the next thing that happens is the arrival of Big-Ears, rushing in to report that Mr. Plod has fallen off his ladder — BUMP! He needs to go to hospital and could Noddy take him? Of course he could and he'll go immediately but who'll be the policeman whilst Mr. Plod is incapacitated?
"I SHALL!" says Big-Ears in a very stern voice, "So just you behave yourselves, Tessie and Noddy."
At times Big-Ears seems to lack a little tenderness and loyalty in his relationships but he's still one of Toytown Village's more trusted and well-liked characters. Maybe it's just that in moments of drama he becomes a little authoritative. He and Noddy race away to the Police Station and collect poor Mr. Plod. They help him gently into the car and he's driven off to the hospital. Noddy doesn't like the place because he's rather afraid of the doctors and nurses and worried that if he was put to bed there he would have medicine forced on him — he thinks Mr. Plod will probably be very unhappy. Mr. Plod is being very brave about his aches and pains and is only worried that his helmet was dented in the fall. Why on earth he wore a helmet when he was up on the roof under the blazing sun (it looks blazing) is anyone's guess. Noddy starts crying when he sees the policeman being wheeled away in a chair under the care of a kind looking doctor and two nurses —
"What's hospital like? I don't like it."
He has a fear of hospitals that's certain, but there may be a reason for it. He drives Big-Ears to the Police Station and the brownie dons Mr. Plod's spare helmet and looks rather alarming to Noddy. He timidly enquires —
"You will be a kind policeman, won't you?"
"I shall be kind to good people and fierce with bad ones, so just you be good, Noddy!"
The villagers discuss the accident and worry about their protection. Who's going to stop Mickey Monkey and his friends from being rude to people and making faces at them?
Big-Ears is! Yes, he takes up his policeman role very seriously and next day he's in the street directing traffic. Gilbert Golly is riding his bicycle too fast and that's not allowed so he has to hold out his hand for a smack with the policeman's truncheon. Noddy and Tessie pay a visit to Mr. Plod although they feel scared when they enter the hospital. They imagine that the policeman will be terribly unhappy but he's not which isn't surprising because beside him he has a locker on which there are flowers and chocolates, five new books, his favourite cigarettes, and a bottle of lemonade. He also has a very attractive nurse looking after him so who could be unhappy with that? He welcomes his visitors with open arms and is presented with more flowers and a chocolate-cake and toffee and another book to read. In the picture he's wearing a helmet, but it's a paper one which Mrs. Tubby Bear has given him — it came out of a Christmas cracker. Mr. Plod tells them how much he's enjoying himself because in hospital you are made well and happy again. He piles it on about how LOVELY it is to be fussed over by the kind doctors and nurses; in fact it's as good as a holiday — even better, because everyone gives you presents. Noddy and Tessie have a change of opinion and feel they would love to go to hospital themselves should they become sick or have an accident. Yes, Mr. Plod reckons it's the nicest place he's ever been in, goodness — here's the Wobbly-Man with a great big box of sweets. Noddy and Tessie slip away with a very positive impression and the theme is woven into an impromptu song that Noddy makes up on the spot and sings to Sally Skittle and her children who happen to come by. The lyrics inspire Sally to pass on to her children that if they ever have to go to hospital ...
"Go with a great big smile!"
Big-Ears isn't wearing Mr. Plod's uniform because it's too big for him although he's got the helmet and jacket on and he's sent the helmet that's dented to be mended. He's worried because there's a thief about. The Wobbly-Man has money missing and Mr. Golly at the garage has had two bicycles stolen and, because he can't leave his post, Big-Ears wonders what to do. Noddy is, as usual, ready and willing to help in any way he can so he turns into a kind of Find-Outer and goes to interview Mr. Golly and examine the scene of the crime. In the shed where the bicycles were stored he looks carefully at the skylight and discovers what could be a small amount of fur clinging to the edge — that's definitely a clue. Some furry creatures are good climbers when you think about it and it looks as if the bicycles have been taken out through the skylight and over the roof by a person or persons who are quite good at scaling walls and roofs. Noddy grimly determines to track down the thieves but he'll have to hurry because when he visits the hospital again he finds that Mr. Plod has heard about the robberies and feels he must get on the job. His nurse insists that he stays in bed however and Noddy tells him, very fiercely, that he'll find the burglars and away he goes.
What an adventure for brave little Noddy as he follows the trails. When he finally tracks the culprits to their lair he demonstrates that he can rise to an occasion by using his brains and putting the thieves "Out of Action" as it were — then, with another song hastily composed about his successful mission, he once again becomes a Toy Village hero after summoning a little help to provide needed muscle for the apprehension of person or persons responsible for a misdemeanor or misdemeanors.
Big-Ears has a quiet word with Mr. Plod, Tessie's uncle, and Tessie Bear herself — all very Hush-Hush, and then Tessie takes Noddy off in the train for a visit to her Granma for the day and while they are gone her uncle paints Noddy's house and car in beautiful bright colours as a reward for his bravery and dedication. What a wonderful surprise it is for Noddy when he returns from Teddy-Bear Town. There's excitement exclamations and plenty of hugging (Noddy even hugs naughty little Bruiny Bear by mistake). Bumpy-Dog's there as well — bumping into Noddy and knocking him over but Noddy's too happy to scold him. There's going to be a big party when Mr. Plod gets out of hospital, and now, the only thing left to do (as if we didn't know it) is for Noddy to round the day off with one of his titillating tunes which further reinforces his ability to inspire us all to be Happy and Gay. Let's hear the end of it —
" ...I love Mrs. Tubby, and Tessie Bear too,
And Big-Ears my Very Best Friend,
I'm really so happy I might sing all day —
But I think my song's come to an end!"
Dear Miss Blyton,
I am about to go into hospital and I'm feeling so worried. I've always been frightened of hospitals because they are such big places and I'm quite scared of what could happen to me. Can you please tell me if I'll be all right and that I don't need to be afraid?
Your very good friend
That may be the reason that Noddy was initially scared of hospitals. I get the feeling that Enid Blyton may have received a few letters in similar vein from worried readers and, possibly, this is why she stressed the fact so heavily that hospitals are wonderful places. (Just a thought).
Maybe Mr. Plod wore a helmet when he was up the ladder as a kind of sun-hat, or else as protection should he fall because policemen's helmets have a certain amount of reinforcement in them.
Mr. Plod seems like a One-Man-Band in this book despite the fact that other policemen exist. They managed to come up with at least half a dozen in the second Noddy Book.
Big-Ears isn't wearing the full policeman's uniform because it's too big for him. So he says, although he looks about the same size as Mr. Plod, and the jacket seems to fit all right.
Trivia: Enid Blyton had varied names for her policemen. "Mr. Plod" seems a good one and many will agree that Mr. Goon is very suitable in a particular case (Find-Outer books). There was Mr. or P. C. Pippin from the same series as was Mr. Tonks. There's also "Mr. Hearty" — a policeman in an old Sunny Stories tale ('The Peculiar Horse').
Trivia: "Granma" has been used a few times for a word I always thought was spelt "Grandma."
Did Tessie Bear's uncle paint Noddy's iconic car in its original colours? Fortunately, yes!
Again, the artist is Robert Tyndall.
Determining just where to place Noddy on the scale when his poems and songs are compared to the multitude of EB characters who also have talent, is a difficult task. It's hard to believe that Mr. Plod would ever try his hand at creating a song but he does, just once, in this book. A little goose-girl, a fair-owner called Sammy Say-So, and his brother — Skipper Heave-Ho, all displayed their talents in a story about Bom the little Drummer but, although they made valiant attempts, I don't think their efforts were as polished as Noddy's rollicking rhymes.
There are other composers however, who could threaten Noddy's place as No.1 in poetic propensity ... a schoolgirl called Darrell Rivers, the Saucepan Man — an old friend of Noddy's who loves creating little rhymes, and then there's another talented character looming up over the horizon, one — Frederick Trotteville!