The Enid Blyton Society
The Famous Jimmy
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Book Details...

First edition: 1936
Publisher: Frederick Muller
Illustrator: Benjamin Rabier
Category: One-off Character Books
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Short Story Books

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Review by Terry Gustafson

He had been christened 'James,' but he was always known as Jimmy. He was 7 years of age, sturdy, stocky and had a voice that broke into a slight stammer when he was excited.

Jimmy may have been created in 1949 to cash in on the singular popularity of the famous 'William' books but long before that (1936) Enid Blyton had brought out her own version of 'Jimmy,' and she made him a duckling. The Famous Jimmy has a kind of 'One Offness' about it because the book doesn't relate all that much to others although, unlike the Babar Story-Book and countless Brer Rabbit tales, it's an EB creation written for all those who love ducklings - especially for Gillian and Imogen.

Jimmy is full of mischief and where would we be if Blyton characters didn't exude this particular quality? He's got six brothers and sisters but Jimmy's been in more mischief than all of them put together - in fact his adventures would fill a book (it says so). Jimmy runs off one day to seek out more adventures and after tangling with a frog and coming off second best he decides to be a train and go through a tunnel. The tunnel turns out to be a very sooty pipe so a blackened creature emerges to scare his mother, brothers, and sisters so much that they rush away madly to the pond.

Jimmy can be inadvertently 'good' and one deed he performs is to save a little black cat called Nigger from being drowned in a sack. Nigger becomes Jimmy's good friend and they get on very well together. Unfortunately the other cat, Snowball, is rather possessive when it comes to sharing his dish of milk so a spider's help is called for and when all that's sorted out, Nigger settles in and becomes very useful - especially when the evil fox appears and makes off with the Famous Jimmy who happens to be hidden in a basket. How he gets out of that predicament is anyone's guess.

There's an uncomfortable experience with a thorn, and another adventure when Jimmy and Nigger are out walking and enjoying the sunshine. They meet up with Nigger's old master who grabs hold of him and throws the poor cat into a rabbit hutch.

"Tomorrow I will certainly drown you and that will be the end of you!"

Poor Nigger. It's time for the Famous Jimmy to do his thing ... but what?

Dilly's having problems next and they consist of three persons who are ill-treating her - the fox (naturally), Sally the goose, and another character who appears as Bimbo the monkey. All of them are giving Dilly a hard time and someone has to stop it so three procedures take place and Jimmy, combining skills and brilliant strategy, looks as if he might save the day ... together with Nigger of course.

If you should go to visit the farmer's wife, she is certain to take you into the farmyard - and the first creature she shows you will be the little duckling.

"Here is our famous Jimmy!" she will say.

And there he will be, as perky as ever, thinking out his bright ideas for another day.
There didn't seem to be another 'day' - just the one book.

The pictures are basically orange but other colours appear here and there. One or two quite charming 'full page' illustrations add to the ambience.

Gillian and Imogen are of course Enid Blyton's daughters.

Dilly Duck is Jimmy's mother. Other names mentioned are Snowball who belongs to the farmer's wife, Henny Penny, Loppy the rabbit, and Billy the goat.

This particular book must have been quite popular because the above has been taken from the Sixth Impression.

The Babar Story-Book was originally written by Jean de Brunhoff. A well-known Blyton illustrator Olive Openshaw, illustrated the Enid Blyton version of the Babar Story-Book.

Brer Rabbit goes way back but it was Joel Harris who made the stories very popular.