The Enid Blyton Society
Tales of Toyland
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Book Details...

First edition: 1944
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: Hilda McGavin
Category: One-off Novels
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson
Whole Book
Further Illustrations


Title page from the 1st edition, illustrated by Hilda McGavin

Wraparound dustwrapper from the 2nd edition, illustrated by Grace Lodge
Just over 90 pages make up this delightful tale and when I first read it many years ago it seemed longer. The book begins with an invitation in rhyme from the main characters to join them on a picnic in the woods where we'll all play hide and seek and partake of good food and lemonade.
Once upon a time there was a sailor doll who lived with many other toys in a nursery. That's our introduction to this little fellow who's almost always smiling because his face is made that way. He loves singing a little sea song which always ends with a loud "YOHO!" and the other toys are sick of it. They're a rather miserable lot because of their various ailments — have you ever seen a doll with all its clothing and sawdust and everything else intact after it's been constantly played with? Well, I don't know how long the sailor-doll has been in the nursery but he seems pretty O.K. although he's quite sad with the other toys' negative outlook on life and he yearns for a friend with whom he could share a joke or two.

His wish is granted and at Christmas a small and very beautiful fairy-doll with a lovely smile, a mist of golden hair, and a frilly frock with silver stars on it comes to join them all but her life is about to take a turn for the worse. She had been on top of a Christmas tree and when she arrives looking so fresh and beautiful the other toys express a degree of antagonism towards her. Her childish innocence assumes that she will be accepted by friendly and accommodating companions but this does not happen. The poor little creature has caused jealousy to well up in the hearts of her disgruntled hosts and they shun her. They aren't even going to let her sleep with them in the toy-cupboard.

"Oh, please do let me come in," begs the fairy doll in a fright. "I'd be afraid to be out there all alone. Please be kind to me."

Her entreaties fall on deaf ears although the golliwog tells her to sleep in the coal-scuttle because it will be more comfortable — and she believes him! She climbs inside and tried to make herself comfortable but it's not long before sobbing can be heard from her makeshift bed. The little fairy-doll is lonely and tired and her frock, legs and shoes have become all black.

"I must be turning into a golliwog!"

Meanwhile, the sailor doll who had been left downstairs when Sally his little mistress went to bed, decides to go back to the nursery. He enters and when he discovers the poor little fairy-doll crying his heart melts at her plight and he introduces himself then gets a basin of water and washes away the grime from her hands, face and legs. They become interested in each other. The fairy loves the sailor-doll's smile and she's thrilled with his little sea shanty however the other toys have had enough disturbance and after threatening the pair of them the fairy-doll wants to leave and as the sailor-doll has had enough as well he thinks it would be a good idea if they both abandoned their unfriendly surroundings and headed for the place where all toys would to be — Toyland. After this momentous decision, they leave the surprised toys, walk down the stairs and let themselves out into the garden.

It was a moonlight night and the moon swam in and out of little clouds.

The fairy-doll has no name so at her request the sailor-doll christens her 'Tiptoe' and she in turn christens him — 'Jolly' because he is so smiley and jolly. They now have to find their way to Toyland and very fortunately they are directed to a brownie who instructs them to go down a rabbit hole and board a train which will take them there. Things don't always run smoothly for toys as has already been demonstrated and now it looks as if a further impediment is looming. They reach their destination but Tiptoe encounters the same problem that young Noddy had when he first entered Toy Village. He wasn't considered to be a toy and he had to prove that he was and this time it appears that Tiptoe is going to experience the same attitude. She's definitely a doll but the gate-keeper will not let her in because she looks too much like a real fairy.

This problem is bypassed however with the help of a friendly washerwoman who puts them up for the night. She helps Tiptoe to change her appearance by giving her an overall to wear and after the tell-tale wings have been hidden down her back she looks much more like a toy. Next day the two dolls return to the gates of Toyland and they're both waved through. They are thrilled to be in such a lovely place and they decide to get married because, as Jolly says to Tiptoe, "You could always darn my socks," which seems a fairly solid basis for a betrothal. In return Jolly will look after his little wife but they will need a house to live in so after acquiring some bricks from a warehouse they proceed to build themselves a little cottage on a sunny hillside near a stream and a pond. After working really hard at it and sleeping under a haystack at night their two days of labour produce a dwelling which is all ready and waiting for the furniture which they buy on hock. Except for the fact that Tiptoe could do with a few more clothes, their happiness is complete when they move in and Jolly names the cottage after himself because they're always going to be 'jolly' in it — he tells Tiptoe.

Next door to them live the toy soldiers and on the other side is a clockwork clown. Tiptoe and Jolly make friends with all their neighbours and another person whom they like is a curious man named Mr. To-and-Fro. He's shaped like an egg and he wobbles around the place because he has no legs and try as you might, it's impossible to push him over because he just springs up again. They make other good friends as well and Jolly thinks he and Tiptoe should hold a kind of house-warming party and invite everyone. They make preparations and when the day arrives there's a hitch in their plans. The shops don't open on a Wednesday and guess what day it is? They need eggs and milk. You have to have eggs and milk if you want to make egg sandwiches and fill everyone's cup with the creamy white stuff. The problem is not insurmountable however because Mr. To-and-Fro suggests they invite Mrs. Buttercup, Mrs. Cluck, Mrs. Cackle and Mrs. Squawk to the party. Problem solved! Marvellous party and amongst the many guests are none other than three characters who star in Enid Blyton books of their own — Josie, Click and Bun! I'm sure they will be remembered by many Enid Blyton Fans.

Next there's a chapter which tells us all about a terrible thing that happens to the clockwork clown. He has to wind himself up to move, but when Tiptoe and Jolly visit him they find that he's in bed and in a very weak state. A problem has arisen and it has to be solved for him in order that he may move around again, and the captain of the Soldiers plays a large part in finding a solution.

Then comes a time of much sadness for Tiptoe. She wants to look her best for Mr. To-and-Fro's party which is coming up but how can she when the only clothing she has is an overall? Then Jolly disappears — more heartache! The little sailor-doll has a mission in mind and to fulfill it he takes up employment on the good ship — Saucy Sue. It entails a trip to Roll-About Town and then he returns home with a beautiful surprise for his little wife. The day of Mr. To-and-Fro's party arrives and there's a large gathering of excited guests. Once again, Enid Blyton brings in some more of her Sunny Stories characters and this time it's Golly, Woggie and Nigger with their peas-in-a-pod similarity. Mr. To-and-Fro can't tell one golliwog from the other so when he greets them he just uses all three names as he shakes each of their hands. Everyone laughs. What a time they all have but that's to be expected when you have skittles to knock over and contests and snakes-and-ladders to play and crackers to pull and cream buns which the pink cat particularly likes because he licks all the cream off the skittles' buns (the skittles don't like cream for some reason).

The final chapters involve change. The soldiers move out because a grand fort has been built for them, Bruiny the bear needs a home, and finally we reach an extremely sad part which might call for a box of handkerchiefs to be placed within easy reach. Could anyone believe that Father Christmas might cause distress? Could his presence create consternation for Tiptoe and Jolly?

The Tales of Toyland saga goes way back to the very early Forties and it had the services of two very well-known Blyton artists — Hilda McGavin and Grace Lodge.

The marriage of Tiptoe and Jolly isn't included in the story so we miss out on that.

For the uninitiated, Josie, Click and Bun are a curly-headed doll, a clockwork mouse and a baby rabbit who live in an old train-carriage.

Tiptoe managed all right with just her overall when she and Jolly had a party at their own house but as she was probably in and out of the kitchen it might not have seemed too out of place. However, when she attended someone else's social gathering a new frock could be regarded as essential.

The ship that Jolly worked on bears the same name as the rowing boat that rescued Peter and Janet of Secret Seven fame when they were trapped at Sandy Cove. Boats are often named after females and the word 'Saucy' seemed to be used quite a lot when vessels were christened in Enid Blyton's era. She named another boat the 'Saucy Jane' (The Saucy Jane Family, c.1947) and as 'saucy' tends to mean impertinent or cheeky it could be there was a little humour involved when a backyard boat-maker named a ketch after his lady-friend.
Dear ... (please fill in your name if you will),
It's lovely and sunny up here on our hill,
So Tiptoe and I have thought of a plan,
And we'd like you to share if you possibly can,
We're having a picnic on Wednesday week,
We'll go to the woods and we'll play hide-and-seek,
We'll take things to eat and some lemonade too,
We will have a wonderful picnic with you,
Please can you come? Send a card to say,
And whatever you do, now DON'T lose your way!
You can bring your best doll, or a bear or a golly.

Our very best love, from


R.S.V.P. to —

Tiptoe and Jolly,
Jolly Cottage,

P.S. — Come early.
This is not the whole book, but two stories that appeared in Sunny Stories which were left out of the published book.

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