The Enid Blyton Society
Humpty Dumpty and Belinda
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Book Details...

First edition: 1949
Publisher: William Collins
Illustrator: Hugh and Sally Gee
Category: Belinda
Genre: Family
Type: Short Story Books

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Review by Terry Gustafson

Jane lives in rather an exciting place for a girl of her age because Daddy is a toy-maker. He fashions dolls and animals and even makes little houses and gardens to add realism and interest when displaying his wares.

Yesterday he made a Humpty Dumpty with a wall for him to sit on, so one can but compare Jane's everyday life with one's own. How would you like to have Humpty Dumpty in your house, or piles of dolls and other toys all over the place - some of which you have personally worked on? Yes, Daddy sometimes lets Jane assist him.

Now she's off to her papa's workroom for one more look at Humpty before bedtime and of course to have her 'Dreadful Shock.' Enid Blyton often introduces 'shocks' in her tales because they add excitement and sure enough, Jane finds that Humpty Dumpty has fallen off his wall and is now lying on the ground ... broken into many bits!

Daddy is nearby and he recites a nursery rhyme to the dismayed girl -

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall ..."

... we know it well.

Unfortunately, despite Jane wanting her parent to mend Humpty she's told that it would take many days, even if it were possible. There are just too many pieces lying around and, as we remember

'All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty together again.'

Jane feels the urge to see Humpty 'whole' once more so she fetches her book of nursery rhymes and turns to where the poem is printed. Humpty Dumpty and Belinda has a photograph of the girl in her dungarees looking fondly at a Humpty who's dressed in red and perched proudly on a brick wall. The girl's favourite dolls are with her as well and if you haven't read about the amazing adventure they had one Christmas, I can tell you their names are 'Belinda' and 'Tod.'

The two dolls are just as sad about Humpty's demise as their mistress is. It was only yesterday they'd been talking with him and Humpty had said rather boastfully that he knew the King and all his men ... yes, the King has 'men' like all important people do. They take care of tasks that persons such as a Monarch might consider a trifle mundane.

Humpty Dumpty had become somewhat annoyed when Belinda had referred to him as an egg.

"Everyone thinks Humpties are eggs just because we're this shape. If you call me an egg, I'll call you names too!"

So there was a rather cross Humpty Dumpty rocking himself back and forth on his wall and paying no heed to Belinda who'd warned him that he might fall off. Well, he had, and now the fellow was nothing more than a collection of jigsaw pieces.

Goodness, it's ten minutes after bedtime so it's time for Mummy to take Jane off for a hot bath before tucking her into bed and listening to her prayers. Daddy has gone to have his supper so Belinda and Tod decide to take another look at poor Humpty who's lying on the artificial grass by his wall. What a mess. They have an attempt at putting him together again but it's no good Humpty is too far-gone.

"How about some glue?" Belinda suggests; so they carry the pieces over to the glue-pot and get 'stuck' in.

It works ... sort of. After a considerable amount of time, Humpty Dumpty is whole again but looking rather queer. There's a photograph of him and although Tod and Belinda have done their best, there are a few things that will need correcting. Humpty has a leg where an arm should be for one, and his mouth is upside down for another.

I wasn't going to say he looks dreadful, but ... well ... he looks dreadful, and this is echoed by Belinda so I guess it's all right to confirm it. She suggests taking him to his friend the King because Kings are often thought of as being able to get things done, so they open Jane's nursery rhyme book and, bypassing 'Mary Quite Contrary,' they find the page where a King is in his Counting House which obviously comes from "Sing a Song of Sixpence." There's an illustration of a door and in no time at all the dolls have left Daddy's workbench and miraculously entered the book to find themselves in a large room.

"Lives here the King," says Humpty.

He speaks the wrong way round because of his mouth being upside down.

"Please to him be polite. My friend he is!"

A long strip of red carpet is on the floor and it leads to a throne where the King himself is sitting, counting his money.

The dolls introduce themselves and also Humpty whom the King recognizes. Tod asks if it's possible for the King's men, or even his horses, to put poor Humpty together again - but he's probably asking just for the sake of it because, as we know, it's been tried before ... with little success.

The King has a suggestion however - they should have used magic glue to stick Humpty together again. He picks up a book of spells and searches for 'Glue - How to Make Magic Glue,' and reads it out in the form of a poem, which is a little too long to print here, but it tells the toys (and the reader) what ingredients have to be gathered for the concoction. The hard part will be finding them all - where would one locate a 'Tinkle from a Silver Bell,' or 'Rye,' or 'A Sheep's Tail that has been Lost and Found?'

Good news! The King can supply some rye a pocketful, so that's number one taken care of. As it happens, the Water from a Magic Well won't be difficult either because there's a photograph of the dolls and the King by a window through which can be seen a well at the top of a hill. Tod and Belinda will need a bucket, so the King sends Humpty to get one from the palace kitchen and then goes back to counting his money. The dolls wait ages for Humpty to return and when he doesn't they decide to tiptoe out and conduct a search. They do so and passing an open door they see the Queen sitting on her throne eating a slice of bread with honey. Without thinking, Belinda calls out -

"Excuse me Your Majesty!"

The Queen gets a shock at this sudden intrusion and is quite grumpy because she's already been interrupted by Humpty Dumpty coming in to ask her an unintelligible question about buckets. Belinda explains their problem and then listens to the Queen complaining about how the King is always counting his money, and how the pies they bake seem to be full of blackbirds. Finally she becomes impatient and the dolls decide they'd better make themselves scarce so they hurry out and after finding the kitchen and catching a glimpse of a great big pie on the table with twittering noises coming from it, they see their friend outside sitting on a wall! They rush to haul him down and then ask a woman who's hanging out clothes nearby if there's a spare bucket anywhere. She allows them to take her own and then suddenly runs away screaming at a bird that's trying to peck off her nose.

This is all a bit much, so Tod and Belinda decide they'd better climb up the hill to get their pail of magic water. They notice a boy and a girl nearby and recognize them as none other than 'Jack and Jill' of 'Fetch a Pail of Water' fame.

"Be careful you don't fall," yells Jack.

Not careful enough I'm afraid because the dolls trip over and tumble down the hill. Enid Blyton sitting on the verandah with her typewriter is really letting her imagination run, and the next 20+ pages deal with Tod and Belinda searching out the various items required for manufacturing magic glue. One is obtained after a visit to Mary Contrary's lovely garden where they find it's true Mary really is quite contrary.

They need a crooked sixpence and the man who gives it to them puzzles Belinda by informing her that a crooked mile is longer than an ordinary one. Maybe it is but the dolls haven't time to mull over that because they're on a hunt. Now, where would you find a sheep's tail that's been lost and found? What about a pie from a pieman's tray, and some wool that's not white or grey? Well, the latter two might seem possible, and as for the other one; luckily the crooked sixpence supplier puts them on to a person who has gone down in history as an expert on sheep's tails. One by one, the ingredients are found and when all are safely gathered, the dolls return to the palace where Humpty Dumpty is waiting for them. The King is then consulted as to how the glue should be applied.

The end is nigh and what a splendid photograph there is of Humpty in all his glory when the adventurers have returned to Daddy's workshop. Belinda and Tod's newly restored friend is very grateful for the help he's received and after leaving him, Belinda and Tod briefly join their little mistress who is lost to the world. Sitting on the bed and whispering softly into her ears, they inspire a dream telling of their adventures and assuring Jane that tomorrow she'll find Humpty Dumpty as good as he ever was.

What more could one ask for?

'Sing a Song of Sixpence, a Pocket full of Rye.' Rye appears to be a type of grain used to grow cereal.

Why would a King count his money? I've never seen a Royal taking out cash to pay for anything but maybe it was customary for a King to be more involved with his money in those days.

Jack and Jill were a boy and a girl who went up a hill, ostensibly to fetch a pail of water. Throughout the ages, various but indeterminate scholars have suggested they might have gone up for some other reason because a well isn't usually found on top of a hill. What they didn't know however is that the well is a magic one, and actually belongs to Jack and Jill's mother.

The person who has "gone down in history" as an expert on sheep's tails is a young lady known as Miss Bo Peep.

There's still some of the magic glue left but only Tod and Belinda know where it is. Not even Jane, or for that matter - Enid Blyton, are privy to the hiding place and that's a pity because Daddy would love to have some.

Credits: Created by Hugh and Sally Gee. Line Drawings: Sally Gee. Jane is presumably their daughter.