The Enid Blyton Society
Enid Blyton's Happy Story Book
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Book Details...

First edition: 1942
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Hodder Story Books
Genre: Mixed
Type: Short Story Series Books

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Reprint Covers
List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

Reprints
  1. Ha, Ha, Jack-in-the-Box!
    Story: Sunny Stories No.13 Apr 9, 1937
  2. The Horrid Little Boy
    Story: Sunny Stories No.12 Apr 2, 1937
  3. The Disappearing Hats
    Story: Sunny Stories No.14 Apr 16, 1937
  4. Santa Claus Gets a Shock
    Story: Sunny Stories No.154 Dec 22, 1939
  5. Ragged Old Monkey
    Story: Sunny Stories No.11 Mar 26, 1937
  6. A Bit of Blue Sky
    Story: Sunny Stories No.150 Nov 24, 1939
  7. Ellen's Adventure
    Story: Sunny Stories No.11 Apr 26, 1937
  8. The Big Juicy Carrot
    Story: Sunny Stories No.9 Apr 12, 1937
  9. Little Tom Taylor
    Story: Sunny Stories No.151 Dec 1, 1939
  10. Biggitty and the Green Hen
    Story: Sunny Stories No.9 Mar 12, 1937
  11. Susy-Ann's Clock
    Story: Sunny Stories No.154 Dec 22, 1939
  12. The Lost Slippers
    Story: Sunny Stories No.7 Feb 26, 1937
  13. The Squirrel and the Pixie
    Story: Sunny Stories No.149 Nov 17, 1939
  14. The Girl Who Tore Her Books
    Story: Sunny Stories No.8 Mar 5, 1937
  15. The Great Big Snowman
    Story: Sunny Stories No.2 Jan 22, 1937
  16. The Astonishing Brush
    Story: Sunny Stories for Little Folks No.239 Jun 1936
This is one of a bunch consisting of eight books. There's an average of 1 dozen short tales in each and they are all good examples of Enid Blyton doing what she did so well. Eileen Soper has illustrated all of the volumes so that was an undertaking for her and a draw-card for the fans.

Many of the stories have been mentioned in passing over the years and a good portion of the interest has probably come from those people who read them originally in the Sunny Stories magazines. Here's a rough idea of what the sixteen tales in this book are about.
Many toys in the Enid Blyton entourage cause antagonism to their respective associates and an ugly looking Jack-in-the-Box who shoots out of his little enclosure to frighten everyone to death is one of them. He scares the baby doll by waiting in a dark corner and then when she walks by, out comes a skinny little arm to undo the catch, and Hey Presto the horrible creature springs out to its full length, jerking and bouncing about in a most terrifying manner. The doll falls down in fright and turns blue in the face so the teddy bear has words with the recalcitrant Jack (he's called that) and says he should frighten people his own size - "Me for instance! I'm not afraid of you." Jack stores up a mental note that he'll make the bear eat his words and he does so in hilarious fashion but now it's time for "Something to be Done!" That's exactly what takes place with the help of a hammer - and the problem is solved. If not forever, them for a jolly long time.

A cross, spiteful, and snappy little boy learns a lesson in story number two. His name is Benjy and the bad behavior is directed only towards his mother, and his brothers and sisters but not when his father is home because papa is very strict. One day, Benjy forgets himself when the whole family is sitting round the table at dinner and he attacks his brother (with an accompanying growl). This enrages his father who decides to take therapeutic measures. Is Benjy taken to a counselor to try and solve his aggressive nature? No! How about a little psychiatric help? No! A priest? No! Father thinks he should be treated like Twister the family dog seeing the boy behaves like a snappy little puppy so poor Benjy is told to "Sit on the mat!" He's still hungry so his parent fetches him a bone. When the family visits the park, Benjy has to "walk to heel" with the dog and now I can hear a hammering noise out in the yard? Goodness Me, Daddy's making a kennel!

Sniffle and Snuffle are gnomes who run a hat shop in Get-About Village and everything's fine until the strange disappearances begin. Burly-One's hat disappears out of it's box in the bedroom and then Curly-top's hat disappears as well. They can't go to Lord High-and-Mighty's party without their top hats so it's obvious what has to be done. New ones have to be bought so they're off to the hat shop to purchase them and as the party is taking place this afternoon the hats will cost extra seeing that Sniffle and Snuffle will have to work so hard. There are more hat disappearances and this time it's Fee, Fi, and Fo who are unlucky so they're also off to the hat shop with the understanding that their new headgear will cost a good deal more seeing it's a rush job. A pattern may now be appearing for the astute person to interpret.

I can remember reading the tale in Chapter Four many years ago and thinking what a wonderful thing it would be to meet Santa Claus on Christmas Eve when he visited. Betty and Fred are the lucky children who are awakened very late at night by four reindeer knocking on their bedroom window. Help is needed. You see, whereas there are some countries that are bathed in the warmth of summer at Yuletide, others such as Great Britain are in the depths of winter and it gets so cold that even ponds can freeze over. Santa had landed in the garden because bungalow roofs are not down on his list as suitable places to park a sleigh and the poor old man had stumbled across the frozen pond in the darkness and fallen through the ice. The children rush to help by throwing out a rope and when Santa has got hold of it they drag him out. What an exciting night. Fred and Betty take the man into the kitchen where he tries to dry himself off by the glowing fire in the grate. Betty heats up some milk for their visitor and Santa does his best to squeeze the water out of his clothes. There's a descriptive picture of the children and Santa sitting by the fire and what a jolly time it is to rub shoulders with the Legend himself and to be told stories of what happens in his great castle. It has to end though because Santa's practically dry and right now there's a panic situation. The reindeer have woken up mother! Fly, Santa, Fly! Santa does so literally, and we know he can because his reindeer are no ordinary ones. Now here's a thought: Father Christmas has come and gone so will Fred and Betty wake in the morning and find their stockings empty?

"Ragged old Monkey" is quite a sad story about jealousy and bullying. Geoffrey has a birthday and the presents he receives are a large teddy bear, a clockwork soldier, a toy train, and a real live puppy-dog, all with high opinions of themselves. Amongst the other toys in the nursery is an old monkey with only one eye and one ear but as happens in life, the old dilapidated toy is often the favourite. It is in this case and that's where the jealousy comes in and also an unwarranted attack - "I'll drag him out of the cupboard and bite his other ear off!" says the puppy. That's where the bullying comes in and things aren't looking too good for the kind and peaceful old monkey.

"A Bit of Blue Sky" is a well-loved tale and has been the subject of many enquiries from Enid Blyton fans over the years. Whether the weather is fine or whether the weather is not, we'll weather the weather, whatever the weather, whether we like it or not. Harry and Joan can't accept that kind of vagueness - they want fine weather this afternoon full stop because they want to play Red Indians. Nannie Wimpole is called upon for help. She tells the children that they need to search for a bit of blue sky that would be large enough to make a sailor a pair of trousers and if they find a suitable patch, the weather will turn out fine. Well, you can just see Harry and Joan scrutinizing every square inch of the sky and eventually finding a patch of blue but is it big enough to cover a sailor's nether regions? With the help of a little magic passed down by their Nanny's great-grandmother and a rather clever point of view supplied by Harry, the children find out whether they will be able to play Red Indians after lunch.

Turning the pages brings much familiarity but that's not surprising because the stories in the Hodder series of books were read over and over again. Here's Ellen who works very hard at making a nice apron for the Sale of Work being held at her school this afternoon. The poor little girl becomes very upset to find that she's run out of material and has to finish the apron off by making the strings out of some leftover stuff in the ragbag. The sale is to be opened by a real, live Duchess so the teacher tells all the children to make sure they're back in the classroom after lunch. Ellen, attired in her best dress and with her hair well brushed, sets off from her home in plenty of time but it looks as if she's going to miss seeing the Duchess open the Sale because an emergency occurs.

Bobtail the rabbit and Long-ears the hare star in "The Big Juicy Carrot" and it's a familiar plot. The same thing happened with Twitchy and Woffly in EB's "Second Bedside Book" and it involves the dividing up of spoils. Neddy the donkey is the adjudicator in this case.

All the animals and birds in the farmyard love Tom Taylor and that's not surprising when you look at the picture of him bringing an overflowing basin of food to the pigs. Tom Taylor loves the farm and the animals idolize him because he works ceaselessly to ensure that they're all well looked after. Tom Taylor also loves the road outside the hedge where the cars and buses run. He has an urge to see them close up but there's a fence in the way because his wise parents know all about vehicles and little boys and they want to ensure that Never the Twain shall Meet. There's a hole in the fence!

Biggitty steals an egg from Dame Clucker's hen-house but when he arrives home he receives a surprise. The egg is green so it's obviously enchanted but if he boils it there should be no harm he thinks. The egg bursts when it has heated up enough and out flies a tiny green hen that wings its way out of the brownie's reach. This hen turns out to be one of those taletellers that Enid Blyton used regularly in her stories and as Biggitty is not only dishonest, but also untruthful and not very clean the hen has a field day. A pixie friend calls in to see if Biggitty would like to come with him for a walk and the hen shouts out from its perch. "Biggitty hasn't washed behind his ears this morning." The pixie laughs and walks away. Biggitty's dishonest act has brought him trouble and embarrassment. The baker and Dame Twiddle call as well and each are greeted with some negative description of the brownie's habits. Biggitty manages to catch the hen and take it back to Dame Clucker but that's no use because the bird returns and continues the persecution so there's only one thing to do. Biggity does it and reaps the reward when little Tiptoe the pixie visits him.

Suzy-Ann is lazy and slow but she always blames her lateness on the clock that hangs in her bedroom. No one likes being blamed for something that's not his or her fault and the same goes for the clock so it decides to teach Suzy-Ann a lesson. Imagine thinking you had plenty of time to get to school and then suddenly hearing the clock strike 9am! You'd do what Suzy-Ann did - put your hat on, grab your coat and rush off without even saying goodbye and forgetting to take your pencil-box and your biscuits for lunch. That's what happens to Suzy-Ann and when you think about it, how can she blame her clock for being fast considering that the usual excuse has been that it was slow. Teacher doesn't believe her at all and this heralds a bad time for Suzy-Ann as her clock keeps putting itself forward every now and again. After a while Suzy-Ann becomes very thoughtful and eventually takes steps to correct the situation.

Where are everyone's slippers disappearing? "The Lost Slippers" is a mystery that the Secret Seven could solve in a matter of hours, the Famous Five in much less time than that, and the Find-Outers in a few minutes. The players in this story are Peter, Betty, Daddy, Mummy, Cinders the cat, and Spot the dog.

All summer, Goldie who is a pixie with shining yellow hair, plays with the swallows until October comes and the birds fly south. Before leaving they suggest that Goldie sleeps through the cold winter and she thinks that would be a good idea but where can she snuggle down? She meets a squirrel that takes her to various locations where animals hibernate but none of them are suitable after all, who would want to snuggle up with a toad under a mossy stone? A nest of snakes? No, no, no - but eventually, a very agreeable place is found.

Can anyone think of a nasty habit that Enid Blyton hasn't covered? She's written about children who are liars, and cheats, and lazy-bonses, and thieves, and bullies and greedies, and pinchers, and tongue sticker-outers, and others who are forgetful and borrowers who don't return the goods, and there are careless children and teasers and kids with bad tempers and now in Chapter#14, we have Anna who's a book-tearer. Her mother gives her old newspapers to rip to pieces but Anna prefers only books. Obviously she has an obsessive-compulsive disorder and then one evening in the nursery with the firelight flickering in the gloom, Anna approaches a book she has been forbidden to touch. It's a big volume of nursery rhymes with pictures of all the various folk amongst its pages and what happens next might cause a weird picture to form in the mind's eye. Imagine being constructed out of paper and having someone come up to tear a piece out of you!

Jane and John build a grand snowman. They shove an old hat on its head, wrap a scarf round its neck and place gloves at the end of the big arms and even add some makeshift buttons down the snowman's front. There he is, standing out in the middle of the garden and When the children went to bed they looked out of the window at him. There was only a very little moon, so they could not see him very well ; he looked like a man standing in the middle of the garden. Now it's the middle of the night and two visitors called Bill and Jim have arrived to see if they can make off with Daddy's golfing prizes of silver cups and dishes. The snowman plays its part in this penultimate story.

"The Astonishing Brush." We don't have to worry about repetitive plots because all the stories have their little nuances and tweaks and here we have a duplicate of the EB tale "Sniff gets into Hot Water." It's about a brush that Dame Lazybones finds when she goes to do some cleaning at Wizard Twinkle's castle. You should never mess around with things you find in a Wizard's place of residence - especially if your name is "Lazybones!" The Dame learns a valuable lesson.
Teddy bears never seem to have a capital letter, or at least they haven't in the books I checked even though Teddy is a name. Apparently the toy bears received their title early last century when the American president, Theodore Roosevelt, who was often referred to as Teddy, did a little bear hunting.

"The Horrid Little Boy" duplicates the gist of another story that's printed in a book called "The Children's Hour" (observable in the book-listing on this site) but in that case the erring child is a little girl called Sally who's not so much "horrid" as a "whiner." Dogs whine! One has to admire the dedication of a parent such as Benjy's dad - a real do-it-yourselfer whom, we presume, has read his books on Child Development and the various pedagogical monographs put out by Piaget. That's all very well but he's decided to take a slightly more practical approach. I can see him out there in the yard sawing and hammering away to fashion a suitable kennel and I think that's truly worthy of praise. Admittedly I did nurse a kind of nagging doubt as to whether or not his attempt at child therapy was within the guidelines set out by the established agencies such as the NSPCC, but who are we to question his commitment?

It's actually quite easy to create Enid Blyton names. When I saw Sniffle and Snuffle, I made up Shiffle and Shuffle which I think are just as good although they don't seem quite as appropriate as Sniffle and Snuffle in the "hat" story and that's probably because the former has a title that relates to a slightly negative side of human behaviour

The Bit of Blue Sky technique works quite well because I've tried it. After reading this story way back in prehistoric times I can remember looking for a patch of blue on a dullish day and occasionally finding one. In most cases I believe the sun came out soon afterwards.

The tale about Ellen is typical of the Blyton "Reward for Good Deeds Performed out of the Kindness of one's Heart despite the Negative Ramifications Imminent for the Good Deed-Doer" genre.

The Secret Seven, The Famous Five and the Find-Outers are all Enid Blyton creations - each with their own series of books.

There's a quaint little story in the "Chimney Corner" collection that relates how Jimmy and Susan met up with some people made of paper and it might be remembered when reading the tale about the girl who tore her books. You'd think that a child would never be banned from touching a book of Nursery Rhymes but I think an exception to that rule would have to be made in Anna's case. "Supervision" would, no doubt, be the key word.

"Sniff gets into Hot Water" appeared in "Rubbalong Tales."

Most of the Hodder Story Books have a black and white picture of the author on the back cover. There's the famous photo that we've all seen, and also another of her with a few books in the background. Taking up a magnifying glass I could make out "Lord of the Jungle" and "Goldie of Greystones" which I'm sure she didn't write so I wonder where she was a the time. Perhaps at a book signing in one of the shops.

The Hodder Story Book wrappers are colourful and it looks as if each of them features a picture that aligns with one of the stories inside. The illustration on the cover of "Enid Blyton's Happy Story Book" is easily placed.