The Enid Blyton Society
Polly Piglet
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Book Details...

First edition: 1943
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: Brockhampton Picture Books
Genre: Farm
Type: Short Story Series Books

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Review by Terry Gustafson

She's round and fat and pink with a funny nose and a curly tale. Living all by herself in a sty Polly is naturally a little lonely so, although she can hardly make it due to her fatness, she manages to squeeze out underneath the gate and thereby become a free entity.

Unfortunately her brusque and direct manner doesn't exactly endear her to a few of the more staid creatures that inhabit the farmyard - those such as the mother hen and her ten chicks, or the duck family. Basically they don't like her very much because Polly is considered 'ugly,' and the youngsters are scared of her.

The four lambs Polly encounters also think she's obnoxious and they run away in fright. The piglet is unhappy so she continues wandering about seeking someone who'll be her friend but when she meets up with two little calves they act exactly as the other animals had. They think Polly is queer and they cement their dislike by splashing her with mud, so she's now a pink spotted piglet.

She races off, and enters the human world.

Surely they'll treat her with a little more respect. She trots up to where some children are playing near a baby who's resting in a perambulator. Putting her front feet up on the pram, Polly sticks her head in and asks the little tyke if she would like to come and live with her in the pigsty. Unfortunately, the baby can't really understand what Polly's talking about, and the piglet's sudden appearance frightens her as well. All she can do is to react, and that entails bawling loudly which means the children run up and chase Polly away in fine style, yelling out after her that she's an ugly, muddy little pig.

It's about now that Polly realises she'll have to change her image because being called ugly by everyone she meets up with means she's not about to win friends and influence people in the very near future. She moves on wishing she'd been born with feathers like the hen and the duck, or perhaps soft wool like the sheep but as she's bereft those accouterments her thoughts change direction when she spies a clothesline with articles of apparel hanging from it. An idea enters her head - why shouldn't she hide her 'ugly pink body' by wearing pretty clothes, like the baby she had tried to woo?

Now, this sounds such a brainwave that she immediately knocks down the clothesline and experiences 'Seventh Heaven' when coats, frocks, woollen leggings, frilly bonnets and a lovely red sash tumble to the ground. This is just what she needs to change her image so that she can present herself as a more sophisticated representative of the porcine species. Donning a coat by putting her front legs through the sleeves and pulling on some leggings, she completes her transformation by tying the sash round her waist and placing a bonnet on her pink head.

What does she look like?

Well, Enid Blyton uses the words 'pretty' and 'sweet' so who are we to say otherwise? Now, all that Polly needs is a friend and it looks as if even that desire is going to be fulfilled because strolling proudly by is none other than Mister Percy Pig. Eileen Soper has produced a very elegant, looking boar dressed in striped trousers and wearing a black coat with tails. Very impressive indeed but not exactly the kind of person with whom the piglet would like to tangle because, speaking frankly, she's afraid of him.

Mister Percy Pig, on the other hand, is extremely impressed when he sets eyes on Polly and what happens then is covered with eight more Soper pictures, the second to last one showing eleven pigs in all!

The story begins in the old fashioned way Once Upon A Time. This opening line seems to have originated way back in the middle ages and is supposed to mean that whatever occurs in the narrative, happened 'A long time ago.'

Everything is relative and as beauty is supposed to be in the eyes of a beholder, theoretically the same could be applied to ugliness. What is considered 'ugly' could in some peoples' (or animals') minds, be classed as relatively 'beautiful.'

The subject matter doesn't really allow for any major twists and the variety of illustrations is not all that great but like the others, this booklet is colourful and concise ... in fact, the Little Books could be a desirable series to gather up. There looks to be only eighteen of them, two excellent artists are the illustrators, they're all the same size, and a good representative example of EB's short stories can be found within their pages. Don't mix them up however with, wait for it - Enid Blyton's Little Books. But these are Enid Blyton's Little Books! Well, yes but in actuality, the label at the bottom signifies them as Enid Blyton Little Book followed by a number. Confusing? Yes! However, the Enid Blyton's Little Books are not as substantial, and they contain only monochrome illustrations, so you'd be better off going for Enid Blyton 'Little Book (in the plural). Still confused? Yes! OK, this series is Brockhampton and the other is Evans.

Another plus of course is the presence of true colour pictures. There are not many Blyton books that contain them, and sadly, the landmarks are very short of colour - Adventure, Kirrin, Find-Outer, St. Clare's, Malory Towers and so on (except for the wrappers of course). The 'Omnibus' has colour admittedly although it rations the tints to reds, greens, blues amongst one or two others, and 'Rubbalong' is restricted as well. The 'Magazine Annuals,' 'Gifford Flower,' and 'Holiday Books' are treated likewise although 'The Big Enid Blyton Book' has reasonable shades in certain parts, and the 'Noddy' books are in colour of course. There's a rumour in high circles that certain works such as the Kirrin collection, are now illustrated in colour. I reckon that that would be very welcome because colour enhances ... although a lot of traditionalists disagree when it comes to the colouration of old movies.