The Enid Blyton Society
Chuff the Chimney Sweep and Other Stories
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Book Details...

First edition: 1949
Publisher: H.A. & W.L. Pitkin
Cover Art: Uncredited
Illustrator: listed with stories
Category: Pitkin Pleasure Series
Genre: Mixed
Type: Short Story Series Books

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List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. Chuff the Chimney Sweep
    Illustrations: Grace Lodge
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  2. The Band
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  3. The Clockwork Clown and the Duck
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  4. The Talking Clock
    Illustrations: Dorothy M. Wheeler
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  5. The Clever Little Dog [The Little Circus Dog]
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  6. The Hey-Diddle Pie
    Illustrations: Dorothy M. Wheeler
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  7. The Very Beautiful Button
    Illustrations: Marjorie Thorp
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  8. The Tale of Tinker the Pup
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.3
  9. The Hungry Mouse
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  10. Bimbo's Big Find
    Illustrations: Dorothy M. Wheeler
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  11. The Kitten After Its Tail
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Poem: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  12. The Singing Saucepan
    Illustrations: not illustrated
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
  13. Robin's Runaway Car
    Illustrations: Dorothy M. Wheeler
    Story: News Chronicle Boys' and Girls' Story Book No.6
[ ] indicates the original title
1. "Pitkin Pleasure Books" give us these ten shortish tales and many of the pictures are by recognizable artists. The first story on offer is of course the title one and it stars a couple of ordinary looking children Dick and Janet. Out on a walk together they spy a motor car painted very gaily in red, green, yellow, and blue but so small, it reminds Dick of his own car at home which he and his sister can only just squeeze into. The urge is great so, despite the naughtiness of commandeering someone else's vehicle, they get in to see what such an attractive set of wheels has to offer. Next moment there's a disturbance. Behind them appears a gnome carrying chimney-sweeping poles and brushes and he's running flat tack from a very angry looking brownie with a long beard who's shouting out all kind of threats. The gnome is 'Chuff' of course. He jumps into the car, pushes Janet away from where she's sitting at the wheel, and starts up the motor. Off down the lane they go with the children trapped and being driven at top speed to Goodness Knows Where! Skilled fairy workmen have obviously crafted the vehicle because when a cow wanders out into the road a handle is pulled and the children feel themselves going up and over the animal then down to the road again with a bump.

At one stage when the car breaks down, Janet and Dick are ordered out to push the vehicle clear of the brownie's range, which probably means that his powers can't affect them if they put enough distance between him and the car. When they reach a blue sign-post they're safe and the chimney sweep reveals all - he'd cleaned Longbeard's chimneys and had to charge twice as much because of the state they were in. When the brownie refused to pay, Chuff had emptied a sack of soot over him - hence the agro. Explanations as to why the children were found in his car come forth and as they can't be taken back for the time being, they choose to accompany Chuff on his rounds. It's unusual to see humans in this particular part of Britain so the children's presence causes much interest as they whizz past the pixies and brownies strolling along the country roads.

Wizard High-in-the-air is next on the chimney-cleaning list and although his castle is on a cloud, the versatile car is equal to the occasion and once again at a touch of the handle it shoots into the air. Chuff disappears into the castle with instructions to the children not to try walking on the cloud because they might sink through. Janet and Dick follow his advice even when the Wizard himself emerges from the castle and tells them to come in for a drink of milk. Unfortunately for the children a Wizard is in the habit of having his invitations accepted so now he's upset Not very nice things happen but Dick and Janet are still alive when old Mother Hubbard is visited to have her chimneys serviced. What a pleasant lady she is but how are the children going to get back to their home ground of Blackberry Hill? A solution has to be found and then another question arises how will they convince their mama that such a thrilling adventure really took place?

2. The Clockwork Clown and the Duck is Story No.2 and as you know when children are in bed the toys come alive and are able to chat together, take a bit of exercise, and even cook up meals for themselves. Like many of those who live in close quarters the toys occasionally have grudges as well as public or private quarrels and these can make interesting reading. Young Robin is a lucky boy because he has a Noah's Ark, a couple of engines, dolls, a golliwog, a Teddy-bear, and added to that lot are a set of soldiers, a few tops and some bricks which he can use to build things.

The title has 'Clockwork Clown' in it so there has to be at least one and there is, but he's sitting in the cupboard all alone because none of the toys will speak to him. This clown is an interesting toy because he's able to climb up and down a ladder that's attached to him but the reason he's shunned is that when he first came to the nursery Robin had pushed him when he was at the top of his ladder and the clown had fallen down on top of some soldiers and a doll. They'd been hurt, and despite it being an accident the toys decided not to speak to the "careless, clumsy" clown anymore. One day Robin leaves a Noah's Ark duck out on the nursery floor after putting all the other animals away and when Milly the maid comes in to tidy up she sees the duck and puts it on the mantelpiece, but she's failed to notice it's sitting just along from the china fox whose pride of place is The Mantelpiece. A tense situation arises when the toys hear the duck calling that the fox is going to eat him up come midnight so whether or not this tale can have a happy ending is open to speculation.

3. 'Pooh' is a bear. He's also a brownie who address is Pooh-Penny Cottage in Acorn Village. Penny lives with him and they are mean and untruthful so there you have a couple of prime candidates for 'Enid Blyton Justice' and we can assume they get it. One day while heading for Bumblebee Common they notice Farmer Tickles' cart transporting some furniture and other chattels to Mr. Know-a-lot's new house in the next village. Something falls off the back of the cart and true to their nature, Pooh and Penny wait until the farmer has disappeared and then rush to see what kind of prize they've acquired for themselves. It is one lovely blue clock, perfect for their mantelpiece and in no time at all that's where it ends up painted red of course so no one will cotton on as to it's origin, and after being wound up the clock ticks away merrily. Chuff the Chimney Sweep is not their landlord but when rent day comes, a Mr. Chuff-chuff calls and is told by his tenants that money is short and it's very hard to make ends meet at the moment. Mr. Chuff-chuff, who is a sympathetic man, is inclined to let them off but any Blyton reader should be able to gauge what happens. Somehow the clock knows the brownies' statement is not true and added to that, it can talk! Mother Bonny and Dame Trip makes an appearance and so do bad eggs!

4. Several Enid Blyton characters have watched a circus parade go by. A young boy named Dick was impressed when Mr. Ravelini's Circus rolled through the town, and William was rewarded when he happened to see a parade go through the market place. Pip and Susy-Ann watched Mr. Phillipino's Circus make its way into a field and a boy called Jimmy Brown watched Mr. Galliano's Circus wend its way past him and his classmates. Joan and Bobby also hung round Mr. Galliano's Circus when it took up lodgings in Farmer Straw's field, but now we have Millie and Pat who are standing in the High Street watching a circus moving through their village. It's quite a spectacle and when the last van has passed the children hear a yelp and discover a dog lying in the gutter. The poor thing appears to have been knocked down so the children pick the creature up and take it home for Mummy to apply some first aid. The puppy's leg is hurt quite badly but fortunately not broken so after bathing it Mummy applies a bandage and then some milk is heated for the patient to lap. Curiously no one calls at the door looking for a lost puppy even though the police station has been contacted, so the dog's little guardians decide to keep it until someone turns up to claim it. The strange part is in the dog's behaviour sometimes it stands on its hind legs and puts out a paw for someone to shake and it can even balance a biscuit on its nose. No seriously ... I'm not joking. Well, well ... it's only two pages into the story and already those with analytical minds are coming to a conclusion ... and now the circus is due back with the kids raring to go to go but Mummy's lost her purse, which means they can't attend. The children are so unhappy but the letdown is accepted with bravery because these children are of excellent stock and, as usually happens when boys and girls are brave, there are happy times ahead.

5. Dame Criss-Cross lives in Pinniky Village and her name says it all she's a cross old woman. The pixie and gnome children love to play on the common adjoining her house because there are bluebells in the dells and in autumn time, the blackberries are fine. What a lovely place for kiddies to enjoy themselves, and they do so from dawn till dusk. One might think that Dame Criss-Cross's day would be brightened with the sound of their jolly voices but unfortunately that isn't the case. The old crosspatch hates listening to them because, due to her character, she misses out on any fun and games that are going and doesn't like seeing others enjoying life. Who would you support her or the children? EB has a habit of making us take sides and in this particular case we're probably 99 out of 100 for the children (there's always one). The young pixies and gnomes are aware they're not on the Dame's Christmas card list so when a ball once happened to end up in her garden they wouldn't go in to fetch it and even when Silver-toes fell over and received a nasty a cut, they didn't dare to ask the Dame for help.

One day the children are playing on the common as usual and when Criss-Cross sets off to do some shopping a bunch of pixies accidentally run into her as she steps outside the gate. The pixies are very sorry of course but the Dame shakes her stick and threatens to hit them if they ever come past her cottage again. They run off home but when they next want to visit the common there's a problem because it means they'll have to pass the Dame's cottage. The villagers are on their side however and tell them to take no notice of the bad tempered woman in fact they'll send a letter that'll make her 'shiver and shake in her toes.' That's right, 'Shiver and Shake!'

"If you beat our children, we will come and turn you out of your cottage ..." - the elfin schoolmaster who writes the letter doesn't mince words. "It was an accident and the Pixies are sorry. If you try to stop them playing on the common we will punish you."

It's good to have friends, and as grown-ups are more inclined to defend each other, the pixies are very lucky. It certainly does the trick but the tale doesn't end here because Dame Criss-Cross broods over her lot. She's a revengeful person and soon she's away on her broomstick to seek out an old friend Mother Grumpy. Enid Blyton reuses an old idea and it doesn't end until Hey-Diddle, the Balloon Man, little Tip-Tap, Clippit the Bee-Woman, and Mother Shoo-away have all played their parts.

6. Another bad-tempered person features in Story No.6 and it's a gnome called Cinders who's very proud of the buttons sewn on his tunic. Buttons aren't much to be proud of but these particular examples are described as 'beautiful' so it can be taken as read. One cloudy day, Cinders grabs a brolly and makes his way to the village hall where a concert has been advertised. When it's halfway through, one of the buttons springs off his chest ... probably because he'd eaten quite a lot of dinner before setting out. Not wanting to disturb other members of the audience by groping around under the seats to retrieve the button, he just sits there until the curtain falls.

Everyone then gets up to partake of refreshments but Cinders stays back to search for his lost treasure and finding it has disappeared he jumps to the conclusion that someone in the audience has found the button and secreted it away. He claps his hands to get everyone's attention and then informs them of his suspicions - telling them that if he doesn't get the button back he'll find out who the thief is by using magic. That's quite a threat because Cinders' powers are considerable, but still no one coughs up so the bad tempered gnome draws a circle on the floor and puts a dot in the middle of it. Then he starts chanting some very magical sounding words, which install more than a little fear into the concertgoers, but nothing happens, even though the powerful spell can force any thief to enter the circle. Puzzlement ensues. Cinders chants the spell once more and still nothing happens. Suffice to say there's going to be a lot of teasing in the village from today on.

7. I am a puppy dog and my name is Tinker and I'm in disgrace. So, what have I done to deserve the wrath of my owner? Well, for a start I jumped up onto the bed at about six o'clock this morning and bit a hole in the eiderdown. No big deal but it earned me a smack when the mistress woke up so I decided to go downstairs and visit the cook. I was given a biscuit and then, believe it or not, she went mad at me because I pulled all the bristles out of her scrubbing brush. She slapped me hard for that so I went upstairs to sniff round the bedrooms and what did I find under the master's bed but a nice slipper. No matter how politely my request was worded it wouldn't play with me so I became a little angry which is quite understandable and had to punish it by tearing the party-pooper to bits. Would you believe it, when the mistress came in and saw what had happened she seemed terribly angry and wouldn't listen to my argument regarding the slipper's non-compliance with my wishes. I was dragged downstairs and locked into the kitchen with the terrible threat of a whipping should I be naughty again!

Me... Naughty? I think it must have been an error of judgment on her part and she may have felt sorry for mishandling me because what better way to make up than to put me in the kitchen with a mouth-watering string of sausages sitting on the table. Thanking her inwardly, I seized one because I'm not greedy and guess what happened ... the rest followed right behind and they wouldn't go away so I suppose they all wanted to be eaten. Out into the yard I went for a most delicious meal and when it was over the cook came out and whacked me with a broom. Ooh, my head! I tore off and settled down for a nap but the chickens next door were cheeping loud enough to wake the dead! Well I won't bore you with the details of what I did to them, and I'll draw a veil over the garden incident suffice to say I'm now tied up and in disgrace. Is life worth living I wonder?

8. On their way home from school, Jane and Peter hear a kitten mewing pitifully from the ditch so they rescue it and take the poor creature home. A saucer of warm milk is gratefully received and a sleep in front of the fire is just the ticket for a kitten's well being. Can the children keep it?


That's strange ... grown-ups usually say "No!" but they have to look after it themselves because mother has her hands full with Baby. Jane and Peter christen their pet 'Bimbo' but they haven't counted on the mischief a kitten can get up to. Peter loses his laces, Jane's stockings suffer because of Bimbo's climbing attempts, mother loses her darning wool, and there's a hole in the curtain attributable to You Know Who. Under instructions to keep the thing under control, the children carry Bimbo to the nursery where Peter begins reciting a story to their pet all about their Great-grandma who owned a beautiful diamond necklace that was kept for her in a secret place. To this day no one knows where it is because Great-grandfather passed away before he could reveal the whereabouts. Next day Bimbo disappears.

9. The Saucepan Man is a well-known Enid Blyton personality who strolls about with saucepans and kettles hanging all round him. 'Skip' the pixie also makes his money in like fashion with a string of tiny saucepans hanging down his back. Unfortunately he's rather cheeky and often shows his displeasure if a potential customer decides against purchasing anything. Today Skip's sold nothing at all and he's getting rather hungry so he calls into an old dame's cottage to see if he can interest her in anything. He can't, and the pixie is told to go away when he asks for a piece of her newly baked cake.

"The King is coming to tea today and I've made it for him," the dame tells Skip.

Well ... why would the King come to tea with an ugly old dame like her and please don't blame me for that because it's Skip who actually voices the sentiment. The question is: What would be your action if someone said that to you? Perhaps you might seize a stick and give the person a thrashing and in this case that's exactly what the old dame does. The sobbing pixie races away to plan suitable revenge and after a thinking session he returns to the old dame's cottage to carry out a devious plan. The woman is having a lie down so Skip is able to sneak into the kitchen and replace a saucepan that's sitting on the stove with one of his own that's been treated with a little magic, and filled with water. When it boils, it looks like things are going to happen ... but things are already happening because the King of Fairyland has arrived in his golden carriage. Skip hadn't believed he was actually coming and he's now apprehensive because Kings are Very Important People and don't take kindly to hanky-panky. Escape is out of the question because one of the coachmen is near the gate thus preventing a discreet withdrawal. Would you believe it - the storyline ends up explaining to us why oak trees put their acorns into little saucepans.

10. A little boy called Robin has just celebrated his birthday and he received a present that might be the envy of all his mates a red and yellow motorcar. Perhaps he fell in love with Noddy's little vehicle and expressed his desire for one of his own; but I don't think the little wooden man's car would have two seats in the front and two in the back, and a hooter that sounds almost as loud as the one on Daddy's car. One flaw exists however the vehicle has no lamps, which I think would translate these days as 'headlights' and Robin would like some because he can't drive at night without lights. Perhaps you couldn't imagine Robin going out at night in his car; well, his mother certainly can't, because she wouldn't let him.

One afternoon Robin pedals along to the shop, parks his vehicle, and goes in to buy some sweets but he's unprepared for what happens next. Coming out, he spies his precious car moving away with no one driving it! Racing after it and jumping into the driver's seat he tries to use the steering wheel but to no avail, the car just keeps on going and he can't even put his feet on the pedals because they're going up and down so fast. Tooting the horn madly, Robin is taken along the road and then up Market Hill before turning down a queer little street he's never seen before. Could he be dreaming the houses are made of what look like toy bricks and there are dolls and teddy bears walking round. It has to be Toyland surely; and now an adventure is mapped out for the bewildered child because a golliwog suddenly runs up to the nearby sweetshop and throws a brick through the window. Helping himself to a box of toffee, the miscreant gallops off on a wooden horse followed by the inevitable "Stop thief!" from the shopkeeper. There're thrills and plenty of action from here on, and there's a surprise for Robin at the finish.

The Pitkin range of Enid Blyton short stories average out at about nine per book and filch their titles from the first in line. 'We want a Story' is a slightly different there's no tale called 'We want a Story,' or for that matter - 'Let's Have a Story' which has as its first offering: 'The Boy With a Thousand Wishes.'

The illustrations are, on the whole, pretty good but what else could one expect when E. H. Davie, Dorothy Wheeler, and Hilda McGavin are well represented ... as are Grace Lodge and Sylvia Venus whose pictures fit the Blyton mould quite adequately.

Dick and Janet are very lucky children they get to see the original cupboard that was bare when Mother Hubbard was not so well off ... but what a change there's been. It's full to the brim with goodies and there's also plenty of food for her twenty-four dogs yes she has that many and the two children are introduced to the actual pooch for whom centuries ago Mother Hubbard had gone to the cupboard for a bone. A fairly mundane procedure admittedly and these days one might be inclined to open a 'fridge,' but Mother Hubbard's little chore has gone down in history.

a) The clockwork clown is called Punchinello - a name generally connected with puppets and clowns of Italian origin.
b) Milly tends to clear up any mess the kids leave lying around so if you're an untidy person it might be a good idea to get a maid in once or twice a week to 'Do' for you.

Several EB stories run on similar lines to 'The Talking Clock.' To name three, there's 'The Talking Teapot' (Old Thatch Series), 'The Talking Shoes' (Now For A Story), and 'Walls Have Ears, and Shoes Have Tongues' (Rubbalong Tales).

a) Mr. Ravelini's Circus featured in Three Boys and a Circus. William who was rewarded with a free ticket can be discovered in EB's Third Bedside Book. Mr. Phillipino's Circus is recorded in Boys' and Girls' Circus book alias Enid Blyton's Circus Book, and Jimmy Brown, whose powers are almost equal to Philip Mannering's when it comes to taming wildlife, starred in the 'Galliano Circus' books and they can all be seen in the Cave on this very site.
b) The clever little dog's name is 'Chummy.'

a) The plot of this tale has been used more than once. Like several of the contents including the title (Chuff), it came from 'Boys' & Girls' Story Book No.6' but contains less pictures.
b) Dame Criss-Cross is half witch hence the broomstick.
c) Tip-Tap is servant to Clippit the Bee Woman. Enid Blyton made several references to a 'Bee Woman' so readers can try to work out exactly what a 'Bee Woman' is.

a) There's aren't many EB stories written from a first person point of view but The Tale of Tinker is one. Another that comes to mind would be The Wonderful Adventure, described as Enid Blyton's earliest full length 'holiday adventure' story.'
b) Is Tinker a name? A 'tinker' can of course be looked upon as a mender of things ... one who travels around (or used to travel around) mending pots and pans. 'Tinker' is also defined as messing about or fiddling with something but Enid Blyton has used the word as a dog's name and it sounds quite good; Shadow the Sheepdog works with an associate called Tinker; however, it might not be exclusively reserved for males because there's also a petite fairy in literature named ... 'Tinker Bell.'

'Bimbo!' What does it mean? The modern version suggests an attractive but rather empty-headed person of the female gender. Many people may have become acquainted with the word when they first heard a lilting melody sung by the Texan chart-topper named Jim Reeves. The song is called 'Bimbo' and it's about a little boy "... with a grown-up mind ..." so this might place him alongside another Bimbo definition found in Potpourri - Slang of the 1920s - a 'Tough Guy.' It turns up again in a 1950 booklet called 'Raggle Taggle Rhymes' - Billy Boy Bimbo off to the sea, He went a-paddling above his knee. A wave came up ... and there's a picture of a small lad at the beach with his bucket and spade so that's another 'boy' connection. 'Bimbo' can be seen as 'baby' in Italian, and because it sounds all right, I think it's a good name for a cat. Enid Blyton thought so too and used it for one of hers and even included it in a story about two little girls who were presented with a kitten. Why did they call it Bimbo? Because their Mummy once had a cat by that name. Who was Mummy? Well the girls' names were Gillian and Imogen so it's not hard to guess. Like all the rest, Bimbo and Topsy can be viewed in the Cave of Books.

a) Many Enid Blyton tales suggest the origins of things we take for granted. For example there's The Adventures of Pip where catkins on a hazel hedge are described as lambs' tails, and Pip presents his Aunt Twinkle with a brand new purse which he obtained from a plant called Shepherd's Purse. Why gooseberries have whiskers is explained in Round the Clock Stories,My Enid Blyton Book,My First Enid Blyton Book, EB's Pixieland Story Book(and the rest!), and where a cat got his claws is described in The Poppy Story Book. In E.B's Merry Story Book, a cat that loses its claws turns to a blackberry bush for replacements rather than the rose bush featured in Poppy, and in Enid Blyton's Book of the Year we're informed as to why male sparrows have black bibs under their chins.
b) Plenty of EB characters end up getting knocked around but I think Skip the saucepan pixie would have the advantage if someone lashed out at him because his pots and pans could act as a kind of armour.

Perhaps the 'Robin' in Robin's Runaway Car is the same boy who has such a well-stocked nursery in Story No.2.