The Enid Blyton Society
The Proud Golliwog (Little Book No. 3)
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Book Details...

First edition: 1951
Publisher: Brockhampton Press
Illustrator: Molly E. Brett
Category: Brockhampton Little Books
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Short Story Series Books

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List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

  1. The Proud Golliwog
    Story: Sunny Stories No.381 May 31, 1946
  2. A Bit of Orange Peel
    Story: Sunny Stories No.378 Apr 19, 1946
  3. The Sum That Was Wrong
    Story: Sunny Stories No.388 Sep 6, 1946
  4. The Horrid Dog
    Story: Sunny Stories No.386 Aug 9, 1946
  5. "I Shall Run Away!"
    Story: Sunny Stories No.387 Aug 23, 1946
Seeing your picture in a newspaper, magazine, or even in a book can be quite satisfying. You don't rush round telling everyone though because the etiquette embraced when this happens is simply to sit back and wait for your friends to approach.

I think that's the way it's meant to work but in the case of a golliwog that happens to reside in Susie's nursery, the attitude adopted when he happens to look inside a particular book is almost embarrassing. He sees what is presumed to be himself staring out from the pages, and that's understandable seeing all golliwogs look much the same.

Well, now it's time for him to strut about the nursery holding his head high and informing everyone how important he is - after all, he's in a book. What a hero he must be, but the toys tend to laugh and tell him he's a storyteller - in fact it could be another golliwog. The golliwog insists it's his good self.

"Show us then," demands the clockwork clown.

That's no problem and the book in question is displayed. Whilst the toys pore over it, the golliwog starts preening himself and suggesting that everyone should bow to him because he's got the makings of a king.

Good Gracious! Isn't that going a little far in the vanity stakes?

The toys consider he's acting like a bore and go off to play by themselves but the golliwog follows them round and suggests he should be their leader and choose all the games. The toys are irritated and the bear suggests that whereas the book might have his picture in it, the story could be about someone else. The golliwog's answer makes sense I suppose because he tells them that stories are woven round the pictures inside a book, therefore it must be about him. The big doll asks him to read the tale in question so the argument can be settled once and for all but His Wonderful Royal Highness Golliwog can't read! Mind you, none of the other toys can read either so the Pansy Pixie is called in to do the honours.

It's not a very good start to the proceedings when the book's title is read out: THE BAD GOLLWOG. What follows is a litany of extremely untoward acts committed by the storybook golly. They just keep on piling up and as discretion is called for, we'll just quote two of the sins recorded - he smacks a doll, and steals sweets out of the toy sweet shop!

As they all listen, tears begin streaming from the golliwog's eyes and he begs the pixie to read no more - but she does, and what happens to the storybook golliwog is simply too terrible to reveal.

A Bit of Orange peel:

'Harry' is a common name in the Blyton books and sure enough it's Harry whom David's going to see. The reason being that David's granny is visiting today and she's going to bring Grandpa's ship which is her present to David for his birthday. David relays the good news to Harry and then after he's been to to tell Sammy, he calls in at John's place just before returning home. John's mother asks him if he'd like an orange and when she throws one over to him a small proviso is added -

"Don't throw any of the peel about, will you David?"

That's a reasonable instruction because littering can be a real nuisance and we're all aware of what discarded orange peels and banana skins can cause when inadvertently dropped. The introduction of a small aside such as the above might cause antennas to start throbbing because we know the way Enid Blyton stories go and thus with a little thought, one could possibly predict the outcome of this tale.

The Sum that was Wrong

No doubt about it, Molly Brett has produced an excellent picture of three little girls with their teacher who's written a sum on the blackboard for Katie to add up. Katie's hopeless at arithmetic and whilst we ourselves could add two and three and four together correctly, Katie can't. Eventually, after fetching some apples from the school kitchen and performing a demonstration, she learns that two and three and four equals nine, not eight.

After school Katie happens to be playing down by the seashore when she spies a curious pot with a cork in it. 'Aladdin's Lamp' might be a better way to describe the object because we can visualise what might happen when she pulls the cork out. The accompanying picture shows some sprite-like people of the sea sitting on a rock and berating Katie for releasing 'Green Eyes.' Who might 'Green Eyes' be? None other than an evil goblin who suddenly materializes from the pot in which he's been imprisoned for five hundred years. Instead of being grateful to the little girl, he says she must be his slave. One of the sea people tells Katie that she'll have to work for him practically forever - unless she can think of something the Green Goblin can't do. The goblin speaks:

"There's nothing I can't do."


The Horrid Dog

Uncle Ned who's been staying at George's place has given the boy a shilling. A shilling is quite a tidy sum for a kid to have and George has already decided what he'll do with it; he wants a ball so that he can play games with Joan and he'll also buy three tuppenny bars of chocolate with the money left over - one for Mummy, one for Joan, and one for himself. Away to the toyshop they go where George selects a large red ball for himself before they both set off to get some chocolate. As they exit the sweetshop, all hell breaks loose.

Unfortunately the unexpected doesn't discriminate, but one can't help feeling very sorry for these two little children who had trotted out so happily to purchase a treat for themselves.

I Shall Run Away

I wonder if the nursery in this tale is the same that features in the first story because the occupants look very similar. The theme concerns a rather naughty clockwork mouse who decides to scarper because the other toys are "horrid" to him. This may not be strictly true because the reason he's been given the odd scolding or smack is due to bad behaviour, and Enid Blyton is very firm on the principal of justice. She lists a few reasons why the mouse has attracted such ire - there was the time he hid the clown's key, and he also bit the big doll's sash in half. You can see her holding the two pieces and looking very miserable. He even nibbled the teddy bear's ear when he was asleep and that's not a nice thing to do by any means. The toys would love to be friends with him if only he would be good and kind, but it seems too late because his mind is made up. He's off.

Well, what a disaster. The peeved rodent is threatened by a 'big noisy animal' in the dining room and then he's accosted by two more in the sitting-room and kitchen. Scurrying down the passage, he encounters another terrifying creature that threatens to make him jump out of his skin.

What other terrors await him outside the comfy confines of the nursery?
Molly Brett is a pretty good illustrator and complements the Enid Blyton books well ... especially those with toys in them.

#1: If the golliwog ever sees this book, we may never hear the end of it, although one has to assume he's learnt the usual Blyton lesson of comeuppance. However if he hasn't, there's going to be mayhem in the nursery; that is if Susie ever has this booklet given to her as a birthday present. Just imagine the golliwog opening it and seeing that a story really has been written about him, together with colour pictures!

#3: As you can see, Katie is wearing the same dress as worn by Milly-Molly-Mandy - that is if you have any colour pictures of this ancient but very popular character.

Aladdin didn't need to extract a cork from his lamp. He simply rubbed it when the genie was required.

The Green Goblin who emerges from the lamp might have a greater claim to fame than the golliwog in Story #1 - because some years earlier Enid Blyton wrote The Green Goblin Book.

The author has introduced an angle similar to that which features in a few other stories - the situation of being enslaved by an evil man of magic with the only way of escape being to discover something the sorcerer can't do. In The Book of Brownies, a Very Wise Man was able to perform any request until he was asked to make a curly lock of hair into a straight one. He failed that task although, when reading it at the time, I considered that a magic word or spell should have solved it easily enough. In The Boy With a Thousand Wishes a gnome granted Gordon a wish every hour but unfortunately it meant exactly that. Sleeping would be out of the question with such an encumbrance and the only way out of the boy's predicament was for Gordon to think of something the gnome couldn't do. Fortunately, he managed to and was thus freed from his plight. In the book entitled Rubbalong Tales there's a slightly similar incident whereby a belligerent enchanter challenges partygoers to yell out something that he can't change into. He manages every time but seals his own doom with the last request.

#4. Most of the Enid Blyton fans would know what a shilling is by now but just in case ... a shilling was equal to twelve pennies and could supply a sweet-toothed child with an ample supply of fodder.

Joan, George's small sister, thinks that because a penny is bigger in size than a shilling, it should buy much more.

A tuppenny bar of chocolate (as in the book) costs two pennies.

A brand new ball these days would probably cost over a pound, and a larger one such as that which George bought, would fetch more.

Molly Brett has drawn one of those lovely old sweetshops that used to be so common in English villages. Maybe one or two of these establishments still exist in some out-of-the-way hamlets.

#5: As the clockwork mouse had hidden the clown's key - by the same token, why not hide his key?

The mouse's decision to 'get away from it all' is reflected in the plot of that timeless movie 'Wizard of Oz.' Dorothy, who was also fed up with the way life treated her, ran away to what she thought would be a much more fruitful existence only to find that things weren't so hot outside the home environment, and at the movie's end, she was asked -

"What have you learnt?

Dorothy answers: " ... that if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again I won't look any further than my own back yard because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with."

On the back of the earlier books in this series is a photograph that depicts Enid Blyton as the Queen of Storytellers.