The Enid Blyton Society
The Enid Blyton Pennant Readers 24
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Book Details...

First edition: 1950
Publisher: Macmillan
Illustrator: Eileen A. Soper
Category: The Enid Blyton Pennant Readers
Genre: Mixed
Type: Readers

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List of Contents
Review by Terry Gustafson

Reprints
  1. The Big Boy
    Story: Specially Written
  2. The Forgotten Pets
    Story: Specially Written
The Big Boy

Yes, he's big and also strong for his age. The name is George, he can run fast, has a loud voice, and he likes teasing the other children who are hesitant to stand up for themselves in case the bully becomes violent. One of George's favourite pastimes is pulling the girls' hair and pinching the boys' arms and legs to make them squeal. One of the children is so put out by this behaviour that on a single occasion he tries hitting back. This turns out to be detrimental for young Bobby because George immediately grabs hold of the boy and slaps him so hard that finger-marks show down his cheek.

"There! That's what happens to people who hit me!" says George

What one might wish for is the appearance of a lad skilled in martial arts to confront the bully but you don't often see them around - especially in 1950 when all this occurred, so we can only trust that Enid Blyton will supply a little balance to the situation. After Bobby's altercation with George no one even thinks of slapping or pinching back at him, and that's where the matter presently stands.

Time moves on, and then after school one day Winnie goes searching for her sister, Hilary. Rounding a corner she locates her sibling all right, but someone else is with the girl. Yes, it's none other than our George indulging in one of his favourite occupations - he's yanking little Hilary's hair - but not only that, whilst taking in the sordid scene, Winnie watches as George grabs hold of a passing boy and pinches both his legs till he yells.

There are eight further pages to this tale and it contains what it needs to contain - plus a moral, which Enid Blyton often inserts for the benefit of her readers.

The Forgotten Pets

Eileen and Fred have a rabbit, a canary and a dog but not one of their pets is happy because the children don't look after them, as they should. Creatures housed in hutches and cages and kennels are dependent on owners to keep their living quarters clean and to supply such basics as straw to nestle in and water to drink. Unfortunately, Eileen and Fred just can't be bothered to mess around cleaning cages and the like when there are so many other things to be done.

A critical point is reached and out of desperation the rabbit sends a message to his pixie friend pleading for help whereupon Twinkle gets together with a few of his pixie mates to devise a plan. Next day when the children are returning from school, Twinkle ambles up and says,

"Would you come and stay with us for a day or two because we don't see many boys and girls where we live. We'll give you a little house to stay in and the fairies, pixies, and brownies can all come and have a look at you."

I think one could make a guess at what's going to happen from this point.

The children agree wholeheartedly to accept Twinkle's invitation because it sound so grand - they'll even have plates and cups with their own names on them. Fred remarks,

"How lovely. We'll be just like pets."

"Yes, you will," says Twinkle." (with a twinkle?)

The children are taken to Fairyland and shown into a dear little two-roomed house where there's a fire burning to ward off the cold. Their dwelling contains two beds but each has only one blanket; however Twinkle promises he'll get some more. He then displays the cups and plates that that have the children's names on them. How delightful. Fred and Eileen walk out into the garden and find there's a wire-netting fence all round the section with a locked gate but they don't appear to have caught on yet. Twinkle tells them the entrance is locked so that no bad brownie or pixie can get in and, having clued them up on everything he departs, leaving the children to their own devices.

The first day is pure fun with delicious meals served on their own personal plates and fairy folk arriving to take a look at them through the fence, but when night falls and the children go back into the house, they discover it's quite chilly because the fire's gone out. There's no wood or coal to be seen and Twinkle looks as if he's forgotten to bring the extra blankets for their beds. Fred & Eileen call out in vain for the chief pixie but no answer is forthcoming and they can't get through the locked gate to search for him.

What a night! The children can't sleep and they're unable to get themselves a drink because no tap can be found. The wind howls round and the children discuss their predicament. Eileen states that Twinkle should look after them better than this - after all he promised to bring extra blankets, and there isn't a drop of water to drink. I mean to say, if he wants them to be like pets then surely he ought to treat them in a more humane way.

Morning finally dawns and after a long wait, Twinkle appears with a morsel of breakfast, but don't be alarmed ... he promises them both a much better dinner. He also assures the children that he'll bring along some water although not just yet because he's rather busy. As for the blankets! He declares -

"How stupid of me to forget! I must bring those along with me."

The children wait all day with various pixies staring at them through the fence. They can't give the children any food of course because the gate's locked and the children start feeling angry and frightened. At six o'clock Twinkle at last returns with a very reasonable excuse - there's been so much to do that day! He then comes out with -

"Oh dear oh dear! I've forgotten the water again - and the blankets, but don't worry I have some bread and butter for you."

No cheers greet this remark. Eileen and Fred who are now dreadfully hungry ask if he could bring them something else and, surprise surprise, they'd prefer to go home in the morning. Twinkle departs and doesn't return that evening so all the children can do is to sit huddled in their beds feeling utterly miserable. They're so desperate that when it begins to rain they actually stagger outside and open their mouths to obtain a few sprinkles of water. They become drenched of course so another cold dark night awaits them due to the fact that Twinkle has forgotten to bring them coal for the fire and their candle is used up.

It's now time for Fred and Eileen to have a serious talk with each other as to their future behaviour.
There's a 'nice' (if that word can be employed) Soper illustration of Winnie (12) encountering George (7) who's bullying Hilary.

#2:

We're not privy as to how Fred and Eileen's rabbit sent his message to Twinkle, or what route was taken to enter Fairyland.

If they'd really wanted to, the pixies could have pushed some morsels of food through the chain-link fence for Fred & Eileen; but that would have spoiled the story of course.

On Page 26, the word 'to-morrow' is hyphenated. Can't recall ever seeing that before but 'to-morrow' and 'to-day' have at least existed, or might still exist. .

The storyline is similar to another in 'Tales Of The Toys' (EBLB#5), and the lesson is of course learnt.
The usual message directed towards teachers is inside the cover.

The Pennants contain many fine pictures by Eileen Soper - samples of which are featured in the Enid Blyton Society magazine.