The fortnight goes so fast that I'm amazed its once again time to delve into the latest EB Magazine! March 27 - April 9, 1957.
I love the cover of this issue - an illustration from the first short story, called simply 'Three Hundred Years Ago
'. Its an interesting one, because its a true story, apparently, all about how a little boy called Charles helps to gather seeds so that the whole world, and not just a privaleged few, can enjoy anemones. I really love the illustrations - you can see one on the cover and a bigger version which Tony has provided in the link above. Such a shame the illustrations are uncredited.
One thing I did think about this story was why didn't Charles' uncle grow anemones from the seeds he would get out of the bunch that he'd previously been given? Why did he feel he had to buy seeds, or collect seeds secretly, rather than just wait for the flowers in the vase to go to seed? Maybe a flower expert might enlighten me!
If you happen to have a copy of Enid Blyton's Bedtime Annual 1980
then you'll be lucky enough to be able to read this story for yourself!
This issue's Editorial
can be read by following the link. As always, Enid provides an interesting letter to her readers - describing the month of April so brilliantly - although I can't always quite hear the bird calls that she describes. I remember as a child finding these bird call descriptions as being very exciting and interesting!
Its also interesting to imagine children sending off for silkworm eggs. I wonder if this would be allowed these days? Probably not...there would be some restriction placed on such things, as it would come under the heading of 'animal welfare'.
The International Magazine Club that Enid describes I thought was very unusual. Interesting to hear of Magazine Club members in all corners of the globe - including Canada and America - though its a shame that Australia wasn't represented.
After the first short story, we have the continuation of Secret Seven Mystery
and another great illustration, which I really like, provided by Burgess Sharrocks. His illustrations always look much better in the magazine. This one shows peter hiding in a bush as the great bran-owl swoops over his head! Our Letter Page
features a letter from Donald Daniels
telling about a cat he saw being stoned by some boys, and how he fetched a policeman, who ordered the boys away, so that Daniel could take care of the cat. He ended up keeping it, as no one claimed it. Another letter, by Carole Mortimer
tells how she has been on a cruise just the same as the cruise in the book 'The Ship of Adventure' - to Portugal, Madeira, French Morocco, Spain, Italy and the Aegean Islands!'
It strikes me that in 1957 this was a holiday of a very rich little girl and her family! I can't imagine any of my relatives going on such a holiday back then!Bother You, Amelia Jane
follows next - another story that was uncollected until recently (you can now read it in 'Good Idea, Amelia Jane' - Egmont 2001). I have to admit to being a big fan of Amelia Jane...'Amelia Jane Again' was one of the first books I owned as a child, and I was also familiar with 'More About Amelia Jane' - both of which I actually read before the first book in the series! I always loved the 'community feeling' of the stories - the nursery being a real community, which felt cosy and safe but also was sometimes threatened from outside by goblins or other creatures. As a child I absolutely loved the fact Amelia Jane just couldn't behave. Unlike the stories about The Three Golliwogs or Mr Twiddle, somehow I don't find Amelia Jane stories too repetitive. Maybe its just because I've loved them from such a young age. I always picture Amelia Jane just as Rene Cloke depicted her in the Dean versions of the 1970's, and much prefer her illustrations to the rather delicate Amelia Jane Sylvia Venus gives us.
The Amelia Jane story in this issue is a good one - I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Next, we have an advert for a Noddy 'Special Bound' painting book
which sounds very posh! Its a hardback painting book, very much like the hardback Bom painting book (which I have myself). I'm sure there were many people who wanted one of these books - I'd have loved it...but 2s 6d seems a lot for a colouring book, in my view! Then again, I paid £15 for the Bom one!
In Some Things To Look For
Enid suggests we look for the gorse putting out its yellow pea-shaped flowers
and tells us the prickly bushes will soon be a blaze of gold.
She also tells us that we should soon see plenty of hedgehogs, coming out of hibernation. What a shame this is no longer the case! Hedgehogs are becoming rarer and rarer. Noddy Went Too Fast!
Concludes today. I know Anita will be writing begging for 'more Noddy stories, Please, Miss Blyton!'
- but its over for a while. In this thrilling closing episode, Noddy buys Mr Tinny a box of bricks and builds him a house. How kind of Noddy! Apparently Noddy and Mr Tinny become 'great friends' - but I don't think Mr Tinny ever featured in any other Noddy stories, so obviously the 'great friendship' didn't last too long!
The Puzzle Page
offers more prize-winning puzzles - as long as you belong to one of Enid's clubs. Non club members couldn't take part. The Sunbeams puzzle asks us to sort out the names of animals -a) Toast
Then we have a riddle for the Famous Five puzzle this time -What are we?
We can drip and we can run
We're known as H and C.
We might be on, we might be off,
We're a couple of ----, you see.
Lastly, the Busy Bees Puzzle -Can you complete the name of this famous island?
Ho - o - u - u
How easy it was to win a signed Enid Blyton book!
The next story is He Wasn't Really Stupid!
and its another that has been collected - read it in Enid Blyton's Bedtime Annual 1971 (re-titled The Owl, the Frog and the Hedgehog' ). Its a pretty standard tale - which I'm sure has been taken from a Brer Rabbit story, and even an Aesop's Fable. Its quite inconsequential really, and predictable, but also, as always, entertaining. The illustrations are nice, too - uncredited...but I have a feeling they might be by Grace Lodge...
Following on from the regular Noddy Chivers Corner
(see this in the latest Enid Blyton Society Journal!) we have the only uncollected short story of this issue - Here Comes the Tiddler
- and its easily the best story in this fortnight's magazine. It tells the tale of Nicky, who has often been ill and is weaker and more weedy than the other boys, but proves to himself, and eventually to pretty much everyone in his village, that he is 'a lion cub' and not 'a tiddler'. You can read the story by following the link above. Marjorie L Davies supplies the illustrations - and very good they are too! Our News Sheet
is the usual mixture of news from various clubs, and also telling us what new books and other items are now available. Enid gives us news of her Children's Home and of the Famous Five members who help to keep it running by donations and fund raising. She gives us news of five of the children who live there - we have little Alice, 1 and a half years old, who is very weakly - so thin that she looks only about 9 month! We have peter, who was a poor little thing when he came but has settled in VERY well! He is two. Then there is Sammy, aged 1 and a half, whose mother deserted him, poor mite. Mark, who is 15 months, whose mother had nowhere to go when she was turned out of her room, so we took him in. And dear Winnie, only 8 months, whose mother just dumped her and left her. She hasn't once smiled since we had her, which is most unusual for a baby. I'm afraid she still misses her mother.
All this brings home to us, in 2017, what a different world it was 60 years ago - cruel and unfeeling - when young girls were often forced into giving up their (often illegitimate) children, and where society didn't cater for mothers who had no money or partner to help them.
Enid goes on to tell us about her other clubs and fund-raisers - such as Valerie Swallow and her friends who worked for a whole year making and collecting things for our Sunshine Homes funds. They had a bookstall, a fancy goods stall, a games stall, a lucky dip, a stall with plaster models, a raffle, and a Lucky Number Game - and just imagine, Valerie was able to send an enormous sum of £7 10s 0d for us to use in helping out our small blind children. Isn't it astonishing that there are so many kindly and hard-working children everywhere?
And so we come to the end of another magical issue! Enjoy reading the short stories, if you have them, and also the uncollected one kindly posted in The Cave by Tony.
here's to the next one!