1 EAGLETON NOTES: Pip The Pixie

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Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Pip The Pixie

I'm home and, after a couple of days catching up, I'm actually feeling alive again and raring to go.

Over the last couple of weeks bloggers have mentioned books from their childhood, games and Heron even mentioned what I took to be his Tree Elf. I don't have a tree elf but I mentioned that I do have a Pixie called Pip. So I thought this was probably a good time to introduce you. Of course some of you may already know Pip and may have learned some of the same things that I learned as a tiny child when reading about him. Indeed someone on the radio whilst I was travelling mentioned that she recalled how Blackbirds got their orange beaks through reading The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton first published in 1949 when I was just 5 years old.

As a result of reading these very short stories (30 in total in a book of about 180 pages with lots of illustrations) I learned all about hermit crabs, why lizards lost their tails, chestnut tree buds are covered in glue, that male sparrows have black bibs, how toads defend themselves, how caddis larvae stop tadpoles from eating them, what happens when the oak tree comes out before the ash and vice versa (not that I knew then what vice versa meant), the injustice of the naming of the 'slow worm', about cuckoos, the difference between butterflies and moths and oh so many more things. 

What was so brilliant about that book was that it taught me so much and, because it was in small chapters made reading interesting too. 

I shall doubtless do another post on my childhood books but in the meantime I shall re-read The Adventures of Pip.

35 comments:

  1. Enid Blyton had a truly amazing way of interesting children. I must look out Pip the Pixie for the twins.

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    1. Jenny, I'm sure that they will enjoy it and learn from it.

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  2. It seems that I have missed out, for I do not think that I ever read any Enid Blyton's books. Good to hear about Pip I did hope that he was going to be a bit like ours - but no.

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    1. No, Heron, not like any others but a wonderful being nonetheless.

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  3. I've never heard of the adventures of Pip but maybe I should check it out.

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    1. Red, I'm sure you already know all there is to be learned from Pip.

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  4. I read some Enid Blyton but I can't remember this one. A good way for kids to learn stuff.

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  5. It's surprising the long term effects that our early reading had on our lives. Do you think mobile phones will do the same for today's children?

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    1. Cro, I'm sure that mobile phones won't perform the same function for children at all. I'm sure people made the same comment about television when it appeared. I wonder whether the form of learning has just changed as technology has changed. Mind you basic reading learning still seems to be done with books as well as iPads etc.

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  6. I have not come across Pip the Pixie yet, but I loved my "Kinder Kosmos" books - they were large, colourfully illustrated books about subjects such as Dinosaurs (my Mum claims I said "archaeopterix" almost before I said "Mama"), insects, animals assorted to habitat (woodland, mountains, deserts, rivers and oceans etc.), and more. The one about insects had some rather scary illustrations of spiders and stick insects. I remember how I very carefully touched those pages only with two fingertips when turning the page, out of fear the animal in the illustration would crawl across my fingers.

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    1. Meike, I loved the picture of you being so careful when turning the pages - a sign of a really active imagination.

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  7. Like other readers here I do not recall The Adventures of Pip. I expect by 1956 another book had taken over in the classroom.

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    1. Rachel, it was a home book, my schooling never involved anything vaguely as interesting.

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  8. I loved Enid Blyton in the late 70s.
    What does happen when the oak is out before the ash?

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    1. Kylie, it was a way of predicting the summer rainfall:
      If the oak comes out before the ash,
      We shall only have a splash.
      If the ash comes out before the oak,
      We will surely have a soak.

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  9. As a writer, Enid Blyton was incredibly prolific wasn't she? I wonder if she was as rampant in her private life. "Pip" sounds like a very sweet book and a marvellous vehicle for teaching children about Nature's wonders.

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    1. YP "Pip" is as you have suggested. I'm not sure that I've ever heard a lady's private life described as 'rampant' before however her life was certainly 'interesting'.

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    2. She was not a very nice person at home with her family. She made their lives hell.

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    3. Yes, Rachel, and her public persona came before everything.

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  10. I don't think I ever came across any of Enid Blyton's fairy tale books but I probably read most of the Famous Five series (in Swedish, when I was around age 10-12).

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    1. Monica, the only book that really stuck in my mind was The Adventures of Pip although I did read some of the Noddy books which, I think, were banned in Britain some years ago for being too non-PC.

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    2. Graham, I don't think I ever heard of Noddy either. Looked him up in Wikipedia, but no bells ringing, even though some of those books do seem to have been translated into Swedish. We've had our own non-PC debates here about some old Swedish children's books, like Pippi Longstocking (use of a certain word in connection with her father the sea-captain becoming king of an island in the South Sea).

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  11. I too have not heard of Pip. Yes Yes, we have a good laugh at Oui Oui the French version of Noddy!

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    1. Potty, I think Pip was just part of those childhood of those of us of a certain age. Noddy was much more widely known.

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  12. As nobody seems to have heard of the book it would be helpful if you posted an image of the actual cover. Perhaps it would have triggered some other memories. Noddy did indeed get banned when political correctness crept in and Gollywog was no longer acceptable. Enid Blyton books as a whole went completely out of being the correct books to read because it was claimed that the vocabulary was "too narrow". How we all managed to read these books and still go to university, get jobs, even sustain careers must. I suppose, be considered an incredible achievement today.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion Rachel. I've just been trying to alter the template HTML to allow me to do that in a comment but I've not succeeded yet. So I shall either post the pictures (there a several versions) separately or alter the original post. I'd forgotten about Gollywog but I do remember that Big Ears and Mr Plod were deemed unacceptable. I did like his little yellow car though. It is amazing the things we all overcame isn't it?

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    1. Well, John, I've done my best to introduce everyone.

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  14. oh now you're talking! I grew up on Enid Blyton books. I was a bookworm and my nana who worked in an op shop use to find me piles and piles of books to feed my growing imagination.

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    1. It's good to hear that, Amy. What would we do without the op/charity shops for books?

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  15. Oh! How I loved reading Enid Blyton's books when I was a child. They were wonderful! I howled my eyes out when reading Anna Sewell's "Black Beauty"....I read "Little Women" and its sequels many times over. I read every book in the "Pocomoto" series...books written by Rex Dixon. I was addicted!

    Actually, I was addicted to reading when I was a child...that is when my addiction began. Every birthday and Christmas both my brother and I received at least four books as part of our presents during respective gift-giving times.

    I look forward to your future posts re childhood reading. :)

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    1. Lee, Black Beauty will be appearing in a future post - one of my favourite's a youngster too. I've not heard of Rex Dixon.

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