This is a delightful little book about a little dog called Scamp. And everything he gets up to. This is the third Enid Blyton book, bumped up to allow Mallory towers in the challenge after much disgust that I hadn’t included it. Sorry ladies. J
So on to Scamp. This story is about two children called Kenneth and Joan, who get to choose a puppy from a litter to take home. They sit and play with the puppies and decide to choose a small one with a black patch over his ear as he is being quite mischievous. They think it will be fun and name him Scamp.
However, before he leaves his Mum, Scamp gets himself into all sorts of trouble. He first encounters a cat, and because it is wagging his tail he thinks it’s friendly and pleased to see him. Wrong! The cat attacks him and he runs back to his Mum who explains how cats and dogs communicate, there’s different signals. The cat wasn’t pleased to see him and he should be more careful. Scamp learns his first lesson there but still torments the cat but doesn’t get to close.
Through the story Scamp gets taught lots of lessons from being naughty, some he doesn’t learn from straight away. First one is that he keeps chewing things and it’s only when he eats the Aunt’s hat and is scolded that he realises that there are only certain things to chew. And then there’s the moment where he gets with a couple of older dogs, who like chasing sheep and the family get a warning from the farmer that if he were to do it again he might get shot. Next time Scamp is out he sees the dogs
again and because they call him a ‘baby’ for not wanting to do it he doesn’t want to look silly and does it anyway resulting in him getting shot, and they have ran off without checking on him. Scamp knew it was wrong to do this but didn’t want to look silly in front of his new friends. I think his lesson there was not to do things that you know are wrong but do it to look good in front of someone. But real friends wouldn’t do that to you.
Scamp get up to all sorts whilst growing up and becomes a big part of the family and proves his worth not once but twice, when there’s an attempted robbery doing the night at the next house and he accidently trips one of the robbers over and he is knocked out and then barking to raise the alarm and everyone comes out to see what happens and the robbery is stopped. The second time Kenneth and Joan argue as to what to do one afternoon and Kenneth says Scamp should stay with him to help do the garden so Joan goes off on her own and ends up slipping into the river after trying to look at ducks. Kenneth regrets keeping Scamp, as he’s older he knows he has done wrong and sends Scamp after Joan who finds her almost drowning in the river as she can’t swim. Scamp jumps in to drag her back to safety but panics that he can’t do it, but summons all his strength as it’s beloved Joan and he does! Becoming ‘the best dog in the world that ever lived!’
I liked this book, I loved the illustrations within it and it was a sweet little story, but the term that comes to mind to how this book is written is if it’s quite ‘jolly’, making it feel slightly dated. I did like how it seemed to change tone when things start to go wrong, to when they were good again.
Like when Scamp is naughty and puts himself in danger. Doing this I think Enid Blyton is trying to instil lessons into us while reading, this book is similar to ‘The Book Of Brownies’, i.e. mischief/being naughty gets you in to trouble and makes people unhappy with you whilst being good and helping people makes them proud and happy.
The one thing I’ve noticed since I started reading children’s books a few years back, is that we read quite different as an adult to when we did as children, as our lives are more complex and when we come to reading we bring to it our life experiences and add that to the story, we see things that possibly a child wouldn’t. I started to read them because I felt adult fiction was filled with too much information and perhaps was too much like the ‘real world’ and I felt like I needed to escape and just enjoy the story with its hidden message, which I think is what children books are about.