Why Mumfie?

Katharine Tozer wrote maybe half a dozen books about the Wanderings of Mumfie, a small elephant, and his friend Scarecrow.

I had 3 Mumfie books as a child and these were the only books that were passed on to me that my mother had read as a child and then kept. For that reason alone these stories were special to me and remain so. Two of these remain with me, Wanderings of Mumfie (first edition) and a later reprint of Mumfie the Admiral. I leant Mumfie’s Magic Box to a friend, now ex, and she promptly moved away to another town.

Mumfie was a normal elephant living with his family who left one day to seek adventures since one never arrived in the post. In the first book, Wanderings of Mumfie he meets his friend, Scarecrow, and together they meet up with Father Christmas and get sent down to earth to be someone’s toy. They can come back and visit their family when their child is asleep so it’s not a permanent parting. They then go on to have a lot of adventures together.

There is a wry sense of humour in these tales and it’s not all sweetness and light. The baddies are dark, evil and I remember as a child being genuinely scared. However together Mumfie and Scarecrow vanquish all evil and while stories may have nasty parts to them everything turns out all right in the end. Mumfie is a mixture of being a brave and courageous elephant and feeling safer when Scarecrow is around to hold his hand. These books were written in the late 30s and 40s and one can’t help but wonder about the parallels but I’ve been unable to find out anything about the author.

 
 

There was a puppet TV series of Mumfie back in the late 70s by Mary Tuner and John Read which I completely missed although many people first learned to love Mumfie here, which prompted the books to be re-issued by Carousel.

Britt Allcroft, more famously known for animating Thomas the Tank Engine, produced the animated Magic Adventures of Mumfie in 1996 which also completely passed me by. Turning it into a singing elephant who is all sweet and cutesie seems to me to take away his original identity and his owner, Selina, seems to have been lost completely.

I’ve spent much of my life wandering around since childhood, and Brentford is where I’ve put my roots down. Therefore it seems fitting that Mumfie should be my companion on this new journey into the blogosphere. I don’t quite know where this is going but I’m going to enjoy the journey.

Wanderings of Mumfie (1935)
Here Comes Mumfie (1936)
Mumfie the Admiral (1937)
Mumfie’s Magic Box (1938)
Mumfie’s Uncle Samuel (1939)
Mumfie Marches On (1942)

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