There was a Young Girl Who Lived in a Shoe (Pages: 69-74)
- Artist: Andy Tew
Bessie lives in a Shoe shaped house looking after orphans. They are not very well off but she manages to get money together to buy Christmas presents. As nothing can be easy for them, her money gets stolen by pickpockets. So she gets the bright idea to sell mistletoe but it is a struggle to get that as it is surrounded by thorns. Luckily Bessie is a determined and resourceful character. So she makes herself a suit of armor, so she can get the mistletoe to sell.
I liked this character she was strong, optimistic, practical and resourceful. Which is a nice contrast to some of the other characters in this annual.
Gail’s Guardian Angel (Pages: 77-80)
The concept of this story is like having the angel and a devil on your shoulder without the devil. Gail’s mini angel encourages her to be good, though even she is pushed to her limits when a boy starts playing tricks and she ends up nearly getting molested by a frog!
So she agrees with Gail and is happy to get her own back on the boy.
It’s a Dare! (Pages: 91-96)
Art: Tom Hurst
Kay Harper is a junior reporter for a local newspaper, She writes a column “It’s a Dare!” where readers challenge her to do different things. In this story her challenge is to lose weight. Not because she is overweight but the challenger is also trying to lose weight and wants to show how hard it is. Kay does find it hard when she has to judge a toffee contest and gets treated to doughnuts. Luckily for her she also gets a cold and nothing is a better diet than being sick!
She looks a bit too gleeful about being sick. Screw health if being sick means you can lose weight and win a dare. Not exactly the most positive message to send!
Stella Starr (Pages: 98-103)
Art: Rodney Sutton
Stella Starr is an alien that usually gets into some trouble while adjusting to earth life. Luckily in the end, her powers usually helps the situation. In this story she helps to look after girl while working at a holiday resort.
Hilary of the Happy Bus (Pages: 107-111)
Art: Geoffrey Whittam
Hilary helps out at a mobile playgroup. In this story she helps the kids make sock puppets, she also helps one little boy adjust to his stutter by giving him a puppet. Even though he is self-conscious about his stutter Hilary tells him he has to be the voice for the puppet. It’s not a bad story, but I just found it a bit boring. Judy’s “Junior Nanny” has similar set up of young woman helping out little children, but somehow it worked better than Hilary of the Happy Bus, I just don’t find myself very engaged in the story.
You Little Monkey! (Pages: 113-117)
Art: Wilf Street
This was a regular strip in Mandy. Jenny’s brother Rex turns into a monkey and she spends her time trying to hide this from her parents. Previous to this Rex used to turn into a dog. I would presume that a random dog turning up would be easier to explain than a monkey turning up. Rex does succeed in stopping a purse snatcher in this story. Though no one seems that bothered by a thief stopped by skateboarding monkey.