Trek into Trouble (Pages: 17-21)
This was quite a long prose story for an annual. Three siblings are out for a walk when they come across a seemingly abandoned village. While they are in one of the shops, they overhear two men plotting to kidnap a girl and they have created a bomb scare so the village will be empty. The kids runaway to get help, only for the brother to be caught by one of the men. When the sisters try to rescue him they discover that he is perfectly safe. It turns out they have just stumbled into a film set. The Director is understanding and even gives them parts as extras.
Often a prose story could get away with a surprise twist more so than a picture strip, but in this case they run the twist by having a big picture of the film crew on the last page.
Ring a Ring of Roses (Pages: 49-51)
This is one of the reliable Victorian maid stories. Emily is a young maid who is good hearted but a bit clumsy. She’s not getting on to well in her new job. She does like to admire a tapestry depicting children playing ring a ring of roses. She somehow gets transported into the tapestry and is presumably a happy ending because she gets to play for the rest of eternity. Its a contrast to other comic stories where getting trapped in some painting/mirror was a punishment or tragic ending.
Best Foot Forward! (Pages: 65-67)
A girl is looking after her young sister Babs, while trying to shop. Babs wanders off and the sister ends up frantically looking for her only to find her asleep in the middle of a toy display. As she is so cute, she has managed to attract a lot of customers. The store manager appreciates the business that he has received so he gives Babs a doll. Yes, that seems like a good idea, reward the child for wandering off and worrying her sister! At least the sister also gets a voucher so she is able to buy the shoes she was admiring earlier.
Hello, Dorothy! (Pages: 75-76)
Art: George Martin
Dorothy is a bit of an outcast. Everyone calls her a bumpkin. She is hurt by the comments, but she talks to a teacher who was also a bit of an outcast at school. She realizes she isn’t helping matters, that people call her bumpkin, because she never bothers to tidy her hair or her appearance. So she decides that she first has to make an effort herself.
Donna’s Diary (Pages: 104-106)
I quite like diary format prose stories, there is a clear passage of time the main events can be elaborated on and the discussion of feelings seem more natural. Donna has recently moved to a new school and is having trouble adjusting. She goes through hating new school and missing her old school, to actually not wanting to go back to her old school. While there is a girl who teases her, she starts to make other friends. So ends on a happier note than her pessimistic start.
There wasn’t much of a variety in the features for this annuals. They are all quizzes, which is great if you like a quiz but if you didn’t you only had the stories to look forward to. There is a nice variety in the quizzes themselves, covering lots of different topics which could be fun and informative for those reading it.
- Spooky Quiz (Page: 10)
- Cake-Bake Quiz (Page: 56)
- Christmas Quiz (Page: 68)
- Seaside Quiz (Page: 97)
- Scene on Stage (Page: 112)
- The Which of the Woods (Pages: 118-119)