Lindy Martin – the Animal’s Friend (Pages: 17-20)
Lindy works for the Animal Protection Society, she often visits Mr Wilson’s pet shop. He introduces her to his new addition Digger, a cockatoo. While he goes to serve a customer, she offers to give the birds water. On her way out, the shop is suddenly overrun with loose budgies and some manage to escape outside the shop. Lindy goes to look for them as she feels responsible for not closing the cage properly. She has to go to work with still 3 missing but she returns later and is glad to see the birds have returned to the shop themselves. But looking in the shop it seems the budgies are loose again. Mr Wilson and her manage to get the birds into the cage and Lindy figures out the culprit opening the cage is Digger.
Robin Adair (Pages: 24-25)
The story behind the old traditional song. It tells of how Robin came from Ireland to London, a poor man, he helps a woman and receives money, enough to improve his dress and get invited to some parties. At one of these parties he meets Lady Caroline Keppel (although the story wrongly refers to her as Catherine throughout, someone didn’t double check their facts!). They profess their love of each other but her parents don’t approve, she writes a song about him and after hearing it her parents relented and they are happily married. Naturally it ends on that happy note and doesn’t mention that Caroline died at a young age giving birth to their third child.
Lance-Corporal Sally (Pages: 52-54)
Artist: Ron Forbes?
During World War II Sally Howard runs training for the girls manning the searchlights in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. When their entertainment is cancelled, Sally is pushed into organizing a concert party for the base. All things are going well until they hear that men and women from a nearby Royal Air Force station are going to join the audience. There is a bit of rivalry between the A.T.S and W.A.A.F. (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force), the W.A.A.F. seen as more glamorous than the “rough” A.T.S. girls. Things get worse as acts for the concert get called away or drop out. The searchlight girls decide to put on a sketch with a play provided by Sergeant “Beehive” Bennett, but it turns out to be with is far too sentimental with terrible dialogue. Seeing no way out of it Pat and Sally with the help of Charlie the boiler man, decide to pull a false fire alarm when its time for their sketch. On the night just as the sketch starts the air raid signal sounds, Sally thinks that Charlie hit the wrong alarm but it’s soon clear that it’s not a false alarm. Quickly they set to their work pinpointing the enemy planes. Afterwards the W.A.A.F’s are impressed with their work.
This was an ongoing story in Bunty and it had a lot to work with and develop, there were lots of interesting characters and the war time setting would give a variety of plot opportunities. I found myself wanting to learn more about these characters.
Home Sweet Home (Pages: 56-57)
Another origin story of a song. This one is about John Howard Payne, when he was a young boy ran he away from his home in New York and went to London. He wrote a song “Home Sweet Home” which he then used in a play “The Maid of Milan”. The song became quite popular and Madame Nordica apparently told the story of how singing the song, made an intruder change his mind about robbing her and turning his life around. How much liberties is taken with telling the story is unclear.
Mary Did Have a Little Lamb! (Page: 81)
Keeping with the theme this is story of the nursery rhyme. Mary from Massachusetts takes care of an orphan lamb, who follows her to school one day. It credits both John Rollstone and Mrs Sarah Hall for the creation of the poem. Again the names are wrong, but I guess it was harder to double check these things before the internet. Sarah Josepha Hale is often credited for the full poem, but it is also possible that John Roulstone contributed the first verse. As for Mary her lamb grew up and eventually died and her mother knitted her some stockings from the fleece so she could remember her pet.
Sue at the Wheel (Pages: 82-85)
Sue Horner owns a 1921 tourer car called Jemima. She was to be in the parade of Transport Throughout the Ages for Road Safety Week in Munchester. Her neighbour, the mechanic Len and her aunt Jackie all set off dressed in appropriate 20s style. They encounter some troubles on the way, with the traffic being so busy she decides to take a narrow country road as a shortcut, but they run into some cows, who are startled by the old car’s engine. After helping the girl herding the cattle, Sue thinks it’s best to get back on the main road. Unfortunately they just get on the road when Jemima get’s a burst wheel. Finally they make it to the parade and are able to take their place. Sue is disappointed that the horse drawn carriages and boisterous boys in a 1925 car were getting more attention than her. There are a few mishaps along the way, but the biggest commotion is at the end when the steam car’s engine blows and startles the horses. Luckily Sue’s quick actions driving the car ahead of them confuses the horses enough to slow them down and be caught. So she soon has a number of admirers at her car.
Little Caroline – the Teenage Teacher (Pages: 93-100)
Caroline West works as the riding mistress at Ellesmere Girl’s School, she struggles to get the Headmistress, Mrs Braydon’s approval, so she is happy when Mrs Braydon suggest the school enter a local horse show. The headmistress’ choice for the two riders to compete are Altheam the Head Girl and Jean, the Games Captain but they are not up to standard. While Althea takes it well Jean isn’t happy that Caroline wants to choose Becky, the wildest girl in the school and Hazel, a scholarship girl. Mrs Braydon is inclined to agree but as long as the girls stay out of trouble she agrees to it. Hazel doesn’t want to compete though, as she believes all the other girls look down on her for being a scholarship. Caroline and Becky manage to get her to compete, after Becky nearly gets into trouble because of her. The day of the competition Caroline is very snappy with the girls due to nerves, but a kick by a horse actually makes her turn cheery in order to cover up the physical pain. This helps relax the girls and they go on to win first place, doing the school proud.
The Otters Must Go – But Jane Says No! (Pages: 108-111)
Jane Lambert is on holiday holiday at Bennett’s farm. She spends her time watching a pair of otters and their pups in the river, but Mr Bennett wants rid of them. He is a champion fisherman and he wants to beat his record of catching the biggest salmon and he can’t do that with otters eating the fish. He sets traps, it catches one of the otters but Jane frees it. Later Mr Bennett loses his fishing medal. One of the otters finds it, Jane points it out and Mr Bennett agrees to let the otters stay.
The features only take up 15 pages compared to the 110 pages of stories, although it could be argued that some of the text stories about songs are more factual based and could fit under features. All the Features are illustrated rather than using photos. There are some informative pieces and some poetry. There are two short poems (by Alison Christie Fitt) that show up in text story pages. There is very little for readers to actively do like puzzles or quizzes, there is just one crafty feature, to make and ornament ostrich.
Silent Night, Holy Night (Pages: 2-3/126-127)
Taking up the inside the front and backcover and the back, this tells the tale of the Christmas carol.
The World’s Talking Birds (Page: 16)
A colourful illustration of birds with little captions about the various birds
Clown Princes (Pages: 32)
Like the previous this feature, this has a connection with the story that follows it. This talks about 8 famous clowns, including Coco, Grock, Emmett Kelly- the Hobo clown and Doodles.
The Language of Flowers (Pages: 38-39)
A colourful doublespread page about the secret meanings of flowers, such as Daffodil = welcome, Marigold = honesty, Fuschia= fickleness.
Well Done, Girls! (Page: 55)
An interesting feature on the jobs women did during the war. Looks at the different W.R.N.S, W.A.A.F. and A.T.S.
The Glove and the Lions (Page: 73)
The poem by Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) with pictures, it tells of a king who has gathered lions to fight for amusement. A young lady drops her glove into the ring, to prove her love’s gallantry. He does in fact leap into the pit to retrieve the glove and then throws it into her face for her vanity.
It’s “Plane” Sailing! (Page: 74)
Another feature that sets up the next story. This is a short summery of life for an air stewardess.
Molly’s First Riding Lesson (Page: 92)
A break down of how to mount a horse. As I was never too interested in horses, these are the type of features I’d usually just skim.
How to Make It – Henrietta the Ostrich (Page: 95)
Some inventive craft – how to make an ostrich ornament with some cones and twigs.
The Story of the Ballet Coppelia (Pages: 118-119)
Simply as it says it tells the story of Dr Coppelius a toy maker who has made a puppet daughter named Coppelia. He believes through magic he can make her come to life. To save her sweetheart’s Franz’s life Swanilda pretends to be the girl come to life.
Although this was before my time, some familiar characters make an appearance, some other characters that I didn’t know actually made me want to know more about them. It is packed with lots of stories that would entertain a young reader for quite some time, it certainly took me a long time to write up about it. There is a nice variety of stories, both text and picture. It’s a book with lots of colour and varied art. I like that the art is all very distinctive, each story has it’s own look. It is also well presented nothing feels overcrowded, there are actually blank pages at start and end of the book. The book flows well with the features often tying in the story that surrounds it.