I like to discuss an annual around Christmas every year. This year instead of the regular girl’s comics I am looking at a nursery comic that was also aimed at girls; Twinkle. This was another comic published by DC Thomson and was marketed to pre-school girls. Often ads in Bunty and others would tell the reader their younger sisters might like to read it. The weekly issues started in 1968 and finished in 1999, an impressive run. The annuals ran for few more years after the close of the weekly issues, this Twinkle 2003 being the last annual. I picked this up on ebay a little while back for my 4 year old daughter who loved it. We have read through it many times. Comics like this are really missed, as I find most magazines especially for pre-school children have maybe 2 stories and the rest is about puzzles, stickers and free gifts (which are fine sometimes but not when its same for every one of them!). While things are improving for kids a bit older with Beano, The Phoenix and the upcoming Monster Fun, focusing more on stories, there really is a lack of these comics for the pre-school age. The stories in this annual seem to be reprints as there are a few I recognize from first time round
Note all the picture stories rather than speech bubbles, the story is told by paragrapps of text under each picture.
Nurse Nancy (Pages: 5-7)
Art: Sabine Price
A classic story of the girl, who looks after toys with the help of her Grandpa at the toy hospital. In this story Nancy realises her patients are looking a bit sad about spending time in hospital over Christmas, so she arranges a party after Christmas day and this cheers everyone up who agree it’s a great idea to have 2 Christmas days.
I think every child at some point must play doctors/nurses with there toys, so this appeals greatly to kids.
Patch (Pages: 10-11)
Paula Perkin’s cat, Patch, doesn’t get on with her friend’s puppy, Ember, at first but then they find a game with wool that they both enjoy even if it does make a mess. I love the art layout in this one. These comics tended to have inventive layouts and rarely restrained themselves to the borders, the large splash page as we follow Patch and Ember around the room, with smaller panels embedded for the story is very effective.
Baby Brother’s Year (Pages: 14-16)
Art: Sabine Price
In a rhyming story a girl tells about what her young brother, Ben, gets up to every month of the year. Like Nurse Nancy this is drawn by Sabine Price and is a lovely colourful piece with a sweet premise.
Diana’s Ducklings (Pages: 22-23)
Diana likes the little ducklings near her house but the mother duck won’t let her near. She amuses herself by building a small dam in the river beside her house, then when there is heavy rain the duckling nest floats away but is luckily saved by Diana’s dam. After that the mother duck trusts her with the ducklings.
Polly (Pages: 26-27)
Polly the Penguin wants to get presents for her friends for Christmas but she doesn’t know what to get them and everything is very expensive. Then she gets the idea to make ice Gnomes, which is a big success with everyone.
Silly Milly (Pages: 34-35)
Milly visits Santa’s Grotto, but accidentally causes so much trouble, such as getting tangled up with reindeer antlers, and knocking over the Christmas tree. When Mum returns a flustered Santa has placed Milly in a sack, to keep her out of trouble.
Elfie (Pages: 45-47)
Elfie is an elf that secretly lives in Mary’s house, he tries to help her whenever he can only Mary’s dog, Poochie, knows about him. Elfie’s impressed with Mary’s new ballerina musical box. When he notices the ballerina is broken and won’t dance he starts to fix it. Then Mary arrives back with a friend before he is finished. Poochie keeps Mary distracted while Elfie takes place of ballerina for minute while her friend looks, commenting on her “unusual” music box.
Sammy Skates (Pages: 60-61)
Sammy Snowman laughs at the animals attempts to skate he says he could show them better, but they point out he is frozen to ground. His animal friends get an idea crash sled into him freeing him and him and the sled end up on the ice where he can skate around with his friends holding on.
Sara and Sam (Pages: 8-9)
These characters originally appeared in the Pepper Street comic. Here the brother and sister celebrate Sara’s birthday, when the record player breaks it seems their game of musical chairs will not be able to continue but then Sam gets the idea to use the musical birthday card that Sara got from her grandpa.
The Blobs (Pages: 18-19)
The Blobs are little blobs of paint that come out of a paintbox into the wonerful world of Paintbox Land. In this story Powder Blue would like to enter pet sow but she doesn’t have any pet. All her friends Inky Black and Ghostly White were getting ready for the show so didn’t have any time for her. This made her so sad she sat down beside a tree and cried. This attracted attention of a bluebird. When Powder Blue explained her problem, blue bird said he would go to show with her. Se was even more happy when she won first prize.
Speedy Spinning Top (Pages: 24-25)
Speedy a spinning top as been left forgotten in a dusty attic, until a new family buy the house. While the girl, Anna, is tidying the attic she accidentally hits Speedy, sending him spinning across the floor. He is delighted when she takes him down and her grandpa shows how it works. Anna is a bit nervous to start her new school and brings Speedy on er first day, at lunch time in the playground she soon gets attention playing with Speedy and makes new friends. She is happy that she found Speedy.
The Runaway (Pages: 29-31)
Rascal an adventurous puppy, escapes his garden and goes for walk, but soon finds its not as much fun as he thought it would be. He gets hungry but a baker chases him away from his shop, then he gets splashed by a car, he follows a woman to her house hoping she will dry him like his owner, Rosie usually does. He then spots a milk float, he crawls in falling asleep thinking it belongs to his milkman friend, Tom, but it is actually a different milkman. He brings Rascal to the pound. He doesn’t like it there, he dreams about being home with Rose. Wen he wakes up, he is on his way home, Rosie has collected him. He thinks he will never runaway again.
Jessica’s Fancy Dress (Pages: 38-40)
Jessica is staying at her grandparents when she gets invited to a fancy dress party. While helping her grandad with his gardening she wishes she had a costume to wear but she didn’t bring anything for her visit. Then her grandmother gets an idea, to use grandad’s old gardening clothes to make a scarecrow costume. It is a big success and she wins a prize for her costume at the party.
Sidney’s Sad Secret (Pages: 49-51)
Sidney is a little train, who is afraid of the dark. Then one day when he is meant to make a special trip, he can’t do it because it involves going in to dark tunnel. He is upset that he let everyone down, then the conductor brings him a gift of a lamp and he never has to be afraid again.
Sara and Sam (Pages: 54-55)
In, the second Sara and Sam story, Sara is excited to play netball match. Sam stops into a sweet shop and Sara is anxious that he is taking too long. But when they get to the game it seems it can’t go ahead because the referee forgot her whistle. Luckily one of the sweets Sam picked up is in the shape of whistle. Sara is now glad Sam took so long to choose.
Clever Scamp (Pages: 56-59)
Scamp a little dog, is excited that his tortoise friend, Shelley, is waking up from hibernation. They go for a walk with Ginger the next door neighbours cat. Then they meet Nutty the squirrel he is upset because he lost all his nut and can’t remember where he hid them Seeing some children walking with bag of nuts Scamp gets the idea to beg and perform tricks for the children so they give him the nuts. Nutty is very grateful for.
There is a variety of features in the book, including puzzles, colouring, and cut-out wardrobe of Baby Brother Ben. There is two Witch Winkle pages with questions about what you see in the picture (for example how many stars in the picture? and how many people wearing masks), this was favourite for my daughter, she was also really liked the animal magic which had pictures of animals with pun captions.
- My Baby Brother Poem (Pages: 2-3)
- Peter’s Puzzles (Pages: 12-13)
- My Baby Brother Cut-Out (Page: 17)
- Witch Winkle (Pages: 20-21)
- Make Your Own Christmas Calendar (Page: 28)
- Christmas Cooking Game (Page: 32-33)
- Witch Winkle (Pages: 36-37)
- Star Search (Page: 41)
- Animal Magic (Pages: 42-43)
- Fun to Colour (Page: 44)
- Busy Bees! (Page: 48)
- Father Christmas Fun (Pages: 52-53)
- Nurse Nancy Poem (Pages: 62-63)
It’s a very sweet book, with lots of wholesome stories. There isn’t lots of drama and tragedy that you find in the older books, but still has some similar characters such as the problem solver nurse, the clumsy humorous girl and the magical character. There’s also some lovely art throughout. I still remember Nurse Nancy and Elfie from when I was younger, and showing how enduring they are, these were also favourite stories or my daughter too. THe other stories we read a lot are Patch, The Runaway, Speedy Spinning Top and Sara and Sam. She has had no interest in The Blobs or Sidney’s Sad Secret, we’ve read those probably just once.
As I mentioned at the start, it’s sad there really aren’t these story based magazines any more, but it is nice to see that these old stories can still appeal to young kids today.