Tag Archives: John Johnston

Tammy 23 April 1983

ITammy cover 23 April 1983

  • Bella (artist John Armstrong, writer Primrose Cumming)
  • Different Strokes – first episode (artist Santiago Hernandez, writer Charles Herring)
  • Nanny Young (artist Phil Gascoine, writer Tom Newland)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi, writer Alison Christie)
  • This is Your Road to Fame! – Quiz (artist John Johnston, writer Maureen Spurgeon)
  • Menace from the Moor – complete story (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)
  • Fame at Last! (artist Tony Coleman, writer Marianne Nichols)
  • The Secret of Angel Smith (artist Juliana Buch, writer Jay Over)
  • Make Your Own Container Gardens – feature (Chris Lloyd)

 

April 23 1983 has been selected for 1983 in Tammy round robin. Fame is big in this issue because of the Fame gifts attached. Tammy accompanies the Fame theme with a “Fame” quiz and the complete story “Fame at Last!” Kirsty Brown’s school is having a talent contest but she does not think she is talented at anything. But helping the other contestants gets her a special prize and they tell her she has a gift after all – for starmaking. Maybe Kirsty will become an acting agent when she leaves school?

The issue reprints “Menace from the Moor”, a recycled Strange Story. At this stage in Tammy’s run we get recycled Strange Stories where boring text boxes and drawn-in panels replace the Storyteller and his dialogue.

In new story “Different Strokes”, when teacher hears new girls Jacintha and Samantha Carwen are twins she is dismayed, as that usually means trouble. It does, but not in the way she thinks. The twins are as different as chalk and cheese. The only thing they share is an intense sibling rivalry, and they squabble and bicker all the time. Next door neighbour, Tracy Maine, who befriends the twins, is caught in the middle, and she soon suspects there is a mystery attached to the twins’ rivalry as well.

Bella keeps her savings in her suitcase instead of banking them, saying she does not understand “cheques and things” (insufficient education), despite warnings it is not wise to keep her savings like that. But at the end of the episode she pays the price when a burglar breaks in and her savings are stolen. Well, you were warned, Bella.

Goofy has been having enormous difficulty in shooting a film of Pond Hill for a competition. But now he is well out of it when the school bully vandalises his camera.

Nanny Young has been having problems with a young girl, Barbara, who is jealous of her new baby brother. But in this episode she hits on the solution: get Barbara to take an interest in the baby by allowing her to help with minding him.

In this week’s Button Box tale, Lily hates wearing button boots. Then she encounters a crippled girl who changes her mind about them; she realises she is lucky to be able to wear them because she can walk.

“The Secret of Angel Smith” was Tammy’s last circus story. Abby Fox has always resented Angel Smith, the girl who pushed her way into her father’s trapeze act while Dad won’t allow Abby in it because he does not want to lose Abby the way he lost his wife. Abby has ended up in hospital because of it all, but ironically it is Angel who talks Abby into getting fit again, saying she is going to find a way to help her into the act. When Abby gets back to the circus, she discovers this means taking advantage of Dad being absent on an international tour.

Princess II, #18, 21 January 1984

Princess cover 18

  • Sheena and the Treetoppers (artist Rodrigo Comos)
  • The Ghostly Ballerina (photo story) – final episode
  • Fairy Tale (artist Julio Bosch (Martin Puigagut?)) – final episode
  • School of Dark Secrets (artist Carlos Cruz)
  • Sadie-in-Waiting (artist Joe Collins)
  • Lena Lends a Hand… (artist John Johnston) – complete story

Issue 18 was the last Princess II to use the Girl II format and newsprint that the series had used since #1. From #19, Princess II switched to the same format, newsprint and page count as Tammy. She dropped the photo stories and the colour pages and became an exclusively picture story comic like Tammy. In so doing, she broke away from being the sister comic to Girl II and became more like the sister comic to Tammy, though she did not say so. She hailed the new look as “great news”, but it was clearly anything but. In fact, it was a sign that she was in trouble and cutting costs. This is particularly telling in her reprinting old serials from Tammy and Jinty. Years later these reprints had the benefit of enabling some of the original artwork from IPC girls’ comics to survive, of which very little has. But at the time, a new comic falling back on reprints from older titles was a very, very bad sign.

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As Princess II drops the photo stories this issue, naturally this is the last episode of “The Ghostly Ballerina”. Clare finds a way to lay the troublesome ghost of Arabella Hood and free herself from Arabella’s power: create a ballet about Arabella’s life to give her the fame that her premature death deprived her of.

Also ending this issue is “Fairy Tale”, our tale of mixed-up fairy tales. It gets even crazier with a genie who grants two wishes instead of three, and he is so deaf he often mishears your wishes – to the cost of the evil Morgana when she calls upon him for wishes. The greedy Angie does not emerge from the adventure much improved once the girls return home, though she does get a comeuppance for it.

“Lena Lends a Hand…”, the complete story, is clearly a filler story to mark time until the whole new lineup begins in the new look Princess next issue. Lena tries to follow the Brownie motto and lend a hand one Saturday, but her efforts always keep going wrong – until she unwittingly lends a hand to catch a thief.

Judy Marshall is beginning to unravel the mystery of “The School of Dark Secrets”. The school staff are in some sort of secret occult, and they say their thirteenth sister has arrived, which completes the coven. They are referring to a portrait, and when Judy gets a look at it, she finds it is of a girl who looks just like her!

Grovel is taking delight in spooking everyone with the ventriloquism he has learned from a book. But it isn’t long before Sadie learns to fight fire with fire.

A club called the Treetoppers has formed around Sheena’s treehouse. But someone is spying on them. Is it the snobby Beverley Sneed, who’s already suspicious, or someone else? Sheena soon finds that somebody has definitely been around the treehouse, and they’ve stolen her bike too.

Tammy Annual 1986

Tammy annual 1986

  • Cover artist: Mario Capaldi
  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Animal Magic (feature)
  • The Bell – Strange Story (artist Jaume Rumeu aka Homero Romeu)
  • Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Wish Upon a Star (feature)
  • The Black and White World of Shirley Grey (artist Diane Gabbot, writer Jake Adams?)
  • Party Pieces (feature)
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong)
  • The Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Yule Tide – text story (artist Tony Coleman, writer Ian D. Mennell)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Snow – poem (writer Deborah Pfeiffer)
  • What’s Your Resolution? (quiz)
  • Sally’s Secret – Strange Story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Animal Magic
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Second Sight – Button Box story in text (artist John Johnston, writer Ian D. Mennell)
  • Animal Magic
  • ‘Make It’ a Great Year! (feature)
  • Flutter by, Butterfly! (feature)
  • Sweet Eats (feature)
  • The Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Snowy, the Christmas Snowman (feature)
  • The Crayzees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Molly Mills and the Sporting Life (artist Douglas Perry)

This was the last Tammy annual, with a gorgeous cover from Mario Capaldi. Capaldi had illustrated several covers for the Jinty annual and one for the Misty annual, but this was his first – and last – cover for the Tammy annual. Could it well be the last cover Capaldi ever produced for any girls’ annual as well? By this time the IPC girls’ titles had faded and DCT had taken more of a centre stage.

Pam of Pond Hill leads off the annual with her last Christmas story. Pam and Goof are sent to collect the Christmas tree for the school. Sounds simple and foolproof? Pam and Goof find out it’s anything but.

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The two text stories, “Yule Tide” and “Second Sight” take the unusual step of crediting the writer, Ian D. Mennell. “Second Sight” is unique for being the only Button Box story ever published as a text story, and it is a story that I have always enjoyed. Carmal, an Oriental girl, starts out as a selfish rich girl. Not surprising, considering that her uncle is a rogue. She mistreats a blind busker by putting buttons in his bowl instead of coins. But karma strikes when the uncle’s victims take a revenge attack that leaves Carmal blind and alone, and she is taken in by the very same busker she had mistreated. She learns his trade, and also learns what it is like to have mean people throw worthless rubbish in your busking bowl instead of money. In the process she becomes a more considerate and kind person – and so has the uncle, once he has tracked her down.

Meanwhile, Capaldi’s picture Button Box story is about a housemaid who hates her job because she is an outdoor type. When she foils a robber (realising he left a loose button from his jacket at the scene of the crime), it opens up a new career for her as a policewoman and enjoying the great outdoors on the beat.

Talking of housemaids, the last Molly Mills annual story reprints “The Sporting Life”, an annual sports event between the villagers and the Stanton Hall staff. Normally the villagers get on well with Stanton Hall, but when it comes to sports day it is far from a friendly match. It’s a needle event, and the needles are sharper than usual because the villagers have Olympic hopefuls on their team, and then spoilsport Pickering bans the staff from training after he gets caught up in mishaps from it.

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The poem “Snow” is also given a credit. The writer is Deborah Pfeiffer. This is the only work in Tammy credited to Pfeiffer.

The reprints are taken from 1981, including Diane Gabbot’s second-to-last Tammy story, “The Black and White World of Shirley Grey”. The original run had the honour of starting in Tammy’s 10th birthday issue. Shirley Grey refuses to tell lies in the wake of an accident she irrationally blames herself for. But Shirley is taking it to such extremes that she refuses to tell even a white lie, no matter what the circumstances. You can imagine what that leads to, and it starts with the boss’s wife asking Shirley what she thinks of her dress (which is hideous!).

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The annual is the one that stops the Bessie Bunter appearances. I find this a bit sad as I have always been a big fan of Bessie. Maybe there was no room for Bessie, or the editors decided she had had her day? If they did, it may reflect what happened in the regular comic. Bessie’s days became numbered in 1980 after Tammy swallowed Misty. During the merger Bessie was demoted from regular appearances to “from time to time” appearances while Wee Sue and Molly were still going strong.

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The Bella story is more intriguing in that Tammy is taking a serious attempt to giving the colouring more of a 3-D look in the use of the hues and tones. In the previous annuals this was only applied to skin toning, but now it is being applied to everything. The story has Bella losing her confidence because she is under a cloud that she won a medal by default when her rival withdrew. Bella’s coach is handling her badly, which only makes matters worse. But of course things turn around and it ends with Bella all set to make the coach eat his words. And it’s nice to see Bella’s last annual story focus on her gymnastics and not the machinations of Jed and Gert, which were the most frequent basis of Bella’s annual stories.

In the last Wee Sue story in the annual, Sue’s final word is “’bye!.” I wonder if this is meant to be a double meaning as this is the last-ever Tammy annual, and this particular reprint chosen for this reason.

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Tammy Annual 1985

Tammy annual 1985

  • The Button Box (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Animal Magic
  • The Town Crier – Strange Story (artist John Johnston)
  • Fun Time
  • Animal Magic
  • Molly Mills and the Festive Season (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Are You Really Nice to Know? (quiz)
  • Animal Magic
  • Bella (artist John Armstrong)
  • The Indian Blanket – Strange Story (artist Maria Dembilio)
  • The Price of Fame – text story (artist Tony Coleman)
  • The Crazyees (artist Joe Collins)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Stick with Us! (feature)
  • Fun Time
  • A Girl Called Steve (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • Be a “Wise Owl” and Decorate a Plant Pot (feature)
  • Christmas Exchange – text story (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Lend a Helping Hand (feature)
  • Choose Chocolate (feature)
  • Who’s a Pretty Boy, Then? (feature)
  • Odds and Ends (feature)
  • Polar Bears and Arctic Hares – feature (artist John Johnston)
  • Fun Time
  • Animal Magic
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Be a Cover Girl! (feature)
  • Hidden Melody – Strange Story (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Wee Sue (artist Robert MacGillivray)
  • Pam of Pond Hill (artist Bob Harvey, writer Jay Over)

Continuing the theme of Pam’s appearances in the Tammy annual, this Pam story takes a break from the Christmas theme where everything’s gearing up for a Christmas celebration but fate threatens to throw a Grinch into the works. Instead, the story focuses on exam nerves. It’s the history exam that’s the biggest worry of all for Pam, and considering that she has never been strong academically, what will the results be?

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This annual is the last Tammy annual to have Bessie Bunter. One story has a guest appearance from Billy Bunter (below), so at least Bessie ends on a high. Meanwhile, this is the first annual to have The Button Box, and the button Bev selects tells an anti-fox hunting story and a harsh squire who is shocked into changing his ways after his fox traps nearly kill his own niece.

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The serial reprinted for the 1985 annual is the 1979 story, “A Girl Called Steve” (short for Stephanie). It’s a mystery story, but is unusual in that Steve gets two mysteries to solve, one after the other. The first comes when Steve joins her father’s archaeological dig in the caves at Clambourne Bay. Even on the journey up there, it becomes blatantly obvious that there are some very sinister types out to scare her away. Things get even worse when the superstitious locals tell Steve that the Acum (a monster said to haunt the cave) has cursed the village in retaliation for the archaeological dig, and they join the campaign to get rid of Steve and her father. But is there really a monster behind it all, or is whatever in the caves more to do with human greed? Once the Clambourne mystery is solved and Steve returns home, she soon embarks on mystery number two when the council wants to bulldoze the old tram lines and weird things start happening there.

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In the Bella story, Jed and Gert embark on one of their most idiotic dodges to make money – Gert running aerobics classes, despite the fact that she is overweight, out of condition, has no training or qualifications, and is no spring chicken. But it’s poor Bella who ends up carrying the can and fleeing the angry aerobics class once they realise they’ve been conned. However, this is Christmas, so the Bella story has to resolve that way.

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The text stories are new, but the reprints increase. The Christmas-themed Molly story is a repeat. It looks like nowhere for the Stantons to have Christmas because Pickering wrecked the hall by lighting a match in a kitchen full of gas. Claire suggests London’s East End where Molly’s family are, but are the Stantons too posh for a Cockney party? The Wee Sue stories and Strange Stories are more repeats. And it could be the cover is a reprint as well, possibly taken from Princess Tina, as the Katy covers were. Still, the annual and its content are solid and can be read again and again.

Tammy Annual 1984

Tammy annual 1984

  • Cover: John Richardson
  • Pam of Pond Hill (writer Jay Over, artist Bob Harvey)
  • Animal Magic – feature
  • Fun Time
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Vassilya’s Doll – Strange Story (artist Peter Wilkes)
  • Wee Sue – artist Robert MacGillivray
  • Bessie Bunter
  • The Lucky Sixpence – text story (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Edie and Miss T (artist Joe Collins)
  • Calendar of Events – feature (artist John Johnston)
  • Bella – artist John Armstrong
  • Animal Magic – feature
  • Victim of Vesuvius – Strange Story (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • Tasty Tuck-In – feature
  • Knights of the Road – text story (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Fun Time – feature
  • ‘Sleigh’ Them, Father Christmas! – feature
  • Mask for Melissa – artist Angeles Felices
  • Wee Sue – artist Robert MacGillivray
  • The Christmas Visitor – text story (artist Diane Gabbot)
  • What a Cover-Up – feature
  • On with the Show… – feature
  • Quite a Puzzle – feature
  • Edie and Miss T (artist Joe Collins)
  • Animal Magic – feature
  • Room of Shadows – Strange Story
  • Wee Sue – John Richardson
  • Fun Time – Feature
  • Tasty Tuck-In – feature
  • Bessie Bunter
  • Molly Mills – artist Douglas Perry

Tammy annuals would not normally feature on the Jinty blog. But the last three do feature Pam of Pond Hill, so they will have entries here for this reason.

Tammy annual 1984 takes over the Pam of Pond Hill appearances in the annuals, leaving the Jinty annual for that year somewhat reduced in pure Jinty content because she clearly could not have Pam. The Pam story (reproduced here in full) incorporates the Orwellian 1984 theme that was big in that same year, for obvious reasons. Here we get a twist on the Big Brother theme.

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This was the last Tammy annual to have the Cover Girls on the cover. The Cover Girls disappeared from the regular comic in late 1980 after a run that can be traced back to 1974. They are certainly enjoying themselves in the snow.

The annual has a lot of reprints, many of which I am pleased to see. The Strange Story “Room of Shadows” was one of my favourites when it first came out, so I am delighted to have it again.

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There does seem to be some new material as well; the Molly Mills story, for example, is not a reprint (unlike the next two annuals). Unwanted puppies are dumped on the doorstep, and Molly has to find a home for them fast because Pickering has nasty ideas about drowning them.

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Theatre is a big theme in this annual. One feature, “On with the Show”, discusses what goes on behind the scenes during a performance. The theatre theme is probably why they reprinted the 1978 story, “Mask for Melissa”, in which aspiring actress Melissa Mappin gets such an enormous chip on her shoulder from a facial disfigurement in a road accident that she can’t look at herself in a mirror. She resumes her career by hiding behind a facial mask and changing her name to Gaye Traynor. But the deceit is bringing its own problems – like not able to have people touch her face because they’ll find out it’s a mask – which leads to misunderstandings and unpopularity.

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Cinderella is also a running theme as well, starting with the Strange Story on page 14, “Vassilya’s Doll”. Two jealous aunts go out to more extremes than most wicked stepmothers when they plot to send their drudge to her death because they can’t ruin her looks with hard work. But they did not count on a babushka doll and (despite herself) a witch. Yes, perhaps the moral of that story is that fairy godmothers can come in all shapes and sizes – and surprises. And it’s a moral that continues in the Bella story, where Bella finds herself a Cinderella, both in a panto production and in the children’s home where she has taken a job, because of the bullying orderlies who are also cast as the wicked stepsisters. When they try to put Bella out of the panto altogether, fairy godmother arrives in a most unexpected form – Aunt Gert, who is usually Bella’s wicked stepmother. And Bella is now appearing in full colour after several annual appearances in the usual black-and-white, sometimes with red colouring. She is the only character in the annual to appear in full colour, apart from Edie and Miss T. Does this say something about her status?

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And in one Wee Sue story, the school Cinderella panto looks like a shambles when Miss Bigger sticks her oar in with her casting ideas, and then more disasters strike just before the first performance.

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In one Bessie Bunter story, Miss Stackpole is conducting a lesson on what life will be like in the 21st century, which prompts another dream sequence for Bessie. It’s the 21st century now, so how close did the Bessie story get? Well, there are still another eight-and-a-half decades left in the 21st century, so maybe it’s too early to tell yet?

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Jinty Annual 1983

Jinty annual 1983

Jinty annual 1983

  • Little Sisters (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Do You Doodle? Feature
  • Carnival of Flowers – Gypsy Rose story (artist Guy Peeters)
  • Where Do You Fit In? Quiz (artist John Johnston)
  • Snoopa (artist Joe Collins)
  • The Mystery of Martine (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Growing Pains – text story
  • For the Love of Horses – feature
  • Make Music – feature
  • Desert Island Bookshelf – feature (artist Veronica Weir)
  • Picture of the Past (artist and writer Keith Robson)
  • Make Your Own Cards – feature
  • Pond Hill Bazaar – feature (artist Bob Harvey)
  • The Thirteenth Hour – Gypsy Rose story (artist Douglas Perry)
  • Box of Tricks – feature
  • Chance to Say Sorry – text story (artist Tony Coleman)
  • Call of the Sea – Gypsy Rose story
  • Perils of Babysitting – feature
  • It’s the Custom! Feature
  • Alley Cat
  • How to Make a Fortune Teller – feature
  • At the Top of the Tree – feature
  • No Place Like Home – Gypsy Rose story (artist Carlos Freixas)
  • Nothing to Wear – feature
  • Strawberry Handkerchief – Gypsy Rose story (artist Trini Tinturé)
  • Snoopa
  • Percy’s Christmas – text story
  • A Puzzle to Make – feature
  • All Around the World – feature
  • The Jigsaw Puzzle – text story (artist Phil Townsend)
  • Snowbound! Gypsy Rose story (artist Keith Robson)
  • Christmas with Dickens – feature (artist Mario Capaldi)
  • Netball Quiz – feature

This could well be the annual where Jinty comes into her own, because she is no longer printing serials from older comics for the long story sections. Instead she is reprinting one of her own serials, “The Mystery of Martine“, in which an actress who plays a dangerous, obsessive woman who eventually burns down a house starts behaving exactly like the psycho. The story is reprinted in yellow colouring, which makes a nice change from the usual red to set off some black-and-white pages, or the blue that Jinty used for a while.

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The number of recycled Strange Stories as Gypsy Roses has been reduced (a couple of them were omitted from the Table of Contents for some reason); the rest are reprints of Gypsy Rose’s own stories this time. One Gypsy Rose story, “Picture of the Past” is unusual in that it is both written and drawn by the same person, Keith Robson. This is the second instance we have come across of stories being written and drawn by the same person in Jinty. Or girls’ comics for that matter.

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The cover is one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen in girls’ annuals. The artwork from Mario Capaldi is mouth-watering, but what really sets it off and makes it memorable is the use of the colouring. And don’t you just love exquisite pictures of Victorian times – oh, wait, is that a car and garage we see in the background, in subtle grey tones? Ah, we have very enterprising carol singers here who must have made a few extra quid by using Victorian costume.

Capaldi’s artwork continues on the first page with “Little Sisters”. This story appeared in the Tammy & Jinty merger, but the fact that it has an appearance in a Jinty annual suggests it was originally conceived for Jinty. “Little Sisters”, a popular story about a teenage girl, Carol, who finds her little sister Samantha “Sam” exasperating at times (yes, a lot of girls can relate to that) also continues the Christmas theme on the cover. Sam wants to know what is meant by “goodwill” at Christmas. She misunderstands when the family explain (not very well), but ends up sending a whole new message to them about the meaning of Christmas.

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The presence of “Little Sisters” may be the reason “Pam of Pond Hill” was reduced to a feature instead of its own story. But we get a whole new side to Pond Hill when we are shown what Pam & Co did for the school bazaar, complete with instructions on the items and games. Yes, it’s a different take on the obligatory craft-and-make features in any girls’ annual.

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In “Growing Pains” a quilting party is not Betsy’s idea of growing up. But quilting takes on a whole new meaning when her boyfriend Nathan leaves and his parting gift is a patch to sew into her quilt. This text story should have you thinking about quilting in a different light as well. And “A Chance to Say Sorry” reminds us that you are given a chance to make amends, take it. Ruth Oldham the youth drama group secretary is due to retire, but nobody likes her except Keith because she is a “bossy-boots, thinks she’s the greatest, and never lets anyone else get a word in edgeways”. Sounds like Verna from “Tale of the Panto Cat”. But unlike Verna, she turns out to be a sympathetic character with a problem. And “Percy’s Christmas” brings us the story of a know-it-all seagull who is havng trouble grasping the ways of humans and Christmas.

Some of the text features are really strong, informative, and you will read them over and over. “For the Love of Horses” tells us about Dorothy Brooke, a woman who went to track down the former World War I Army horses and mules and started rescuing them from animal abuse in Egypt. The end result was the Brooke Hospital for Animals in Cairo. I just had to show the feature to my World War I lecturer at university and she took a copy. I still wonder if the annual became a source in somebody’s essay or thesis because of this.

“I’ve Got Nothing to Wear” reminds us how lucky we are in being able to acquire clothes in comparison to clothes manufacturing in the past. Clothes had to be handmade, often from scratch, no patterns until Victorian times, and made to last because many people were lucky to have a second set of clothes.

Finally, “Christmas with Charles Dickens” rounds off the Christmas theme by telling us how Dickens celebrated Christmas. Not to mention how fit he must have been with the long walks he took all over London, sometimes covering as much as 15 miles. And he would return home ready for more while his friends were ready to collapse. The feature might have been even better if it had told us that A Christmas Carol revived Christmas at a time when it had fallen on such evil days many people didn’t bother with it. But I guess you can only put in so much into a two-page spread, plus spot illustration.

This annual definitely ranks as one of Jinty’s top annuals, one of her very best. It is well worth collecting. It is sad that the quality did not last – the next annual, though still good, reduced the Jinty content (no Gypsy Rose or Pam of Pond Hill), and the last two Jinty annuals contained just reprints of older material from other comics.