Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Fay, Julie and Ricky from Crooks Tour are seen here in an illustration of Crooks Limited, the only other story about these characters and the only Jane Shaw story set entirely in her native Glasgow. There were several other illustrations of this story in the Collins annual but they are marred by the fact that the artist switched Fay and Ricky around, giving Ricky dark hair and making Fay blonde. I wish that artists would actually take the time to read the stories they illustrate. This carelessness really got up my nose when I was a child.

A number of the Susan books have coloured frontispieces and I was lucky enough to get one or two of them when I ordered them from Peakirk Books. This one is  from Susan's Trying Term, with Tessa, Midge and Susan restoring the school museum. It's interesting that Tessa and Midge are both described as fair haired, but one of them has become a red head!
Here we see Pea-green, i.e., Peregrine Gascoigne, causing havoc at St. Ronan's in the short story Susan's School Play. This story is narrated in the first person by Midge, the only departure from the third person. Another short story, The Wilsons Won't Mind, is the only Susan story that does not include the lead character's name.
The cover of No Trouble For Susan. Note the in-joke: To Susan's right there is a stack of Susan books! However, the title of one is in error. Instead of Susan's Trying Term, the title is Susan's Trying Time. Strange that R. A. Branton should  make this mistake as he illustrated many previous stories about Susan and her cousins.
Dreamy Penny on the island of Arran in Scotland in the first book of her series. Jane Shaw and her husband would later retire to this isle just off the Ayrshire coast.

The latest edition to my collection is Threepenny Bit. If I can tear myself away from the Susan books, this will be the next one to read.

A running gag throughout the Susan series is waking up Midge. Whether early in the morning or in the middle of the night for some nocturnal excursion, Susan employs a variety of methods to rouse her cousin. Here, in Chapter 10 of Susan Muddles Through, a wet spong is used.

Susan with Midge and Tessa at St. Ronan's in Susan's Trying Term.
The cover of Susan At School depicting the hilarious scene involving Dotty's ancient car.
Although I have a first edition of A Job For Susan, there are no accompanying illustrations or frontispiece, which is a bit disappointing because it is  my favourite of the eleven books in the series. It would have been nice to see some  more scenes, but by the time it was published readership was in rapid decline and they probably opted not to include illustrations in an effort to cut costs. It's interesting to note that the front cover was illustrated by Roger Hall, who also did the internal drawings for the British editions of The Three Investigators books.
My copy of Susan Rushes In is an undated Children's Press edition.