Thursday, May 31, 2012

Treasure Box: The Lonely Giant

This is another very rare annual that contains a Jane Shaw story, The Lonely Giant. In Susan and Friends, it is listed as having appeared in The Treasure Book for Boys and Girls. This annual is called The Treasure Box for Boys and Girls. However, I don't think that the listing in Susan and Friends is in error. Both titles existed and it is perfectly conceivable that the story was printed in both. Jean Evans herself does not seem to have kept a copy of these Treasure Box annuals, otherwise they would have been found during preparation for Susan and Friends.

Quote of the Day

Margaret Scott was more encouraging. "I'm going to do it," she announced, "the Library, I mean. I think it might be quite a success: and if not, I'd rather hang for a sheep. If you come along at ten to-morrow, or is that too early?... All right, ten to-morrow and I'll hire you for the day - And will I make you work for your shillings!"

From THE CREW OF THE BELINDA, Chapter 12, Financial Crisis.

The Dog Who Couldn't Learn Tricks

While doing some browsing recently, I came across this annual called The Treasure Box, undated but from the late 1940s or early 1950s. I was surprised to see that the first item in the contents was The Dog Who Couldn't Learn Tricks, by Jane Shaw, surprised because it was the first I had ever heard of this story; it's not even listed in Susan and Friends. This story doesn't seem to have been reprinted elsewhere. I've found three annuals with The Wilsons Won't Mind, and the same goes for Susan's School Play and even The Onion Man. However, the stories for very young children don't appear to have got the same mileage. Most of them are easy to find because they were printed in the Collins Children's Annual, which enjoyed a wide circulation. However, the three Treasure Box annuals obviously were not printed in such large numbers. But now this long-lost treasure has been unearthed. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Griselda and the Giant (colour illustration)

The colour illustration of Griselda and the Giant.

Collins Annual: Griselda and the Giant

This is the cover of the Collins Children's Annual that features Griselda and the Giant. Like all the Collins annuals it is undated, but is probably from 1958.

Jane Shaw Quiz 60

What is the Folding Letter?

The answer to Quiz 59: Sid has a bad stutter.

Quote of the Day

It wasn't until the train reached Rigi Kulm that their true situation dawned on them. All the passengers left the train and handed their tickets to a ticket inspector. Susan and Midge looked at each other.
"We haven't got a ticket!" said Susan.
"No," Midge agreed.
"We haven't any money!" Susan's voice went up to a high squeak.
"No," said Midge.
"What are we to do?" said Susan.
"Nothing," said Midge.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 2, Up the Airy Mountains.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fritt Fram, Fifi: Susan's Helping Hand

And Eva Löfgren came through once again with this scan of the cover of Susan's Helping Hand in Swedish. This is my favourite scene from the Susan stories, the runaway lawnmower at Cousin Barbara's farm. Eva informs me that a possible translation of the title is Susan at Large, which sounds just like a title that Jane Shaw herself might have used if she had continued the series. Eva, who contributed a chapter to Susan and Friends about the Swedish editions, often points out to me that the characters' clothes may look a bit strange to English-speaking Jane Shaw enthusiasts. Certainly, when the books were published in the 1950s, the characters would never have worn jeans, but at least the artist got the girls' hair colour right, although Bill has been given grey hair... Note that the name of the author has been included as a signpost, which Cousin Barbara would never have put in the middle of a field on her own farm! Flickböcker means Books for Girls. According to Eva in Susan and Friends, B. Wahlström is a well-known publisher of children's books in Sweden that has been publishing juvenile books since 1914.

Jane Shaw Quiz 59

In the Penny books, why does the little orphan Sid have problems communicating with people?

The answer to Quiz 58: David and Tish are twins.

Quote of the Day

COME and keep us company, wrote Aunt Madeleine. Your Uncle James and I are going to Switzerland for a few weeks. Please come. Meet us at Zurich on the 29th of July and we shall all go on to Böningberg.

From THE TALL MAN, Chapter 1, Lost - An Uncle and Aunt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fina Fisken, Fifi: Susan in Swedish

Thanks once again to Eva Löfgren, who sent me this very nice scan today of the cover of Fina Fisken, Fifi, the Swedish edition of Susan Pulls the Strings. The title means "Fine Fish" and seems to have a similar meaning to the famous Laurel and Hardy line "Another fine mess". This scan is of a much higher and clearer resolution than the one I posted last year.

Jane Shaw Quiz 58

In the Thomas stories, what is special about the relationship of David and Tish?

The answer to Quiz 57: Susan's father is called David Lyle and he is an engineer.

Quote of the Day

The hockey-pitches were waterlogged. Miss Dickson, the games mistress, and Elizabeth Lamont had grown impatient, and one afternoon, when the clouds actually cleared off for once and a watery sun had made a tentative appearance for half and hour or so, had ordered a practice. It had not been a great success; the mud was inches deep, no-one could run, far less hit a ball, and the rumour went round - and actually in later years became a school legend - that a girl had been lost in the mud.

From NORTHMEAD NUISANCE, Chapter 6, Operation Nuisance.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Farligt fiffel, Fifi!

Thanks to Eva Löfgren from Sweden for sending me these scans of the front and back covers of Susan at School as published in Sweden. As far as I know, Swedish was the only foreign language in which any of Jane Shaw's stories were published. A complete list of the Swedish editions and some more information about them can be read in an earlier post here.

Jane Shaw Quiz 57

What is the name of Susan's father and what is his profession?

The answer to Quiz 56: This Collins' annual from the late 1950s is unique because it does not contain a Jane Shaw story. For many years from the early 1950s into the 1960s, Jane Shaw had always got top billing, but on this occasion the top billing went to other established authors, as can be seen below. The complete contents are:

7 * Bayley, Violet * Ten-Fifteen * ss; illus. D. L. Wynne
16 * Chappell, Mollie * Rescue at Redford * ss; illus. Madeleine Mays
25 * Knight, Frank * The Prince of Oyster Creek * ss; illus. Jean Main and David Cobb
33 * [Comic Strip] * The Secret Attic * cs
37 * Stephen, David * Kirsty's Talking Crow * ss; illus. Rene Cloke
47 * Shannon, Geraldine * The Day the Lion Got Loose * ss; illus. R.A. Branton
52 * Matheson, Jean * Dear Doubleface * ss; illus. Bettine Golby
60 * Weston, Kay * The World of Fashion: At Your Fingertips * ar; illus. Mob
65 * Austen, Jane * Enter Darcy: from Pride and Prejudice * ss; illus. Geoffrey Whittam
72 * Brooke, Rupert * The Great Lover: These I Have Loved * pm; illus. J. S. Goodall R.I. R.B.A.
73 * Oxenham, Elsie * Mistakes in the Abbey * ss; illus. Frank Varty
83 * Pullien-Thompson, Christine * A Job in Life * ss; illus. Sheila Rose
91 * Rossetti, Christina * A Birthday * pm; illus. J. S. Goodall R.I.R.B.A.
92 * Chappell, Mollie * Portrait of Caroline * ss; illus. Valerie Sweet
101 * Mob * Fashion Facts * ar; illus. Mob
104 * Dehn, Olive * Care Taken * pm; illus. J. S. Goodall R.I. R.B.A.
105 * Holmes, Winifred * The Secret of the Queen's Pyramid * ss; illus. H. C. Gaffron
112 * Boyd, Edward * My Sister the Cavewoman * ss; illus. J. B. Long
120 * Bayley, Viola * The Latch-key * ss; illus. R. Gillings

Quote of the Day

Susan felt quite ill at the dreaded word stepmother, and Charlotte made angry noises. "I'm sure it's unlucky even to mention the possibility," she said. "I say, here's your hat, on this shelf!"
"Goodness," said Midge, jamming it on her head, "where it ought to be! I'd never have thought of looking there-"

From SUSAN RUSHES IN, Chapter 7, Kitchen Knife, Circa 1920. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rousing Midge

One of my favourite features of the Susan stories are the ploys Susan uses to get Midge out of bed in the morning (or in the middle of the night if it's for one of their nocturnal excursions). At the beginning of Susan Pulls the Strings, after just one night in Wichwood, Susan amazes the Carmichaels by getting Midge downstairs in time for breakfast. How this was done is not explained, the text merely stating that "Susan set to work on her". However, as the series developed, a number of amusing ways were found to drag the reluctant Midge out of her peaceful slumber. My particular favourite is in Susan Muddles Through, when a cold wet sponge is used. In Susan Rushes In, when the cousins are going to collect mulberry leaves from the gallery across the street to save Pea-green's stolen silk worms from starvation, Susan shines a torch beam into Midge's eyes until she wakes up. In Where is Susan? the ploy is to just keep talking and bombarding Midge with questions until she is obliged to haul herself out of bed. In Susan's Trying Term, when Gabrielle breaks the school rules by sneaking out to the fair, Susan appeals to her cousin's conscience, warning her that this could mean Charlotte losing her coveted position as head of the house and being replaced by Hermione Pennington-Smith. Whatever tactic is used, rousing Midge always provides a comic moment in the stories.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

Susan felt rather uncomfortable at the thought of switching patron saints... but she had to admit that the Venetians had made a gorgeous job of St. Mark's... and perhaps St. Theodore hadn't really minded... he probably wouldn't, seeing that he was a saint...

From WHERE IS SUSAN?, Chapter 3, Refuge.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jane Shaw Quiz 56

Why is this Collins annual from the late 1950s unique?

The answer to Quiz 55: The illness that Penny gets in Fivepenny Mystery is chicken pox. This illness is often a plot device in Jane Shaw. It was chicken pox that sent Susan to Kent in Susan's Helping Hand and kept Katherine and Fiona at school in The Moochers Abroad.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Places in Jane Shaw: Monkton Combe

Today's quote describes the arrival of Penny and her family at Friars Combe, near Bath. In real life, the village is called Monkton Combe. Here it can be seen from a distance. Jean Evans loved Bath and the surrounding area. One of the reasons for this is that her favourite author, Jane Austen, lived there from 1800 to 1806 and partly set two of her novels (Persuasion and Northanger Abbey) there.

Jane Shaw Quiz 55

Which illness does Penny get in Fivepenny Mystery that results in her going to stay with the Gräfin von Adlerhorst?

The answer to Quiz 54: Laura and John Mallory call each other Jo.

Quote of the Day

"This must be Friars Combe," said Jill, consulting the sketch-map that the Mallorys had sent. "This must be the school. Now we go through the village, turn right, then right again along the main road - that's the Warminster road..." Dr. Carter followed Jill's instructions. "Now slowly, Daddy; there should be a gate and a road leading off to the left."

From THREEPENNY BIT, Chapter 1, Penny Becomes A Collector.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Big Book for Girls

Collins got a little extra mileage out of the 1953 short story Sara's Adventure by publishing it in this undated Children's Press annual.

The Cavalier's Tree

An illustration from Fourpenny Fair: Following Mr. Gauntlett's instructions, Penny rescues Candy from inside the hollow Cavalier's Tree.

Jane Shaw Quiz 54

In the Penny stories, what nickname do the Mallory children have for each other?

The answer to Quiz 53: Aunt Lucy's cousin Barbara lives at Apple-tree Farm.

Quote of the Day

Susan said afterwards that she nearly died. An invisible ghost, with only the sound of hooves to betray his presence, was bad; a real live - well, dead - ghost galloping past them was a thousand, thousand times worse. The girls crouched in the ditch and shivered with terror.

From SUSAN'S KIND HEART, Chapter 8, Mysterious Piece of Silver.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Tall Man: Rinigen Castle

And here are the Warings at Rinigen Castle in The Plot, Chapter 3 of The Tall Man.

Places in Jane Shaw: Ringgenberg

In The Tall Man, the Warings travel to Switzerland and stay in the village of Böningberg, and one of the stops they make is Schlöss Rinigen, or Rinigen Castle. What Jane Shaw actually did was mix the names of two villages: Ringgenberg and Bönigen, which become Rinigen and Böningberg in the story. The children visit the castle, which is partially inhabited by the Rinigen family. In reality, Ringgenberg Castle was originally built in the 12th century and later fell into decay. A church was built into the ruins in 1670. At various times during the 20th century and the early 2000s, restoration work was done and it is now open to the public. The castle is a Swiss heritage site. Here is a view of the two villages that were combined in the story.

Jane Shaw Quiz 53

In the Susan books, who lives at Apple-tree Farm?

The answer to Quiz 52: Tertius Smith is the pompous artist who has a display of abstract works at the Little Gallery in A Job for Susan.

Quote of the Day

There was talk of a reward. We hoped very much that there would be a reward, a nice big one, big enough to bring us back to South Africa one day very soon. We could hardly drag ourselves away from our relations that terrible day at Jan Smuts Airport when we said good-bye.

From NOTHING HAPPENED AFTER ALL, Chapter 16, Nothing Happened After All.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Twopence Coloured frontispiece

Here is a "cleaned up" high-resolution scan of the Twopence Coloured frontispiece.

Pierrot Gourmand

While in St. Brioc (Binic), Sara develops a passion for Pierre Gourmand sweets. When the girls go to the circus, before finding a seat Sara makes sure that she has an ample supply of Pierrot Gourmand nougat. The Pierrot Gourmand company was founded in 1892 by a young Parisian confectioner called Georges Evrard and is still going strong today, producing over 140,000,000 sweets and cakes a year.

Jane Shaw Quiz 52

In A Job for Susan, who is Tertius Smith?

The answer to Quiz 51: The story set at Loch Ard is AMANDA'S SPIES.

Quote of the Day

They settled themselves at Quadri's for a change, all ready for another good gaze at the fabulous façade of St. Mark's; in fact, so intent was their gaze, that the tall girl with red hair and a very pretty green frock was standing by their table before they were aware of her.
"Why, hullo," said the beautiful Russian spy, "how nice to see you again!"

From WHERE IS SUSAN?, Chapter 5, Capture.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New House at Northmead illustration

From Chapter 10 of New House. Nicky, Kay and Lynette find themselves trapped inside the Claire mansion after closing time - and they're not alone...

Jane Shaw Quiz 51

Which Jane Shaw story is set at Loch Ard?

The answer to Quiz 50: The treasure chest that Sara and Caroline find in Breton Adventure is full of old books.

Quote of the Day

Celia thought, "This is it," and made a sudden movement to the side so that the dinghy tipped dangerously. Miss Grey screamed and fell flat on her face in the water. Geneviève's brother hastened to her rescue; bedraggled and dripping, but her glasses still firmly on her nose and her bun still firmly on her neck, Miss Grey struggled to her feet.
"You little beast," she said venomously, turning on Celia, "you pushed me in. You tried to drown me - you know I can't swim-"

From THE MOOCHERS ABROAD, Chapter 8, The Split Infinitive.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Places in Jane Shaw: Crackington Haven

While in quarantine at Pendragon Manor in The Moochers Abroad, Fiona, Katherine and Celia often scrambled along the beach, where Katherine also enjoyed surfing. In fact, her surf board is used as a lever to dislodge the huge rock that Celia's leg gets trapped under. They would often come across rock pools like this one.

Jane Shaw Quiz 50

What is in the "treasure chest" that Sara and Caroline uncover at the end of Breton Adventure?

The answer to Quiz 49: Jill is one year younger than Penny.

Quote of the Day

Next morning Jennifer lay in bed, the sun streaming in her window, and watched the swallows wheeling and swooping in their morning game. They'll soon be going back to England, she thought, and she didn't even feel an ache at the back of her throat. I'll go back - sometime, I'll go back, she thought.

From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 14, Jennifer Changes Her Mind.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Susan and the Home-made Bomb illustration

In Susan and the Home-made Bomb, this is the picture that is wiped clean to reveal a masterpiece in pure Jane Shaw fashion.

Quote of the Day

This time he really did laugh - at our faces, I suppose. "Och, that wasn't difficult," he said. "Young Thomas was going round all the folks in the hotel this morning asking for the loan of their Kurkartes. He looked quite thrilled when I said that I had lit my pipe with mine."
Tish and I glanced at each other quickly... But of course that was a joke. We weren't likely to be so silly again - it was quite impossible to believe that Dr. Maclaren was a crook.

From THE TALL MAN, Chapter 7, We Make Our Reports.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

500th Post: Anna-Säule Column

In Fivepenny Mystery, when Deborah arrives in Austria she is driven through Innsbruck. She thinks that the Maria Theresienstrasse is the most beautiful street in the world and catches a glimpse of the Anna-Säule Column, which was built in honour of the retreat of Bavarian troops in 1703. The funniest scene in Fivepenny Mystery takes place on the Maria Theresienstrasse too, when Penny, after blazing a trail by heaving pots and pans out of the caravan on the road to Innsbruck, throws a sheet out of the window and it wraps itself around a policeman. Like all of her stories, Fivepenny Mystery is based on memories and journals recording the author's holiday experiences, which lend a great deal of realism and precision to her books.

Jane Shaw Quiz 49

What is the age difference between Penny and Jill?

The answer to Quiz 48: Penny's kindly landlady on Arran is Mrs. Fergus.

Quote of the Day

"But sir!" said David indignantly, getting his breath back. "You told me to take them!"
"Told you to take them? I did nothing of the kind! I told you to take a pile of old junk from the table on the right-hand side of the door. These plants were on the left-hand side. Good heavens, boy, don't you know your left hand from your right hand?"
Well, there it is. David just stood there, getting redder and redder. For the fact of the matter is that David often doesn't know his left hand from his right hand unless he stops to think. He is left-handed, you see, and naturally his left hand is the important one to him and when you say to him, turn right, he often just automatically sturns left - Jill and I are always teasing him about it...