“ Paperback: 112 pages / Publisher: Pedigree Books / Published: 2000 „
Hard cover annual.
Number 65 and published in 2000.
Published by Pedigree - an 'Express Annual'.
ISBN: 1 902836219
Stories by Ian Robinson.
Illustrations by John Harrold.
Story Colouring by Gina Hart.
===The Book in Detail===
The book contains six stories:
* Rupert and the Fool's Prize - 21 pages.
* Rupert and the Rust Mites - 15 pages.
* Rupert and the Strawberries - 12 pages.
* Rupert and the Harvest Moon - 13 pages.
* Rupert and the Smokescreen - 16 pages.
* Rupert and the Christmas Cake - 19 pages.
The book also has:-
Rupert's Fun Pages which include:
* Page of crosswork
* Page of colouring (3 pictures)
* Page of Spot the Difference.
* Page of Mrs Trunk's Strawberry Flan Recipe
* Page of answers.
£6.99 at full price. Currently can be picked up second hand on ebay for £5.
===The Annual Itself===
This is a glossy hard backed annual with an attractive cover. As you can see above it shows Rupert dancing along a lane holding hands with two corn dollies. The image wraps around to the back cover as it always does and the back shows some more of Rupert's friends with a Jester and two Toy Soldiers.
The annuals always have double endpapers which are the same image in the front and back of the book. This time it is a fairly drab image as it is meant to convey night time. It is a plain scene with a snowman in the image of Rupert Bear under a tree with a little imp looking out from the tree trunk - not as attractive a picture as many other years.
===Rupert and the Fool's Prize===
This features a 'Fool's Day Festival' and a competition run by the Jester to see who can do the best trick. The Jester of course s the one who spends all year writing the Christmas cracker jokes.
Rupert uses old stilts and attaches wood to the bottom to make the impression of large footprints - at night he then goes to the pond to get them covered in mud and then leaves the large footprints around the village to baffle the folk the next day.
Mrs Bear is quite active in the story and she plays a trick on Rupert by filling his cereal ox with feathers. She also cuts out the shapes of bears from Mr Bear's newspaper!
After following a false trail and getting lost the chums end up in the Jester's maze and then his garden. After first teasing them with fake food the Jester pulls back the cloth to reveal a table full of goodies - and everyone wins a prize for their pranks to take home with them. They all hope to have another contest the following year,
===Rupert and the Rust Mites===
The Professor invents a machine that can remove the rust from metal. However he does not realise that this means starvation for the poor Rust Mites that live off rust. When a metal clad figure breaks into the Professors Tower to smash up the machine the Professor realises his mistake - 'metal must rust just as wood must rot'. Rupert shows the metal man and the Rust Mites to e village metal dump where they then live happily.
===Rupert and the Strawberries===
Rupert and Edward Trunk are out hiking when they pass the Gaffer's house - he is upset as all his strawberries have been stolen. Later Rupert passes a hedgehog who says he knows that there are more strawberries in the woods. Rupert consults his map and heads for 'Berry Down' - after struggling through brambles they do indeed find strawberries. However they are seized by Imps who say it is their private garden. They are taken underground to the Imp King, who then understands once Rupert explains and they are given some strawberries for the Gaffer and the Imps agree to return with a net to help Rupert catch the thief. It turns out to be a poor donkey called Strawberry who has enjoyed nibbling the Gaffer's strawberries. Rupert and Edward later arrive home riding the donkey.
===Rupert and the Harvest Moon===
Rupert is helping to bring the corn in for Farmer Brown and are having a picnic i the field. On the way home Rupert seems the scarecrow called Odmedod. The scarecrow tells him that there will be a lovely Harvest Moon and says to come back after supper. Coming back after dark Rupert sees the glow of the moon and then sees a flock of birds in the harvest field, as well as some people. The 'people' turn out to be corn dollies and straw men who are all celebrating the end of summer. They sing 'John Barleycorn' and dance round in a circle with Rupert joining in. Back home in bed Rupert is awoken by the scarecrow and corn dollie - there is an emergency as the hay wain (cart) is on fire. Rupert rushes out to help - the old pump in the farmyard still works but they can only find a bucket full of holes. However they find an old waterproof tarpaulin which all the little birds pick up and Rupert can then fill it with water and when released over the hay cart puts out the fire. Rupert then goes home t bed and in the morning is very sleepy and his mother tells him that the moon last night had been like a 'silver sun'.
===Rupert and the Smokescreen===
It is autumn and bonfire night is approaching. TIgerlily buys some bright smoke cones and puts the in grass and lights them - they give off rainbow coloured smoke. She asks for volunteers and Bill Badger walks through the smoke and disappears - they think it is a joke but he has really vanished. Rupert will not wait for the Conjurer to return and he goes through the smoke and vanishes too - but takes Tigerlilie's magic wand.. Rupert is in Between Land which is a weird place where cards, rabbits and silk scarves are all floating round waiting to be plucked out by magicians doing tricks. Then 'pop'. Rupert disappears as he has been plucked out of a top hat by a magician - also there is Bill Badger. Rupert uses the wand to take them both back to Between Land - there they see a little girl who is lost - so vanished from her own Birthday party. Rupert uses the wand to take her back to her castle home.
===Rupert and the Christmas Cake===
Mrs Bear is making a Christmas cake and Rupert is helping. He is asked to make a wish whist stirring but cannot think of one. Later he finds the old cake decorations put away form previous years - a snowman, Christmas tree, sleigh and Santa. As the cake is not yet ready to decorate Mrs Bear says he can keep the small decorations in his bedroom. Rupert sets them out on his bedside table and later wakes to see the sleigh and Santa flying round the room and trying to get out - they say they will be back by morning so Rupert opens his window - but wishes he was small enough to go too. As if by magic he starts to shrink until he is small enough to also go in the sleigh with them - it must be the magic wish from making the cake that he never used up before. They fly through the night till they get to Santa's castle in the sky. There the little decorations are looking for something but are discovered by toy soldier guards who have to wake the proper Santa. When he hears what they have been trying to do he immediately gets up to help. He also rummages through drawers until he find just what he is looking for. They all start to fly home and Rupert looks in the bag to find it is small decorations for the tiny Christmas tree. They all decorate the little tree before Rupert rolls into his bed to sleep. By morning Rupert is back to his normal size and when his mother wakes him up she says how lovely the tiny tree is - as it is decorated and has tinsel just their large Christmas tree.
===What I Thought===
This is one of the old style Rupert Annuals which was illustrated by John Harrold and you can definitely see the difference from those produced today.
The images are colourful, have depth and have lots of detail in them. The stories would not be the same without the attractive illustrations as they are often what younger children follow. The stories are written on three levels - there is a line on the top of the page, next for more writing there is a descriptive couplet underneath the pictures which are mostly four to a page. Then for more proficient readers or for Mum or someone to read to the child there are two longer paragraphs at the bottom of the page.
Even a young child can follow the stories by looking at the large illustrations so to have them well executed makes all the difference.
The 'Spot the Difference' had Mr & Mrs Bear driving in a car which is something I have not seen before - of course it is an old fashioned car.
There are six stories which makes the book good value and it is good to see such a heart-warming Christmas story at the end of the book about the little Christmas cake figures coming to life - how sweet. Just the sort of story you want in a Christmas annual.
The Fool's Prize story is funny as it shows Mrs Bear playing April Fool's jokes on Mr Bear - something we seldom see as Rupert's parents are usually quite reserved and seldom do much in the stories.
All the stories are good in their own way and with a recipe, colouring, the Spot the Difference puzzle plus a large full page crossword this book is certainly one that is worth its money and would occupy a child for a good while.
===Its good points===
* 6 stories
* Colourful cover
* Good selection of puzzles
* Seasonal story
* Attractive colourful images
* Recipe page.
===Would I Recommend?===