What one can do in a lockdown? Part III

28 April 2020 by Roy Preece

Here for a start is the Rupert Bear stories; very popular and successful children’s stories.  The Wiki says all you need.  The cover pictures are from my copy of 1944. They were produced from 1936 to present. The format is unusual, being from an original strip cartoon, as shown by inside pages. But the stories are very traditional: strange fantastic adventures but based on a comfortable middle class village life, so any child could imagine the stories might happen to them; quite a key point in stories of the time.   The older annuals are very collectable, several hundred pounds each. Parliament gave special permission to print these in wartime when paper was severely rationed; to keep the wartime children happy I suppose; and the stories have very traditional English values.

The style is not great English compared with, say, Winnie the Pooh; but it had to be restricted to a small space in the newspaper and so is very short and basic.  But the structure and events are dramatic. My grandfather used to read them each day to me and my cousin. One day he was away so my mother read it. It seemed very short; ‘There’s more!’ we said. ‘No she said there’s no more’. There is when grandpa reads it, we said.  We didn’t know he made up more bits as he read it the stories.