Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd (6 Aug 2007)
Illustrations by John Harrold.
Story colouring by Gina Hart.
Original stories by James Henderson.
Edited by Anna Bowles.
Special thanks to Phil Toze.
Printed in Italy.
===The Book in Detail===
Hard cover with image of Rupert with a basket of groceries and in the background is a village scene of houses and shops with Rupert's friends and villagers. The image wraps around to the back cover where there are more images of Rupert's friends with a flying horse, imps, a prince and little people.
By Egmont - 'we bring stories to life'.
Back cover states 'Express Newpaper' and 'Entertainment Rights'.
Issue number 72.
Double endpapers inside cover back and front - image of a large stone bridge over a river with Rupert and friends on the bridge. On the water the imps are waterskiing - being pulled along by fish. By John Harrold.
Price triangle still present showing £7.99.
Inside is a place for a child to write their name.
The book contains five stories:
* Rupert and the Sleeping Village - 15 pages.
* Rupert and the Little Train - 23 pages.
* Rupert and Algie's Misadventure - 17 pages.
* Rupert and Podgie's Christmas - 8 pages.
* Rupert and the Metal Horse - 22 pages.
The book also has:-
* Page with wordsearch.
* Page of how to draw Rupert.
* Page of maze.
* Join the dots page.
* Spot the difference page.
* Crossword page.
* Write and colour your own Rupert story page.
* 2 page dice game
* Origami page.
* Memory game page.
===Background to Rupert===
Rupert Bear has been a comic strip character in the Express Newspaper since 1920. The annuals have been produced since 1936 and even continued during the War years.
Rupert is a fictional little bear character who lives in the village of Nutwood with his parents. He and his parents and friends all wear clothes - his mother dresses in is a long dress and apron and his father is in a patterned sweater and often with a bow tie.
Rupert's friends are different little animals: Bill Badger, Willie Mouse, Edward Trunk (elephant), Algie Pug etc. They live in a sort of time warp era, Rupert has an old black telephone at home, there are a few old fashioned cars and steam trains, at Christmas the 'children' (i.e. Rupert and his friends) are given old fashioned toys as presents such as balls, sailing boat, wooden soldiers, spinning top etc.
Rupert is depicted as a white bear in the stories in the book, but is brown on the covers (apparently he was changed to white to save on Newspaper printing costs of the comic strip). He always wears yellow and black check trousers and a red sweater, plus a yellow and black check scarf when necessary. He will wear black wellingtons in winter and also a bright red coat - this does not clash with Father Christmas in the seasonal stories as Santa always has to be dressed in a slightly darker shade of red. Rupert also has a red dressing gown.
===Why I Like Rupert===
I have always had Rupert books from the early 1960s when I inherited some of my sister's annuals. Then I would have annuals of my own, later I would get them for my nieces and then my own sons - so I have had a long relationship with him. Now I buy them for relatives - or just for my own collection.
What I liked about Rupert was that it was timeless. The little village of Nutwood where Rupert lives was always the same - Rupert would go out and have adventures in the countryside - but always came back home safely to his little cottage. There was no violence - even if Rupert got kidnapped - and it all worked out right in the end.
My sons in the 90s also enjoyed Rupert - both on TV and the annuals - especially doing the 'spot the difference' puzzles - it did not seem to occur to us that his life was not 'current' with TVs and mobile phones - it was all part of his timeless charm.
===The Annual Itself===
First impressions was that I liked the cover - having a really good image of Rupert and his little home village of Nutwood.
This book has five stories and lots of puzzles. The illustrations are the last ones in an annual to be done by John Harrold, which is a shame as he does Rupert and the other characters so well.
Rupert stories come in three levels - the colour pictures enable you to follow the story with a very young child, the rhyming couplets tell a bit more of the story, or you can read the full text in paragraphs at the bottom of the page.
Each page mostly has four colour pictures each with rhyming couplets underneath, then at the bottom of the page are two larger paragraphs to read if you wish.
The illustrations are bright and colourful, and it is good to see origami back in the annuals. The double pages of a dice game is a nice touch, as are the other games and puzzles - there seems an abundance of things to do in this annual.
It is good to see that the annual has a Christmas story - as often these annuals are Christmas gifts and a story featuring Father Christmas, snowmen, or at least snow, is always welcome.
===Rupert and the Sleeping Village===
Rupert returns to Nutwood to find everyone is sleeping - having been lulled to sleep by a stolen magic harp. Rupert finds that the birds have not been affected so works out how to broadcast their song at full volume across the countryside to wake everyone up. Jack, who stole the harp, is told off by Growler the policeman and the harp is returned to its 'giant' owner. Rupert receives a little gold harp as a thank-you from the 'giant'.
===Rupert and the Little Train===
Rupert finds a toy train in the woods, only to find that it was used by little Lilliputians - known as Railies. They were living underground and used the toy train to move around safely. This annoyed the imps who also live underground. It turned out the train had been stolen from the Squire, but when he found out why he left the little Railies live on his estate and they also still used the train underground to transport the flower bulbs which the imps planted in spring. They also had the little train converted to electricity as the steam train, when using coal, had made the imps' tunnels really dirty.
===Rupert and Algie's Misadventure===
The wise old goat has a time machine and Algie gets transported back to the 1400s. In ancient Nutwood Algie finds he has a double called Duke Algernon. Rupert has to save the day by also going back in time to rescue Algie. Duke Algernon comes to the present day but is given a potion to forget. The only things that Rupert recognises from the past are the church and the one remaining tower of the old castle - which is now where the professor lives.
===Rupert and Podgie's Christmas==
The seasonal story. Podgie is greedy and selfish - but Rupert believes he is just a bit spoilt. Santa's helper, a little cowboy, was going to tell Santa that Podgy did not deserve gifts, but Rupert travels with him to Santa's castle in the clouds in a little pink and blue old style plane. Santa has a plan - and gives all the gifts for the village children to Podgy. The others are disappointed - but Podgie realises he does not want all the gifts for himself and writes labels for all of them and delivers them to their doorsteps. For being so good Santa drops off another gift for Podgie with a note which read:
'you've already had the best present - the happiness that comes from giving instead of getting'.
===Rupert and the Metal Horse===
Rupert and his friend Gregory go for a walk in the woods. They find a metal horse which has an aerial and carries them off to a professor's laboratory. The professor has a larger flying horse called Pegasus. Rupert cannot get off this flying horse but is rescued by Nutwood's professor and P.C.Growler.
===What I Thought===
Well I really liked this annual. As it was illustrated by John Harrold I knew it would be done really nicely. This is the last of what I would call the traditional Rupert annuals. SInce this edition it has been evolving year on year - and not really for the better. With different story tellers and illustrators, plus with each annual having less stories each year it would be worth getting a copy of this annual to see how good they used to be.
I still get the annuals but they are not quite the same - either in content or size.
===Its good points===
* with five stories it was also packed with more puzzles and features - so there was plenty of 'play value' in it.
* The puzzles and origami are always nice to see.
* Dice game to keep children amused.
* Origami horse to go with the Metal Horse story.
===Would I Recommend?===
Yes - has five stories and lots of puzzles and things to do - just what you need in an annual. Often we used to find the puzzles the best part.
When sons were ill we would always get all the old Rupert annuals out and go through the puzzles - especially the Spot the Difference.
This is a fan club for Rupert which has regular newsletters and articles on Rupert. Their website is at - [...]