Top positive review
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Why no puzzles any more?
on 4 August 2013
===I have written about the stories because only one is new anyway===
Number 78 and published in 2013.
This is actually the 2014 Annual.
Copyright Express Newspapers, 'Classic Media'.
Published by Egmont - 'We bring stories to life'.
Printed in Italy.
Edited by Stephanie Milton and designed by Martin Aggett.
The cover and endpapers by Stuart Trotter.
===The Book in Detail===
The book contains four stories:
* Rupert and the Rugger Match - 25 pages. (Originally in the 1972 Rupert Annual and illustrated by Alfred Bestall)
* Rupert and the Baby Cloud - 6 pages. (Originally in the 1981 Rupert Annual and illustrated by Enid Ash)
* Rupert and the Go Cart Race - 14 pages. (Story originated and illustrated by Stuart Trotter. Text and couplets by Stephanie Milton)
* Rupert and the Missing Snow -17 pages. (Originally in the 1992 Rupert Annual and illustrated by John Harrold).
The book also has:-
* Rupert's Paper Banger Origami Art (Originally in the Rupert Annual in 1986) - this is on the back cover.
* 2 page reader's survey.
Original price was £7.99.
Amazon currently selling it for £7.19.
No price triangle on the page corner any more.
===The Annual Itself===
This is quite a thin annual with a shiny hard cover. This only has four stories and one of these is only 6 pages. The image on the cover has been done by Stuart Trotter which shows Rupert riding in a home-made go cart with more of his friends in carts on the reverse - as usual the image is one large one which wraps around from the front to back cover.
The back of the cover states that the annual is for ages of 5+ and is not suitable for children under three years due to small parts. The image on the cover does seem to be slightly lacking in background detail but at least it does have Mrs Bear by their cottage.
The endpapers - a double spread of one colourful picture which used to always be inside both the back and front covers - now is only in the front of the book. It shows Rupert and his friends on a hillside, with a castle in the clouds and Imps in the trees. - again not a lot of background detail but the one thing I do like in the image is the little stone milestone which states 'NUTWOOD 1 MILE'.
In this book is a competition to win £150 of books -if you fill out the two page survey at the back of the book - or fill it out on line if you do not want to cut the book to pieces - the link is given at the end.
===Rupert and the Rugger Match===
This story involves Rupert's Uncle Bruno, who takes Rupert and his friends to a rugby match and then buys then a rugby ball. The birds think it is an egg and capture Rupert, who ends up in a large nest and is crying. Rupert is later imprisoned by the Bird King - he has to persuade them that the rugby ball is not a stolen egg.
Mrs Bear is quite grumpy in this story and when she finds Rupert playing rugby on the Common she drags him off home.
===Rupert and the Baby Cloud===
This is a short story but quite cute. Rupert and Algy are out with a large box kite. But when they pull the kite back down to earth there is a little cloud stuck inside it - which is dull and grey. Rupert takes the little cloud home - but you can see a large cloud watching. Overnight Rupert keeps the little cloud in his bedroom. During the night a 'cloud scrubber' visits him - he has lost his soap and it is his job to clean the clouds. The next day Rupert finds Edward Elephant blowing lovely bubbles- he has found the soap to clean the clouds. Rupert takes the soap home for his mother to wash the little cloud - which comes out white as snow. Rupert takes the cloud out and throws it up into the air and it floats away. Rupert puts the soap inside his kite and floats it up to a large cloud. Later when he pulls the kite back there is a little message which says 'Thank You'.
===Rupert and the Go-Cart Race===
This story starts with an image of an old fashioned TV. Rupert is at home and his Dad is watching racing on TV - it is quite close to Nutwood so Rupert and his chums go over to watch - it is on the other side of the Commons. They meet one of the drivers called Jerome who gives them a lift home. Rupert then has the idea for a go-cart race - but where will he get the parts from?
Rupert goes to see Mr Chimp but he has given his last box to Podgy. Wandering back Rupert wonders what to do when a crate falls off the back of a lorry. Rupert rescues it from the undergrowth when some of the Imps come out to see what all the noise is about. They take Rupert underground to their workshop where they are repairing a coach - so they give Rupert the old buckled wheels. Once above ground Rupert gets Bingo the clever dog to use his weird machine to straighten up the wheels - and his Dad fixes then on to the cart for him. But as soon as Rupert gets in the go-cart takes off and flies away - over ponds and underwater - its magic. Rupert landed by the Imps home and they say the wheels were magic so remove it for Rupert.
The day of the go-cart race the film crew turn up to have it on TV. Rupert's wheels still play up a bit but he manages to win the race - and then the cart takes off again. Mr Bear watches the race at home on TV.
===Rupert and the Missing Snow===
It is winter and cold, but no snow has come. The little Cowboy comes one night from Santa - he needs Rupert's help.
They go n a little plane up to Santa's castle in the clouds. Santa is very hot and worried - where is the snow? Rupert goes to see the Clerk of the Weather - who says he has already sent snow - so where is it? There is still no snow on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning Rupert receives a sledge from Santa - and a note asking for his assistance to find the missing snow. They go to the North Pole and see Rupert's Uncle Polar. They stay overnight in his igloo and then go to the North Pole - but the pole has disappeared.
They follow the tracks and discover that it was taken as a trophy by a traveller. - who immediately gives it back when he realises it has caused problems with the snow. Back in the igloo Polar phones Santa, and when Rupert returns home it is snowing in Nutwood.
===What I Thought===
Well when this annual arrived in the post it felt quite thin - and it is quite small - being only 70 pages in total.
The annual only has four stories - and one of these is only six pages. Three of these stories are recycled from earlier annuals and the only new one is the Go-Cart story - which actually has Rupert having a TV at home - which I believe is the first time I have seen that.
The only activity in the annual is a one page Origami art which again is from a previous annual. There are no puzzles at all in this annual - no crosswords, games, cooking, colouring pages or Spot the Difference - aside from only having four stories I think this is a very sad omission - as part of the fun of these Christmas annuals was also doing the many puzzles and games within its pages - I am sure they could have included some puzzles of some sort - even if they were repeats of puzzles from previous years - after all they have 77 previous annuals to trawl through.
I found the stories quite good in themselves - one or two I have not come across - such as the Rugger Match and the Baby Cloud one - but I have read the Missing Snow. The Snow story is nice to have included as I always feel it is important to have a seasonal story as these annuals were usually given as Christmas gifts - so it is good to have one that either mentions snow, Santa, reindeer or snowmen.
The stories in these annuals are always on three levels - you can follow the pictures, which are bright and colourful, you can read the rhyming couplets underneath the pictures or read the two paragraphs of story at the bottom of the page. Each page has a quartet of bright images of Rupert in his village of Nutwood and the adventures he goes on.
With this annual I think the stories are a reasonable selection to include and the newer story, although including TV for the first time, is not overly modern so as to spoil the quaint charm of the village of Nutwood and Rupert's cute cottage home. However I think the lack of puzzles is a big omission and I shall be filling out their on-line survey to tell them so.
I know when my sons were young and had Rupert annuals as well as the stories one of their favourite bits of the books was returning to them to redo the puzzles over and over - especially the Spot the Difference page which used to have two large images on a page and you had to find ten differences.
For the full price of almost £8 I think Egmont could have supplied a good selection of puzzles as well. Annuals are not just about stories and most people expect puzzles and other little items interspersed between the stories. The older drawings and stories also too tend to have more detailed backgrounds and more for children to look at and enjoy.
For those that are Rupert fans please fill in the online survey to let Egmont know your views.
===Would I Recommend?===
At the Egmont.co website and go to 'rupertsurvey2014'