The Enid Blyton Society
The Second Form at St Clare's
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Book Details...

First edition: 1944
Publisher: Methuen
Illustrator: W. Lindsay Cable
Category: St Clare's
Genre: School
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations

In this book the O'Sullivan twins ... Co. find they have a new form mistress as well as an extremely likeable and good-looking elocution/drama teacher — or so Alison declares but that's possibly because she's a little bereft ... her bosom friend Sadie has returned to America.

Prudence from the Summer Term has been expelled but there's always someone in an Enid Blyton classroom who can get one's dander up. Elsie Fanshawe for a start — a girl whom the Creator determined would be of a spiteful and vindictive nature. She is left-down in the second form alongside the lazy but good natured Anna Johnson and they are made co-head girls.

Mirabel Unwin (a child with potential) has been enrolled at St. Clare's but she's determined to be un-enrolled at half-term because she didn't want to come to the school in the first place. A spoilt and domineering youngster lording it over her siblings and making family life unbearable — she's at St Clare's to be Straightened Out but this little nuisance wants none of that. In ensuing weeks she makes her mark and at the same time displays hidden talents as the term moves on. There is also a similarly-gifted Misery Girl — at least that's what the others call her because she seems so, how would you put it ... so ... Miserable, but incredibly, she strikes up a relationship with one of the least likely candidates.

There's a lot to be said about Mirabel but after all, she's one of the baddies. Because of her antics the other girls hold a meeting to thrash out a policy whereby they can (in Elsie's words) get back at her. It's a pity that Hilary had to forego being head-girl due to Elsie and Anna's seniority because when the malicious Elsie uses her Get Back expression, the former head of the class in her own quiet way, endeavours to temper that phrase somewhat. Hilary is a guiding light in the background and all the girls (not Elsie) sense it.

During the term there are sad times to confront and also many happy ones. The latter category includes a wonderful concert for the Red Cross which the Second Form students present to entertain mainly the lower school, but they manage to attract a few of the less staid senior girls as well ... I guess they heard that Doris and Carlotta were on the programme.

A successful midnight feast is held when Carlotta's birthday arrives. There are a few hitches though because Elsie has to be entered into the equation ... naturally! This Fly in the Ointment seems to have no depths to which she won't stoop but Enid Blyton will see to it that justice is served.

What about a trick from Bobby who rose to even greater heights than Janet in that department? Does she play one? Yes! Is there a fight? Well, I never quite knew what boxing someone's ears meant but Carlotta obviously does! Is there a really, really exciting lacrosse match. There is and it's so enlivening that once again my neutral attitude to sport was put aside and I attended it. Alison's romance with Miss Quentin? How does that fare? No comment!

This is another inspired Blyton production and readers can ask themselves whether or not it's the best in the series. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.