The Enid Blyton Society
The Naughtiest Girl Again
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Book Details...

First edition: 1942
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: W. Lindsay Cable
Category: Naughtiest Girl
Genre: School
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Artwork
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations

Reprints


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by W. Lindsay Cable



1st Australian edition published by Angus and Robertson in 1949
re-illustrated cover by an uncredited artist.
The Naughtiest Girl Again was the book that introduced me to Elizabeth Allen and her friends at Whyteleafe School. I found that the naughtiness of the girl was mostly expressed in the form of a hot temper and I was familiar with this way of expressing oneself because Darrell Rivers in the Malory Towers school books was similarly afflicted. I wondered what bad things had been done by Elizabeth in the first book but in the meantime I had to be content with the one in hand.

Elizabeth has a very good friend from her first term at Whyteleafe — Joan Townsend, and they join up with each other in London for the train trip back into the country to begin another term. Elizabeth has to put up with a little joshing when she is referred to as 'The Naughtiest Girl in the School', but she takes it in good humour. She says she's not naughty any more so in truth, the label on Elizabeth is simply for old-time's sake. She had earned it though and it has stuck — together with another label: 'The Bold Bad Girl' that was actually 'stuck' onto her back in the form of words on a card at one time during the last term. A derogatory nick-name can often become the norm and if the Find-Outers series of books are perused it's easy to see how the name 'Fatty' went from being a rather insulting title to one of endearment when the named person developed into a staunch and respected member of the group.

Elizabeth and Joan's friends are all at the station ready for the journey. There's twelve-year-old John Terry whose expertise with growing flowers and vegetables has made him head of the school garden. Harry's arrived as well and there's also a dark-haired, serious faced boy who takes Elizabeth's arm and is chided by her because he hadn't written during the hols. Richard is his name and how could he be expected to remember friends and their need for postcards when his holiday was spent with his grandfather who has a lovely violin. The boy was allowed to use it and because Richard's dreamy world is filled with music, he could think of nothing else during the summer holidays. Anyway, Elizabeth's card to him was indecipherable — at least that's what he tells her but there's a twinkle in his eye. The train leaves with its cargo of excited girls and boys and Elizabeth waves goodbye to her mother as they pull out of the station. They're off on a pleasant journey to Whyteleafe although it wasn't nearly so pleasant for a very naughty and uncontrollable girl who made her first trip last term.

The story now takes on the theme of other books by the author that deal with school-life and we would have welcomed a few more because Enid Blyton knew how to hold the interest of her readers. There are happy times, various routines, games and there are also squabbles in an environment which is dominated by The School Meeting. One of these is held every week and the children themselves address the various problems which may arise in the course of everyday life be they money shortages or ill-feeling amongst students. There are three new kids — Jennifer Harris, Kathleen Peters and Robert Jones, and they're all in Elizabeth's class so it will be interesting to learn about their various personalities. Small pets can be kept by the children so there are guinea-pigs, rabbits, pigeons, goldfish, canaries, and now, white mice have been added because they belong to one of the new girls — Jennifer, who loves them very much indeed. She even lets them run up her sleeve and pop out above her collar! There are also hens and ducks which belong to the school and three Jersey cows which are milked each day by the students themselves, graze in the nearby meadow.

Little time is lost before the children attend the first meeting of the term and the new kids learn that any money they have brought with them must go into a box from which 2/- (two shillings which in 1973 seemed to be the equivalent of 70p) is doled out to every student. The rest of the appropriated money is used if any child needs a little more for a legitimate purpose. You must have good reason and the dispensing of extra funds is decided by William and Rita the Head Boy and Girl with the help of twelve monitors who sit nearby. Suppose you made a request for some more money to pay for a broken window. You would then be asked how the accident happened and it might go something like this: — "In which room did it occur? Were you fooling about? A ball? You aren't allowed to take balls into that room. You forgot the rule? Was anyone else involved? Three others? Divide the cost amongst you and take it out of your weekly pocket money — no extra funds granted!" Problems are hammered out and solutions are found — usually by the judges, William and Rita, and the jury of monitors but with very tricky items it can happen that all the children talk about it amongst themselves and perhaps offer a suggestion or two. The rulings are seen as final and they are usually pretty sound. New boy Robert doesn't want to place a pound (twenty English shillings) that he received from his grandfather into the school box but there's no choice and he's forced to part with it.

Jennifer, the new girl who has mice for pets, makes friends with everyone and she has a talent for mimicry which would remind those people who followed the St. Clare's books of Doris, the schoolgirl genius who is probably nearing retirement after years on the stage in various parts of the world but, on the other hand, it could be said that the Enid Blyton characters are timeless. Kathleen and Robert, the other new students are not liked all that much. Kathleen is 'Plain and Spotty and Pale and Dull and Slow, and Mean, and Deceitful, and Cowardly'. This might seem a trifle aggressive and a little uncalled for but it has to be pointed out that I'm repeating Kathleen's very own description of herself! Robert seems to be rather spiteful and a bit of a bully although more evidence is needed. Elizabeth has little patience with him and when he openly shows aggression towards her, a feud develops. The odd whack on the hand during lacrosse matches is exchanged and then comes the day when Elizabeth finds proof of Robert's bullying nature when she spots him being very unkind to a small boy. Robert is pushing him on a swing and the young lad is squealing in terror because he's being shoved far too high. Elizabeth intervenes and there's a fight between her and Robert which elicits a threat from Elizabeth that she's going to report him for bullying at the very next School Meeting.

Elizabeth is as good as her word and brings the incident up at the next gathering of the school in the gym where the Meetings are held. Bullying is in the 'Serious' class so if you are going to accuse someone of it you must be sure of your evidence. The facts are that Robert was swinging little Peter far too high and the boy was terrified of falling off. Robert wouldn't stop and seemed to be enjoying frightening Peter who was feeling that he might be sick. Unfortunately, William and Rita and the jury haven't read the book so they don't know what many of us do — Elizabeth was correct in her accusation. Young Peter is called upon to give evidence and surprisingly he denies that Robert was being nasty to him.
"I was just squealing for fun!"
How curious — but it can be noted that whilst he was answering William and Rita's questions he had looked across at Robert and that lad had given him a 'queer' look. It's an unfortunate result for Elizabeth and she even has to degrade herself by apologizing to Robert. The feud continues and one aspect of this is that they work harder than usual in class to get high marks with the idea that whosoever is more successful can crow over the other. It's all very well to slog away but Elizabeth and Robert are doing it for the wrong reasons ... to spite each other.

The term goes on. One of Jenny's white mice causes disruption in class and Miss Ranger is not amused. Elizabeth is working hard in the garden with John and contributing useful suggestions. Kathleen is becoming very tiresome with her grumbles and her accusations on the lines that people are saying nasty things about her. She's also a problem for the teachers because of her argumentative nature and she draws the wrath of Mam'zelle who, like most of the Blyton Mam'zelles, is endowed with a hot temper. In the common-room one evening, Jenny, the talented humourist, acts out her version of Mam'zelle's confrontation with Kathleen and it's unfortunate that just as she's saying some rather untoward things about Kathleen's appearance, the girl whom she is very cleverly mimicking happens to walk in unnoticed! Kathleen says nothing but stores the incident up in a very bitter and twisted way. One thought is in her mind — she'll Get Back at Jenny! Things get a little worse because Elizabeth, who has a very fiery personality and tends to fly off the handle too easily, sticks up vigorously for Jenny when Kathleen makes accusations against her. Kathleen adds Elizabeth to her list of girls whom she is going to Get Back at!

There is another Meeting where a request for extra money to pay for a broken window is declined. Elizabeth also asks for more money to buy some crocus corms for the garden. Granted! Then the day arrives when Kathleen commences her 'Get Back' plan. One way of doing this is to do what Gwendoline Lacy did. Gwendoline was rather a nasty piece of work who attended the school called Malory Towers and her way of evening-the-odds was to play horrible tricks on people either to scare them directly or in the hopes that the person she hates will get blamed for the incidents. Erica at another school (St. Clare's) was also of this nature and I think the idea is to find someone to blame for a situation that has actually been caused by yourself due to your own negative attitudes and plain nastiness. Once you have zeroed in on a girl or boy whom you can imagine caused your discomfort, a balance can be achieved by making that person feel as miserable as you are and your reward is a kind of triumphant feeling that you have evened things up. Kathleen begins playing some tricks on Jenny and also on Elizabeth and these cause hard times for the poor girls. Jenny loses some of her mice because of Kathleen's ill-feeling and she's quite shattered at the thought of what may have happened to them.

Very unfortunately, a chapter called 'More Trouble' reveals that Elizabeth's headstrong and impulsive nature will get the better of her if she doesn't hold herself in check. She catches Robert bullying again and this time he's making a small boy sit on some hot-water pipes but then she carries things a little too far when she confronts him because she also accuses him of playing the disgusting tricks on her and Jennifer which of course were really done by Kathleen. The next School Meeting is a solemn affair because Robert is accused of bullying once again but in this case, Leslie — the boy who had been the target, is made of slightly stronger stuff than young Peter. The situation is so complicated that the three Heads of the school are called up to help render a decision. There are positive notes because after the ledger is consulted — the one which records all past meetings and the solutions to problems, Robert is given a little psychological help and that's often all that's needed to solve some deep problem in an Enid Blyton story. However, Robert has also been accused by Elizabeth of the crimes committed by Kathleen. What will happen now?

Whyteleafe has a way of bringing the best out of its pupils and the next person to benefit is Kathleen. She's seen Robert being accused of her deceitful behaviour and she's beginning to hate herself. She surprises Elizabeth and Jenny when she faces them both and owns up to her deeds. However, the shame and fear of any consequences is a little alleviated by her decision to depart and make her way back home because she's too weak to stay ands see what happens after her confession. She runs away but this can't be allowed and steps are taken by Elizabeth and Jenny but what's Elizabeth to do about her false accusations against Robert now that the truth has been revealed to her by Kathleen? This presents another dilemma for a girl who seems to invite them on a regular basis. Chapter seventeen hopefully contributes something positive because it's labelled 'Clearing up a few Troubles'.

Kathleen has been brought back from her brief escape and she's improving considerable with help from those who know how to help. One thing is nagging her — although she's owned up to Elizabeth and Jenny she hasn't the courage to own up in front of the School meeting. In a way, doing this is required therapy because the children pull together and try to help one another. At the next School Meeting Leonard has a grumble. This is one of the instances that hint of the school being a small one because Leonard was also the boy who broke the window, with some help from friends admittedly, and he's also one of the people who milk the cows. The school revolves round Leonard! His complaint: — Fred's snoring wakes him up and as he has to get up early to milk the cows, he needs all the sleep he can get. William thinks this is the funniest grumble they've ever had but all things must be catered to by the Meetings and Leonard actually manages to solve the problem for himself. Then Elizabeth displays her courage by confessing to the school that she blamed the wrong person for the tricks played on her and Jenny. Kathleen still hasn't owned up though because, although she is sailing along towards a much improved existence, she doesn't have Elizabeth's strength of character.

Robert's into horses and he's really bucked to have received permission to help look after a couple of them as part of his therapy. He goes out riding and is often accompanied by Elizabeth whom he has befriended now that the air has been cleared somewhat. There's so much to do and so little time to do it. This thought is echoed by Elizabeth because she wants to ride the horses oftener and would like to garden all day long and she wants to fit in more music lessons and she needs extra time to spend with the pet rabbits and she wants to play more games. Unlike John Terry whose all-encompassing interest is the garden, Elizabeth has numerous outlets and, come to think of it, why shouldn't John do something else as well? She persuades him to try a little riding and he takes her up on it.

A lacrosse match is held between Whyteleafe and Uphill schools and two of the players are Elizabeth and Robert. What a great match — in more ways than one. Enid Blyton always makes these contests very readable and exciting. Who will win? The Uphill School is bigger so it has more children to pick from and naturally the chances are there are more lacrosse experts available. As well as that, their team is composed of bigger players than Whyteleafe's so the match will be rather balanced in their favour. The chapter entitled 'The end of the Match' begins with "Three minutes, Robert!" panted Elizabeth. "For goodness' sake, let's play up! Oh, how I hope that Uphill School don't shoot another goal." The game ends and the students and masters and mistresses at Whyteleafe School have to wait for their team to return from Uphill before they know who won.

There's a marvelous surprise for Elizabeth's friend — Joan Townsend, toward the end. Another thing that happens is that an altercation occurs between Elizabeth and Richard who are piano-players with 'Status' and there's also another instance of bad-feeling — this time between that Allen girl and her bosom gardening pal, John. Later on in the term a 'Pride Comes Before a Fall' event arrives for Elizabeth and it's not the sort of thing that can be endured with grace by one who is very lively and who gets cross very easily. It's sad for Elizabeth — she's a much more controlled and nicer person than when she started but she's been inflicted with one or two negative traits that need to be ironed out.

I said there was a lovely surprise for Joan near the end. Well, sometimes people are rewarded for facing adversity in all kinds of situations and this time the name coming to the fore is — Elizabeth Allen. Yes, there's a surprise or two for her as well! Could it be that she's come top of the class together with Robert Jones with whom she was once an unfriendly rival. She did come top-equal believe me but I think, in her eyes, the other surprise excels even that!

The last Meeting has been held and it's now time for the Whyteleafe crowd to finish up and go home for a well-deserved break but there's more to come because Enid Blyton produced yet another book which reports on further activities concerning the inhabitants of this esteemed co-ed school ... so hang around.
Once again there's a good supply of pictures by W. Lindsay Cable who also illustrated the St. Clare's series.

Lacrosse is a match played with sticks that have nets at the end of them. These are used to catch a ball and throw it from one player to another with the purpose of shooting a goal. I've never played it and I don't know anyone who has but I'm sure that plenty of English girls have taken part in the game. Americans (men and women) seem to thrive on it as well.

Telephones existed in 1942, but it's possible that the ones at Whyteleafe had broken down (it can happen) so that's probably why they had to wait for the team to return before they were informed of the score.

The School Meetings have a couple of judges, William and Rita, and a jury of twelve sitting nearby — in front of them I believe. In the picture where Robert reports one of Elizabeth's transgressions, only the judges are visible.

It's noticeable that Mr. Lewis the music teacher has cut off his whiskers and undergone plastic surgery because the picture of him with Elizabeth and Richard is very different from the artist's depiction in the first book.

There seems a difference overall between the Whyteleafe books as opposed to the other two school series and I thought one factor might be the lack of info concerning other classes. There are certainly higher and lower forms because they are mentioned but the general theme revolves around Elizabeth and her friends or enemies. One or two students, who were introduced when Elizabeth first started at Whyteleafe School, seem to have faded out ... Helen Marsden and Ruth James for instance. Sometimes a girl or boy might be mentioned but their relation to the story class-wise can sometimes be a little difficult to determine. A 'Ruth' takes part in a School Meeting so the assumption could be that she is the one in Elizabeth's class.

A girl in Elizabeth's dormitory in the first book was named Joan Lesley. She doesn't seem to be mentioned again so could this be 'Joan' — Elizabeth's pal, with a change of surname? As always, there's plenty happening amongst the chosen ones and that's good because they are usually the more interesting pupils. There's also a reasonable portion of the author's ideas regarding the Straightening Out of the various students who need Straightening Out. Elizabeth is fortunate that she has a better side which balances her faults and this is manifested many times. The slightly different theme causes no problems of course because the Whyteleafe books are as entertaining as the rest of the stories in that vein. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.