Pre War Annuals Info

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Info on Our Favourite Annuals

This article ©2008-2017 by select45rpm. Do not copy or reproduce any of it, as it's our unique research given to the world for free as we want these books known about. The sections we wrote for Wikipedia are in the public domain, but only if taken from the Wikipedia site, not from here. In Oct 2014 we did allow Bob Usherwood use of the article for a charity magazine "Post Lib" but we never saw the copy of the article so assume it wasn't written & the magazine appears defunct.

2020 Update: We've Sold the Book Series we were thinking to sell now. 2023 Update: Opinions Now.

This page was first online in early October 2012 after we tired of Wikipedia who got our pages as added in below in various sections. Page hits by early November put it in our mid-popular rankings amid our other info pages in Records & Hifi & it's only really findable from Google searches. As with the rest of this site, it's not written in a trained or formally mannered way, the typist got a good grade in English Language but thought English Literature so boring to never bother with it, as is our defiant way even then. It's because it's someone else's ideas or taught in such a boring way to rigid rules, same with History at school, all we got was Wars In China, zzzz. Not the interesting social stuff, the political zed-dom. If it interests, we find out all there is beyond the level of any detective, just go see the Hifi pages. If we are told to learn it if it doesn't interest or do it in an accepted unquestioned way, no chance. But from the response we get from our Hifi pages, this sort of intensely factual way of writing take little notice of accepted opinions is what you don't see elsewhere. We got many messages by readers delighted to finally read sense about things. We tried to find this sort of info years ago, on books, hifi & records but never could so we do it ourselves & become the 'authority'. We read old books & magazines about Hifi & we can read a whole page of text & not have learned anything from it as it says nothing. This one web page would fill 23 pages of a book & 29,000 words. But it's yours to read for free as we want these old books kept alive.

We started with the Pre War Annuals as we like Old Cartoons from Felix the Cat to Early Disney. We got the set of Felix The Cat and the original 1930-39 issued Mickey Mouse Annuals. Liking these & realising how much more there was out there with Cartoon content got us trying many books. We settled on preferring the Pre War era & perhaps the 1909-1930 era contains the best books, if 1926-30 things did change quite a lot in some books especially 'Playbox'. 1909 was the first "Playbox" annual, and a huge difference from the pleasant but boring Children's Annuals that were around from the 1860s, all illustrations & poems, but little of a Story or Cartoon nature.

PAGE INDEX now with section jump links ↑ TOP


Early 20th C Storybooks & 1960s Psych

Our early book buying

Buy Agressively.

These Old Annuals are Known

Happiness From Decades Ago

What's In Them?

How to Find The Best Books To Read

The Golden Era is 1909-1932

Where To Buy These Books

Buying From Book Dealers

Book Covers

What else is there for info on these books?

Where are these books?

How do you know what there is?

To help them get Known & Wanted is the aim

We are interested in these Pre War titles

Selling Prices?

Old, but Timeless

Language used

Etiquette by Emily Post

Values of English Native people...

The Enid Blyton Effect

Black People are often included in stories

Talking Teapots. Similarities to Film Cartoons

Early Theatrical Film Cartoons

Repeated Content.

More Formal Books

Paper Quality

The Artwork in these books

Related Titles

Books Were Well Loved When New

Blank Spines & Basic Dust Jackets

What Is There To Buy?

Starting Out Buying These?

Rupert Bear

The Style of the Annuals

Fairy Stories?

Colour Plates

Book Terms

Book Grading

Playbox Annual 1909-1957

Once Upon A Time Annual 1920-1921

The Wonderland & Playtime Annual Series 1920-1934(?)

The Joy Book Children's Annual Series 1921-1934 Or 1935

The Puck Annual 1921-1939

The Looking Glass Annual 1924-1926

Teddy Tail 1915-1960s

Rupert Bear 1919-Today

Japhet & Happy Annual Series 1920-1952(?)

Bobby Bear Annual 1920-1950s

Oojah Annual 1921- 1950s

Billy & Bunny Book 1922-1950

Pip, Squeak & Wilfred Series 1923-1939

Felix The Cat Annual 1924-1929, 1962

Bonzo's Book, Bonzo's Annual 1925-1952

Mickey Mouse Annual 1930-1939.

Flip The Frog Annual 1931

Tim, Toots & Teeny Annual 1931-1938

Eb' & Flo' Annual 1939

Fred Basset Annual 1963-2012

The Epilogue


In 2008-10 we wrote several cartoon annual pages for Wikipedia before tiring of their politics & dictators, which we put as our last versions on here, ie Japhet & Happy, Oojah, Pip Squeak & Wilfred, Bobby Bear & Teddy Tail as well as writing about Fred Basset properly. Was nice to give the world something in those early hard times & seeing our words often quoted as accepted fact on ebay listings is nice. We type all these pages as some people like to help the world out & progress things they like that need more appreciating with better info. As with any site you contribute to, they don't respect good knowledge & info, so we put all our varied writings on our website now.

Early 20th C Storybooks & 1960s Psych
There's the link, a lot of 60s Psychedelia & the 1967 Cups Of Tea Whimsy Pop was based on the best of these books & be sure we've dug deep into the music as it pleases. Take a £££ Rarity Mike Stuart Span "Children Of Tomorrow" amid it's psych perfection, the lyrics are like an opium dream based early 1920s child's storybook. Listen to me as I sit in this dream. Where can the Land of our Fairytales be... Wondering where did the Unicorns fly. Yes, all very trippy but you don't need chemicals to enjoy the joy of psych or these books. This sort of music is great for driving too. We've just played that record 8 times as it's so great & what keeps you feeling alive. We just heard our copy came from Jamaica, probably sent over by mistake with Rocksteady-Reggae 45s & you can sort of imagine Kingston rocking out to that tune, yeah! Music certainly is the key & this is a record site after all, the select45rpm name covers records & hifi well. We used to like coins too but coins are pretty boring. Records you can admire the looks, appreciate the rarity & hear the music by playing the thing. The book you can enjoy the whiff of the hallucinogenic mould that grows on the old paper from unheated homes of old, enjoy the pictures & take a trip into storybook land & be back home for your tea before mummy calls. But coins... you look at them all pretty similar with just a number change. You can't spend them, variants a plenty visible with a magnifying glass that crazies think are worth buying even if in poor grade. Unless they are silver or gold they have little intrinsic value. The thing with collecting is the chase is often far more fun than the owning which is why you keep the best things & flog the rest to go buy more potential bests, but keep a grip. Younger folks of today still collect, even if it seems 'rubbish' compared to earlier generations, trainers, old computer games & toys make big bucks. But in the 1960s the collectables of today were of little value only kept by the wise ones seeing the quality as the 'American Pickers' TV show reveals. Very early collectors favoured flints & fossils as well as the huge early Caruso 78s, all of which have little value today. Collecting varies a lot over the years but the best things such as Records, Hifi & these Books needs someone to help keep them alive as they can get forgotten. Our Hifi pages we know have influenced the Hifi scene by revealing what was ignored before, but don't call us Experts...

Our early book buying
We've found our best buys from ebay, raw from the loft or back-of-wardrobe deceased estate finds still with 80 year old biscuit crumbs inside is how you want them. The problem with these books is that: they stayed stored away & not many later generations got to enjoy them, very rarely do you find a low grade book with the first owner having given it 20-30 years later to their offspring. No, sadly lost in boxes & hidden away was their destiny. We saw loads of books & records in our first 20 years on the planet in our current incarnation, and seeing any of these books never happened. All we saw as a pre-teen were Rupert & Blue Peter annuals & Enid Blyton 1940s prints sans the rare dust jackets. Not even the TV Cartoon books like The Flintstones, Tom & Jerry and Top Cat were around as we've had picked them out. These books were long stored away, denying the generations of the 1950s to 1990s the delight of reading them. The future for these books may be tricky as if there is no remembering reading that old book Granny gave you when a kid yourself, the Nostalgia isn't there. Unless you find one or more books & are whimsical enough to like them & want to buy more only people rediscovering them when they are unwanted & of very low value will revive them. Even now, an average used but readable annual of many of those below is a 99p-£2 buy on ebay as the £4-7 post puts buyers off. Quality is always appreciated is the upside to the neglect these books are getting.

Buy Agressively.

When we were buying our books, we just got all we found that looked interesting. This is the only way to discover: buy as many as interest & then keep or sell, learning as you go on. Some turned out to be hidden treasures as does reward anyone who buys like we do, look at our Hifi & Records pages for broad tastes & interests. Not many self proclaimed "experts" deal like we do & write pages on subjects that aren't well documented. The fact we are good at selling means it's not a money waster either, so to buy anything at a price that is reasonable or a bargain is worthwhile. Sadly this sort of buying better goods at a useful price is harder to do, we're surprised how few of these old books in decent grade are around, decent meaning nice, but not high grade even. Still, our pages help the reader pick out the interesting stuff. All this buy-anything idea was just as well as it appears these don't turn up much now or are now for sale by Book Shops offered for unrealistic prices. Must just have been the right time as people were selling off in the early hard times. We found some high grade books as well as complete books with all the plates. Many heavier used books are missing some or all & for the buyer today, there is nowhere to find the info we are going to put here. We're not covering the History of the book series, info can be found online from our Wikipedia efforts, or not at all as the facts have been forgotten. We are giving info on the books themselves, not listing every artist or writer or contents, but more a checklist of what there should be & any interesting items.

These Old Annuals are Known

There are long-time collectors of these books, as high prices on high grade ones proves. But since buying our lot in the early tough times, we must have been there at the right time for them to buy, as daily ebay looking rarely finds any, let alone nice grade ones. Karma knows one who will appreciate them wants them & that this same person will write a web page or 20 about them & keep them alive for the future. Strange how collectors know of these books but don't want to share the info. Typical of most collectors & if no-one knows your cherished items when you finally sell up they'll not make much. To share the info is our opinion & our info pages on our Record Selling site get more hits than the Records. Our Record & Hifi Info pages we know have had an effect in a positive way and we give our time & info to help further things. If you are made aware of the nice but forgotten things, you'll want them too. You can bet the History Channel TV shows have woken interest in the items they feature.

Happiness From Decades Ago
Most Annuals were given as Christmas or Birthday gifts as the inscriptions reveal. Take a 1916 Playbox annual, in Xmas 1915 amid the First World War, 97 years ago, how many of these books sat under Xmas Trees awaiting happy new owners. They will have ripped open the wrapping paper & seen Tiger Tim & The Hippo Boys In Camp staring out at them and a happy face was guaranteed. These books will still hold the happiness that they brought from all those years ago & the book with its 208 pages would have kept the reader happy for several months. Feng Shui likes items that hold Happiness, surely vintage books like these hold the same...

What's In Them?
The Annuals are usually based around main characters as were in the Newspaper or Comic, so the General ones do have names, ie Playbox has Tiger Tim. Stories clearly the main content, some a nice read some a bit strange which is nice & some too quick & unsatisfying. Poems were popular as heavily featured in the smaller size Childrens books from the 1870s. The early books relate Folk Tales that are more readable than you'd expect. Jokes & Riddles for the younger readers are usually quite simple, not daring to be too obscure like an imaginary story with a boy called Gerald has a nickname 'Elephants' as he likes Jazz. Most contents are cute if expectedly tame, others can be oddly disrespectful and a bit ahead of their time, like several strange ones on the 1926 Pip & Squeak. Reading a book 80-90 years old, life in some ways isn't that different, we could all still get by living like that if missing today's gadgets & noise.

How to Find The Best Books To Read
The most popular annuals were cherished by their young owners & carried them around the whole year until getting the next one. They dropped them on the floor, bumping corners, splitting seams; the page bases are crumpled looking from many reads & kids always turn pages right at the base of the spine not at the outer edge or corner. These books that were well loved will contain the best content. Playbox and Pip & Squeak are often found in very low 'reading copy' grade. Some books are more often found in better grade explaining the readers got bored with them or lost interest. The illustrations in the books may appeal more to buyers, but for those who like an escapist read of a book your Great Grandparents read, then content does vary. As with any book, find yourself near the end without realising, it was a good one. Find 30 pages in it's unrewarding then it's a dull one & flick through the rest of the book & see it's like that for the rest of the 200 pages.

The Golden Era is 1909-1932
Assuming you prefer these classier annuals compared to the more throwaway type of annual that appeared from the 1950s, the Golden Era really does start with the 1909 Playbox Annual which is like no other annual before it. As tastes change & one annual did a survey on what the readers liked & by 1926 the imaginative Fairy story type was seen as very old fashioned & this brought in the more adventure type real-life stories that took over by the early 1930s. Imagination & the types of story noted in Psychedelic era late 1960s music covers the pre 1926 era & probably why we like them as we know the music scene as our website suggests. The same thing happened in Film Cartoons, the pre 1934 Hays code cartoons were the craziest cartoons ever & few people know of them, but once imagination is being told to limit itself, it gets ordinary & less interesting. Look at TV in 1990 compared to today as another example. There are annuals after 1932 that still have the pre 1926 type content, but others had faded away or changed formats & names. Only really the Pip & Squeak Annual & Wilfred's Annual kept the earlier values alive to decreasing audiences & WW2 ended them. The bigger selling Annuals by 1932-34 were Teddy Tail & Bobby Bear using ideals making the books more for younger readers, as time moved on in the 1930s the subjects were given their own annuals & perhaps some readers thought the books we like now were too childish. As with anything good that goes unappreciated only collectors digging out these unwanted books revive them. As with Post War annuals, Teddy Tail & Bobby Bear still continued, Rupert remarkably still keeps going with his fantasy type stories but has become a brand since the TV series & song in the early 1970s. Most Annuals post 1950 are targeted exactly at audiences, no mixture of styles & subjects or ages. Most we've found are unrewarding & trashy as well as the Cartoon annuals just reprinting content from other annuals to make one new one, the mid 1970s Pixie & Dixie series of 4 books is 3 books of reprints from 1960s HB annuals & the 4th is a lousy new version. Selling prices shows the interest in books, so much post 1950s is 99p on ebay though you can buy rough copies of the early books this cheap though at least they do sell showing people want them unlike later ones.

Where To Buy These Books

Ebay sellers had provided the majority of the books we kept, the chance to see the book itself in a photo & get a bargain too is how it was. The chance of finding nice items from relations of the owners clearing out houses is here too. Unless you live in areas that still have junk shops or those antiques centres, your choices are much more limited than 15-20 years ago. High streets still had junk shops with interesting reasonably priced stuff & we loved raking through these shops, spending many hours digging for records & more. We always dug deeper than anyone else so we found the better stuff. Car boot sales even when we used them now quite a long while ago were generally not great unless you got there very early as a lot of sales are made for the best items before tables are laid out & daylight arrives. From buying & selling books, Summer is Not Book Time as really only the colder months get buyers for these vintage annuals & similar books. In our selling, we've found the majority of Buyers were Women, with the guys acting a little embarrassed on buying. Why? We liked these based on the Cartoon aspect & have found the Best of The Era & we've written it up. Not all the Good Things are For The Birds... But as with anything, we've gone onto Hifi now & still keep some of these books, with more on the Sales page going unsold surprisingly. Having got all these in the dark 2009-2010 years when people cleared out attics in search of anything to flog, it was a great time getting these, but now on ebay early 2015, it's just the same worn overpriced ones going unsold, it's like the books scene died by Spring 2014 as none were selling. It'll come back, they say, but will it?

Buying From Book Dealers
Unless you are near to a bookshop or the famous street of bookshops in Wales, online buying is the only option. Buying from book dealers who don't give photos is sadly a risky deal. Not to say all are bad, but some dealers are just dishonest in that mean old cynical way that you'd think was of long ago. Ask for proper photos. Ask if the plates are there, if they don't want to answer or suddenly withdraw the book from stock to stop you buying, avoid them. There are enough better dealers around, though it depends on what they have. You'll find book dealers with better grade stock, but the prices will be in excess of the amateur sellers which have a good risk of buying a dud as well as buying a rare book for small money. As with anything, to buy a known good item at a higher price, rather than buy a disappointing bargain, is more rewarding, though in today's times the bargain is always preferred. Do you want a shelf of tatty books or nice ones is the answer. On ebay in late 2012, one big seller belatedly puts their stock on ebay & is doing well on the £10-30 books, if more expensive ones are too highly priced for ebay buyers as they are more specialist, not that anyone else has their quality of titles. Very interesting reading their ended items, as with a shop they never "end" unless sold or sold elsewhere & ended. Stock of this quality they may have taken a decade to amass or maybe they were buying heavily when we got our annuals in the years people were heavily clearing out. Once sold, you'll wait years to find them again. People love books & records & hifi too. Real things you can touch & admire. No e-reader, i-pod or digital anything can even get near to the appeal of good vintage items & the'll still be here long after your Hard drives have failed losing all your collection & you never backed them up.

Book Covers

These books are now clearly old, the titles we cover are 70-100+ years old. The pages will stay as they are, but beware fragile cloth spines. We sold some books a while ago to a guy who has a bookshop, not too pro with it as he never put the books in PVC covers so his Bobby Bear annuals got spine wrecked from people pulling them from the shelf in the usual way. Buy books from one big seller & you always get it in a PVC cover with a security sticker stuck in the back on the PVC. So if you buy these books, they will need PVC covers too. They're not ideal but easier than the plastic film on a roll you cut to size, the film makes a better cover but is very hard to work with. The ones kpc-ltd.com makes are the best, sold in sizes of 2mm increments & to get smaller amounts one ebay seller has a good stock, buy in tens, or if you are making a big order, they'll supply the exact amounts of the most usual ones. An old butter knife will help get the books neatly into the covers. To buy the covers for hardbacks, measure the book height then add 2mm for the height of the book. These covers aren't too thick & heavy, some others are & don't age so well.

What else is there for info on these books?

Nothing at all beyond the Hamer price guide & Supplement & these are now 10 years old & there are expected errors, ie no 1940 Pip & Squeak actually exists & the prices reflect a pre-internet age to a buyer who is likely not buying anymore as time moves on, but you do get the benefit of a busy dealer's knowledge. It's the only printed reference for Annuals. Since then, as with all collectables, the scope of the internet has widened interests but also brought out lots more copies of items once considered rare. Before the internet you were very limited in to what you could find without miles of travel & lists from sellers. As record dealers who've done the shop, list & internet over the years, the internet is the better by far, though in days of printed lists, yours was their only focus, buyers on the internet are more come & go depending on what you have, but more of them balances it. Some dealers must know a lot about books, but don't want to further their own subjects it seems. Some comic annual sites list some prewar books but that's not their main interest & all you see are covers & not all of them. If you Google, eg."Puck Annual 1930" our page here gets found, helping to get people reading & buying them cheap on ebay & enjoying them.

Where are these books?
As with any old collectable, there are naturally shops & sellers with them, as collectors who were lucky enough to find them decades ago. These books we detail are 70-100+ years old. The idea we are getting is only by grandparents meeting their maker are the higher grade books coming out. An 8 year old in 1926 given a book & kept it all their life, sadly never sharing it with offspring to get them to like them. Older folk hoard items & never move house in all their adult life, even inheriting their parent's house where the books were boxed up & no-one ever cleared them out until now. On TV shows you hear of wonderful items that relations never heard of until the final house clearing. There will have been many years these books were seen as out of date worthless junk, as with any item, it has to be unwanted & then new generations discover it for their own values of it. 10-50 years in the wilderness and those just hoarding these items & not passing them on are revealing the goodies that appear today. The Hifi we sell has suffered it's 30-40 years of unwantedness, now interest is awakening & we hope we are helping. Records started to get popular in the mid 1980s & the peak years as with most items were around 2000, but markets are narrower but still healthy on the best items.

How do you know what there is?

How do you know how many colour plates there is? Dealers won't tell you, we thought the 1909 Playbox had 5 plates due to one mean seller until finding a high grade one with six for a fraction of the price. So we're going to do our bit to waken up interest further. We see our Wikipedia sections quoted as fact in many ebay listings. Our latest efforts were in getting Tim Toots & Teeny annuals known as we have rare postcards detailing their newspaper origins. And the (probable) whole set of books too. We know there aren't as many of these prewar annuals out there now, only dealers on Abebooks have them, sadly at too-high prices & untrustworthy condition descriptions in the main make buying a gamble. So now we have our books, we're happy to have a nice tidy one, doesn't have to be an excellent grade cover as that is ultra rare grade & you'll rarely find any that nice, though you can. We've been reading more Hifi books recently, but the Annuals are keepers still.

To help them get Known & Wanted is the aim

They are lovely items & deserve to be as cherished by you as they were by their original owner who "learnt the poems by heart" and bumped the corners dropping their heavy book on the floor. Many later ones will have seen the inside of an Air Raid shelter, which is why 1938-40 annuals are hard to find nice when 1935-37 are found better grade. It takes a site page like this to alert people to gems that they are missing out on. Plenty of Annuals & other books in the category don't have the appeal to us as these titles. You may prefer a different era to us, we are writing this to get our preferred era books better known & keep an interest in them, or totaly revive them as our other info pages have done. We like that.

We are interested in these Pre War titles
Billy & Bunny Book, Bonzo's Book, Eb & Flo Annual, Felix the Cat Annual, Japhet & Happy group, The Joy Book Annual, The Looking Glass Annual, Mickey Mouse Annual, Once Upon A Time Annual, Pip Squeak & Wilfred group, Playbox Annual, Puck Annual, Tim Toots & Teeny Annual and the Wonderland-Playtime Annual group. We did have Bobby Bear and Teddy Tail annuals but decided not to keep them as the content wasn't as interesting, if visually attractive, well people who collect things, buy, try & sell on but keep those they like the best.

Selling Prices?
As with any item, where you go affects the price. These books are not fast sellers unless in extremely high grade. High grade is very rare & can multiply a price on a popular series. The most expensive book in guides from 10+ years ago are the first few Mickey Mouse & the Flip The Frog. These lofty prices may have been pre-internet valuations, but there are clearly more around now online. Flip The Frog we've bought & sold a few nice ones with good spines & the prices are no more than £150 & at that price even a very high grade one sits a long time. Not many people beyond Cartoon Film fans know anything about Flip the Frog so why would they want it? Incomplete covers with tears, missing spine covers & inside scribbles and colouring keep these around £30 or less. Felix The Cat is popular & better ones do sell for about £60. The first 2 Playbox are much rarer & in nice grade can go £60. Some books rarity does not refect in their price as demand sadly isn't so high. The Looking Glass Annuals which are particularly rare are only about £40 each as rare means not much known about too. Billy & Bunny are generally very hard to find & nice ones go for £30+ if the buyers are not many. Wilfred's Annual is scarcer than the Pip & Squeak & about £30 each for nice ones. The pre 1947 Bonzos are rare & prices seem to be about £60 for nice ones. Eb' & Flo' is a very rare book & one we sold for £70 in good condition if with only a piece of the spine. The other books you can find nice ones for £15-25.

If you see a book dealer who has to pay shop rent & rates & staff, your £20 book may be £40 from them. If the copy is a nice one, buy it. You can't expect bargains all the time & often the dealers will have the best items, assuming they are honest in describing. The odds of finding a very high grade rare 1909 Playbox on ebay for £10 may seem unlikely, but it happens. "Nice Ones" meaning a book that has been used not abused & still looks smart, mild bumping & wear, ie a 7/10. Seeing very high grade books is pretty rare & they are a little surprising to see so crisp. Books aimed at Adults like Family Friend from the 1880s we had in remarkable Mint condition, but the content was dull, no-one would read it surely so a slow £10 sale. Coloured-in pages & dedications may not affect the price if neat, but missing plates or missing pages by being incomplete are low value though useful for spare parts. On ebay or Abebooks, many of the books can be found currently in average grades as most are, by the term "average", meaning pretty well used, not too ugly but certainly not pretty & £5-10 is the price, meaning they are very accessible to those wanting to try. Collectors will seek out the high grade ones & pay a premium. With these books, demand may not be very high at the moment, but supply of nice copies compared to a few years ago when we were buying is now very occasional. We hope this page helps awaken interest. Buying these annuals on ebay is often from amateur sellers who found Granny's attic collection or a box long stored away & may be selling nice items or junk & from their descriptions you are often gambling. If you buy these books as we have, buying more than one copy & transplanting plates etc to make a complete one will be needed. In the autumn-winter these books sell best & appear to be more listed at this time.

Old, but Timeless

These books we cover here are 70 to 100+ years old. Books your Grandparents or Great Grandparents read & loved, but then stored away & never showed their offspring. The few books that did get recycled are the very low grade ones. The best ones, which we cover here are the "classic" type stories with a modern familiar feel, not the dry haughty stories books like Billy Bunter & the more upper class titles have that are too much of the "Jolly Hockeysticks" type that doesn't read well unless you were at these types of School. No, these annuals have naughty children, fantasy, disobedience, caring, adventure & surrealism. Some shorter stories are nicely written though are plainly just naughty kid learning the hard way to behave, conform & do as they are told, nothing new. Rebellion leads to progress & learning as equally as it does woe. These books are still accessible & pleasant to read. You buy a few, you'll buy a set too, they are appealing items that deserve to live on. The annual scene started to take off fully after the First World War, with several new annuals starting with 1920-22 editions. The ones before are certainly worth reading, though WW1 did make it a bit hard for eg the 1916 Playbox which isn't as rich in content as the ones pre WW1.

Language used

is naturally of the era, words like "Presently" are often used if not at all today, it means 'soon', 'after some time' or 'shortly'. "Directly" is another one, meaning' as soon as', or 'the moment that'. "Rather" turns up rather often too as a "Yes Please" type phrase, in the sense of "Some Lemonade, Timmy?" asks Mother. "Rather" says Timmy delightedly. How polite & kind people were in Story Book Land. Most language is still very of today which keeps these books fresh. "Dear Me" is a very nice old fashioned way of expressing regret unlike today's overused spiky words. Also 'Dear' as in 'those dear puppies' is used a lot, you still find people today addressing letters as 'Dear...'. 'Quite' is used too, 'quite amid the branches'. Also 'Lovely' is used on quite ordinary things, like a 'lovely seesaw ride' but these were days when these things were new unlike our almost contempt for the simpler things in life as i-pay is the order of the day now. Not soulful though is it? All show a world at a slower pace than today. You see "Hi" not being used as the later American 'Hello' & now used by office workers who are not into thinking, so won't be interested in our page, but it means 'Oy' if less common if not as posh as 'I Say.' as was used in the Billy Bunter wheezes. Story Book land is a mellow place to escape to. It features in late 1960s Psychedelia music as well as the Whimisical Cups of Tea type pop around in 1967. This is why we can relate to these books & more than a few 1920s stories will have been influenced by Opium which makes for a jolly read. Pity it never exisited, life was hard then as is now in different ways even though we are more sophisticated, life is less happy & less friendly, with brief respites of overspending before reality hits. If you read a few of these books, you can find yourself using words of old in your speech, just as with watching Aussie soaps or Reality shows. The old polite way of speaking was still around in the 1970s if you watch old Kids TV shows, but it all changed by the 1990s.

"Etiquette" by Emily Post

We digress... For those who find the polite mannered behaviour of stories of folk in these prewar annuals interesting, to read the 1922 book by Emily Post is certainly worthwhile. We got the 1969 reprint for £15. Some of the book is amusing for how dryly conformist people had to behave, almost like robots devoid of emotion. The comments about being of good breeding & being well bred are tiresome as many will be keeping their real past quiet. The control of Women until 35 or married is claustrophobic & the disapproving sour old hag Mrs Grundy would delight in putting down those she saw as contemptible. But much is a fascinating insight into a 'secret' world most readers will not be aware of beyond seeing old films where this 'proper' behaviour was always portrayed. Bowing to people, hat removal & having footmen. You could grow up in a sheltered middle-class life and think this was how people really acted, unaware of all the shysters & tricksters that are actually in every walk of life. The snobbery in this book can be quite remarkable, but again others today view chavs & the new immigrants equally as harshly, even if they grew up with earlier generations of working class folk & the earlier immigrants who integrated with us. The derogatory term of today, 'chav' we see as being applicable to anyone you can criticise for their lack of quality, education and communication skills compared to yourself, but they will always be younger than you. Because you are of a different generation with different values from better Politicians, you don't understand the life they have today is far more bleak than your teen years. Those born after 1980 spent their late teen years in a world very different to your teen world that had warmth & soul to it despite there being problems as always. As Danny on Counting Cars said to a guy who was born in 1986, "You missed all the good years, man." He was right. Usually the name-callers have a distorted view of themselves as do the robots in the Etiquette book. Also today anyone with tattoos is viewed as a lesser being by some, yet many Victorian women of social standing were found heavily tattooed when they graduated to their long wooden box. You may indeed detest random tattoo graffiti especially on fashion-victim women today & boy-men in pop groups or those making out they are 'hard men' to impress their ilk. TV's Pawn Stars Olivia has plenty as does American Pickers Danielle & they are interesting but eccentric types that can carry it well, if Danielle has overdone it now & the guys in Pawn Stars look messy. But some Hollywood bimbo with some trite saying inked on her side just looks vile as do her implants. If you don't like these things, manners would state your opinions should be kept private beyond a general comment. There will be modern Etiquette books based on texting manners & the like but not written with the slightly naive delight Emily Post puts into her book. To hear her views on the vainglorious fools of today would likely cause mayhem. A book you'll love & hate equally, but be glad you read it.

Values of English Native people...

...in these stories are progressive too, girls thankfully aren't content to be sit at home dolly players & compete with the boys as you'd imagine they always wanted to. This is not many years after Women got the Vote & to read these books gives a good ideas of the more liberal values of the day in middle class England. Liberal values aren't always popular or PC today, try putting wise comments on tabloid news sites moderated news stories and see what they censor afraid of the intelligent truth, also the ones that have voting arrows can be good research to find people's views on other's opinions. The stories in the Annuals do have a middle class air to them as the writers & main audience would have been similar, stories about Street Urchins do occasionally appear in that way they do a good deed to others & are handsomely rewarded, idealistic but nice values the world has forgotten. The amount of "hidden treasure" to save the family type stories appear often, but we are looking at several titles issued in one year, unlikely a child would have received more than one. Odds are the receipient of one of these books loved the first few but grew out of them, as ones with the same names vary from 'well loved' to unread as some well-meaning Relation bought them that annual again unaware of changing tastes. A lot of the stories reflect life of the era, Parents & Fathers were away a lot, fighting Wars or leaving Kids in Boarding Schools or with distant relatives. The trust of strangers & ideal manorhouse life may only have existed in storybooks or to the very fortunate & this world of storybook is a very appealing one. Who needs modern life. Escape. Misbehaving children stories occur often, though they find the error of their ways, it's not done in a predictable preachy way. Even stories that may not look too appealing, just start reading & they rarely disappoint. Even a long 20 page story will have enough to keep you interested once you start reading, despite it looking to be a big investment. As times changed after the WW1 truth was revealed, the fantasy aspect faded. The 1926 Pip & Squeak Annual has some very strange stories that will have caused an uproar. Sadly this made their 1927 annual a dull effort with the PSW strips the best bits amid standard fare more suited to lesser series. These books were very popular at the time, the first 1923 Pip & Squeak annual we know 100,000 copies were bought in the first few weeks of sale as we have the early newspaper Saturday 2 to 4 page pullouts bound in a book. One fascinating book, The Bairns Annual 1915, we could never find the first 1914 one & the 1915 was only half a year as it closed, this had stories relating to the First World War & how children cared for Belgian Prisoners or similar. A fairly reserved sort of Motherly book editor printed letters & interesting features of times long forgot. But you could see it was far from the Playbox type content & it didn't survive.

The Enid Blyton Effect

As a youngster, the typist liked the Faraway Tree & especially the Wishing Chair one and having read these books assumed the now-considered naive & stereotyped ideas were normal & commonplace which they still were really, but to one trendy school teacher's disgust the young typist fairly putting Craft for Boys & Sewing for Girls, from what he saw occuring each week, on an assignment was met with the word "Sexist" which to a youngster had no meaning, but they remembered it. Foolish Teacher. Observing school life at the time showed these were typical ideas, no Girls were yet into going beyond the defined boundaries. The classic joke that Girls didn't like doing handstands as boys could see their knickers, so one girl took hers off was how life was: naive, trusting, unaware & still with 1930s ideals in many ways & no-one pre-teen of a lower-middle class existence had any idea of adult views as those adults kept it private. Life today sadly is much more sinister in outlook with too much knowledge & information available, the underclass & their low values are the norm, just look at the Media. Even young Teenage girls in the early 1980s strove to be seen as "posh" and with class, but now sadly it's almost the opposite. Teens today are so screwed up by the media & porn it is very sad to see, go look on Yahoo answers for the world you really live in. As an idea, the typist aged 12 wanted to swear at someone & the worst word thought of was "sod". Now every 8 year old will know the full range of spiky words. The typist's sibling was similarly interested in refinding these Blyton books, but instead bought the nasty modern rewritten ones where Dame Slap is now Dame Snap & every sign of non-PC thought is removed. Is life any better for it? But on getting some of these Blyton books again, a casual read got our remarks of 'awful' & 'rubbish' wheras the stories in Playbox & similar were liked as they were more intelligently written. The Blytons are simplistic, ideas are very narrow, language very limited, but as a young reader it's all that was wanted & the popularity of the books proves this. Blyton said she only cared of opinions of those under 12, how right she was. The "sexist" ideals of the books were how life was at the time, 100 years ago women couldn't vote & were treated as second class citizens & pets even, with no-one to tell them they deserved more, but read further elsewhere. The view to one who knows the pre & post 1990 PC years is that the pre PC years are the more interesting, but bear in mind the 1934 Hays code in Cartoons & Films was to censor bawdy behaviour, look how inventive Betty Boop was before this, those cartoons are the best series made. The truth is PC doesn't have a defined turning point, it's grown gradually as people became more aware and that sickly self-apologetic type of talk of today, No Offense but I don't drink Tea making out it's rude, you hear from youths very often. No Offense but you are contemptible is more our style, it means the same as any spiky word & shows you are not lowering yourself... offending idiots is good to do and our pleasure too, but no rude words on this site as there's no need for it. In 1930 ideas that were seen as acceptable were seen as hideous by 1955 & similarly 1955 ideas equally out of date by 1990. But then the Retro effect comes in & people want to revisit the past & select the best things of it. Life moves on, people need to be told how to behave & think these days & many are happy to not have to take the responsibility to think or decide, let the sheep be conned and fooled is the corporate way. Another thing is past 30 you should realise This World Isn't Your World Anymore, so don't care too much, only read the News Headlines to avoid the misery. For others, they need to make sense of it themselves as it's their world however much we may detest the shallowness & crudeness of it, to remember life was always rubbish but The News didn't tell you as much as we hear today. The Internet is the best thing today but there are evils, but where aren't there? Meanwhile back in Jolly Story Book Land... in the pre-war annuals you can see a much different life. You'll generally prefer it for the soulfulness it has, but not want to be there without your gadgets...

We later had a read of The Wishing Chair as it was a favourite when young. The first chapter was actually enjoyable, in comparison to the stories in the Annuals we like. But by the second chapter the writing became predictable & we gave up after scanning a few more chapters. Some of the stories were familiar from years before but the style of writing lacked the sparkle of the first chapter. The Wishing Chair Again got a try too & it was even less well written so was abandoned. Despite having both of these, only the first one seemed familiar, us as pre 10 years old didn't like the second volume much as it wasn't familiar. Then the Faraway Tree was fondly remembered, but the writing was so simplistic it got put away in a sort of shock that such lightweight nonsense was what this book was, stupidly named characters & text bordering on the moronic. But we like the stories in Pip & Squeak, Playbox & a few others as they are still of interest to an adult. Again Enid Blyton was noted as saying she only cared of the criticisms of those under 12 that would read these books, but for them being in print for decades until the PC versions, what do today's readers think? Seeing today's Rastamouse on TV & liking it initially, it's aimed at under 10s, the basic sort of formula is there, but without the soppy language of Enid Blyton. The appeal of the 1980s Reggae ideals appealed too. The IMDB review of Rastamouse is written by us. The repeated lessons learnt & morals type of story made the later Rastamouse boring, perhaps the best ones were the first half of series one which we watched several times, the later ones were thought dull on the second watch & not bothered with Series 2 at all as the stories were written much quicker to fill the contract. Others we have a look at & find nothing there, Peppa Pig & the like are cute but disposable as just too young, one Bing & Bong's Tiny Planets has a trippy early 70s feel to it if the stories were a bit lacking. Maybe Enid Blyton was meant to be disposable too, but still lives on after 70 years to new readers.

Black People are often included in stories

This is progressive for the 1909-35 era & whereas the stories are never demeaning or offensive, they do use outdated stereotypes & use words that were innocent in the day, but they aren't today. Seeing the N-word used innocently in print from 80-100 years ago meaning a certain person is a little shocking, but as with Golliwogs it was just innocent language & toys of the day before later views tagged it in a different way. The typist had a Golliwog as a young child & liked it's smart stripey clothing, big friendly smile & furry hair. It was just a toy character like a Teddy Bear, no relation of a Teddy to Grizzly Adams friend or any understanding that a Golliwog was based on the early 20th century Minstrel humans who used to dress that way. It was also rather naive as new people & news stories influenced Stories & Film Cartoons where the life of Cannibals was totally misunderstood, thinking humans were dinner not ritual & treated them as comic characters. A book from 1916 with this content would have been considered acceptable for over 50 more years, but the last 50 years have changed it's meaning but the books are still here. Read other Black History websites to put this in it's correct context. Some caution may be needed if giving the books to younger people so certain words are not used unaware of their value. We are not going to point out which ones have this content, as the books themselves are a delight to read, look at and enjoy & should not be picked on for how the world changed and how innocent things gained different meaning decades later.

Talking Teapots. Similarities to Film Cartoons

In the world of Film Cartoons that we know well too, talking teapots & any manner of household items and the Man in The Moon were commonplace until about 1936 when the Tex Avery more realistic sort of Cartoon began, if still with talking Rabbits, Little Black Ducks & Bears, these were very anthromorphised and were with human behaviour characteristics. In the Annuals, especially the Pip & Squeak Annual & the Wilfred's Annual these charming ideals were perhaps the most used with quality illustrations to match. Other annuals didn't have this creativity & were more typical. You could have talking letters & arguments between brackets & semi colon are in one, pies on a plate could talk & this relates to talking animated food in Muppet Show type kids shows of much later & even one episode of Scrubs had a talking Bun. It's all surreal, if not silly & part of the charm of these books & cartoons.

Early Theatrical Film Cartoons

A cartoon or two were shown with the main feature & Saturdays in USA were all-cartoon sessions for the Kids in pre TV era. In the UK it's lesser known to us how Cartoons were seen pre TV, likely a double bill before the main film. But come TV in the early 1950s the quality started to dipped and by 1954 TV needs had cut costs & the Golden Era was over. The WB & MGM ones continued until 1967-68 but the later ones were a pale imitation of previous if still mostly watchable in perspective of what they are, Woody Woodpecker survived in Theatres until 1972 with the same sort of style as post 1954. Cartoons started with people mostly like Mutt & Jeff the first characters in 1913 with over 1000 known cartoons pre 1919, if most will be lost by now. These very early cartoons were Silent until 1928-29 & can be hard to watch for entertainment. Felix The Cat by 1923 was one of the first popular animal characters with human qualities if in the silent era but made nearly 180 cartoons. Columbia cartoons had human Scrappy & revived Krazy Kat, who was originally around before Felix from 1925, with Winkler Studios if not as popular. Disney started out with the Alice cartoons, a real human girl in a cartoon world, then Oswald the Rabbit & then Mickey & co. The Disney Silly Symphony series featured animals but not usually talking ones until the Three Little Pigs in 1933. Max Fleisher had Koko The Clown who was a human character in a surreal world, then Betty Boop took over in the Sound era. The classy MGM series only really had Barney Bear as a main character until Tom & Jerry, though the earlier ones like 1936 "Bottles" are true classics. Terrytoons were generally more realistic if featuring tons of mice in the early ones, later they had Heckle & Jeckle, two ravens & Mighty Mouse. Ub Iwerks has Flip The Frog & he had a rare annual in 1931 noted below. UPA took over from Columbia & are best known for Mr Magoo & those artsy type cartoons, not our favourites. Van Beuren were the most likely to have Talking Teapots & introduced a human pair called Tom & Jerry, you'd have thought MGM would have heard of them. Walter Lantz started with Oswald Rabbit which was his copyright that Disney created & the Lantz Oswalds are a great series. Then Andy Panda & Woody Woodpecker, both humanised animals. Warner Bros started with Bosko, a little black boy character, then Buddy a little white boy character a little older. Then Porky Pig started in 1935, Daffy Duck in 1937, Elmer Fudd was based on Egghead from 1937, Bugs Bunny from 1938 in design if not named until 1940 & others like Tweety, Sylvester, Pepe Le Pew were all animal characters, the human ones apart from Elmer didn't seem to work as the UPA series shows. So it appears we know cartoons as well. From doing some work for one guy we got the full sets of all the major Cartoon studios with just the odd 'lost' cartoon, many of Felix sadly are lost. Old Cartoons pre 1953 are a great watch, after that the standards fell though aware of this we watched every Woody Woodpecker up to 1970. The Simpsons Itchy & Scratchy were based on the comedy-violence of Tom & Jerry & more the Herman & Katnip Famous-Paramount ones of which you can get the majority made, not that we've watched them yet. Our database made up over these years & including the Hanna Barbera TV cartoon series which we used to like as a kid but are not so watchable now, actually shows over 12,000 cartoons from 1898 until the end of the Cinema cartoon era. Many of these are Silents & lost now. Felix the Cat only lost out to Mickey Mouse as Mickey had sound & Felix's makers didn't wise up in time & lost out. So 3300 cartoons are noted in the Cartoon era, from imdb mostly & the rest are Sound era. So including TV era cartoons, we have 7900 cartoons. So we know cartoons. Probably. About time we watched more, only up to 1946 on the WB set. The War Cartoons were a bit heavy so why they got left a while. Having watched a few DVDs of the WB from 1946 onwards, you realise how much New York they are: fast, entertaining & noisy and the basis of all that came after. If you want to buy these old cartoons, beyond official & budget sets on Amazon & ebay, USA sites like i-offer have guys selling complete unofficial sets of things as copyright has expired. The WB ones you won't find as WB's current owners stop these sorts of sets though they're not issuing any more. You can get Cartoons on e-mule & similar sites, but this takes ages & the quality is generally poor. There is one important Cartoon Historian who sells DVDs of cartoons who has a 'Cartoon Brew' of his own. But these are USA based sellers & you'll need to email them first. We started liking these annuals for the Cartoon aspect & the two are often linked. Plenty more Cartoon history sites, Youtube to watch them & databases out there for more.

Repeated Content.

Plenty of Victorian era books like THE INFANTS Annual, a small book of the poetry & pictures style, quite a few Louis Wain cats & dogs. This ran from 1866 to 1920, a huge run & the later ones tried to modernise more into the Playbox style, but too late. We had 1895, 1896 & 1919 from old lists, others too, & we noticed one picture reused from an earlier book, the pig looking over the fence. Well Mickey Mouse Wartime Annuals repeated a lot of the 1930s pages & on counting, a third of some books were reprints & the new content was pretty poor & the artwork not much. We read Rupert Annuals of modern years repeated stories, not realising Rupert fans would buy secondhand back copies & see they had been conned. The idea an annual reader in 1920-40 may start at age 8 perhaps & lose interest by 15, so to reprint 10 year old sections, who'd know. The meanest books for these are the 1970s Hanna-Barbera & similar cartoon books, where they reprinted stories first used in the 1960s ones. Bugs Bunny & the Pixie & Dixie ones being the worst for reprinting.

More Formal Books
There are others like FAMILY FRIEND & a children's version, all pretty dull reading with little illustration. The Family one was very moralistic with harsh Victorian Values that are worth a read to see how values change. Some other books like BO PEEP Annual and LITTLE BOY BLUE Annual head into more classy ideals than the INFANTS Annual, we have the 1900 BO PEEP & it has some wild spidery psychedelic artwork. Plenty of other books like NISTERS & PEARS Annuals appear to be more highbrow books with famous names, E.H. Nesbit et al writing. These have very classy artwork, though as the content was not cartoon based, we didn't buy. Plenty of Action, Adventure & Girls Annuals too will be of interest. Hobbies Annuals in the early 1930s will have made many engineers in later life, we had one that was owned by a boy who later owned a Shipping Company. These prewar books are certainly the Golden Era, a world that grew from it's limited Victorian values to the 1930s bravado & engineering enthusiasm, how many young lads built a boat to float on a lake or created & built things. The typist, being much younger than that has similar interests as a kid & was forever creating things & reading books of the "What Makes It Go?" type to the News Of The World Almanacs 1951-57. Having a good memory has got us finding all the (few) books we had years ago. Parents: don't be mean, buy your kids all the books they could ever want if they have an interest in them & that will help create them, perhaps ideals now seen as old fashioned, but it worked well for previous generations who made the world of today.

Paper Quality

These old books are often printed from 1909 to about 1931-1932 on quality art paper, only later do the cheap thick wood pulp based papers arrive & these are prone to go brown & crumble. Some titles are only found browned as the paper acids react & endpapers show dark shadows. Old books can have a hallucinogenic mould on them & probably add to the books appeal as you read these stories. If you look at a page in the light, you can see an oddness in the gloss of the paper. These books were stored in houses without much heating beyond an open fire so damp will begin. Foxing is another problem in the wood pulp type paper as the bleaches used to whiten the paper react amid the paper if stored in damper places & those brown dots & blotches appear. Some late 1930s Japhet & Happy are only found with the foxing, a batch of paper used on the whole run. But as with any old item, they are still around way beyond their expected life span, so take what you can get.

The Artwork in these books
is a huge draw for many buyers, the colour plates & illustrations on nearly every page always make it a pleasing read beyond just a page of text. Lots of Louis Wain cats appear in the earlier years & Playbox has the mysterious SJ Cash doing his great 2-dozen cat scenes. Many names appear, like Heath Robinson's elaborate drawings, the female artists, Hilda Cowham & her odd long legged wispy girls & Mabel Lucie Atwell & her cherubic children. From reading these books, oddly the colour plates aren't the best illustrations in the books, many colour plates are pleasant but not often with much content beyond a fairly lightweight subject. There are quite a few drawings that look androgynous, only the hair & clothes gives the intention away. Depends on the artist, though in real life the lines can be blurred too.

Related Titles

There are many more annuals with adventure stories, ones for very young children like THE CHICK'S Annual which start mid 1920s with large books printed on very thin paper & odd ways of teaching kids to read adding hy-phens between syll-a-bles. The Victorian Era with many Nursery Room fairly formal titles of mostly poetry & pictures. Plenty more spin-offs of varying quality of content, an early PLAYBOX one was TIGER TIM'S Annual aimed more at younger readers that lasted until 1957 at least. Amalgamated Press issued dozens of titles towards the mid-late 1930s, one now dubiously-titled TAKE ME annual we've never seen & they even had the cheek to issue one called MY FAVOURITE Annual knowing the kids couldn't pronounce the book title or forgot it & just said that & parents took it literally. All have a visual appeal, but for one who likes the Fantasy type stories & Cartoons, we only cover these titles below.

Books Were Well Loved When New

The early annuals were treated as treasures by their owners & for the huge amount of content maybe took the reader the year to finish. Many books you find start off with well-thumbed pages, actually pages pulled at the bottom by the spine & torn or creased, but them the pages after halfway may never have got read. Or the reader didn't like the book & chose to scribble in it instead, explaining high grade pages with graffiti. And then the issue of colouring the black & white pictures. Think what else did a kid have to do? Colour in their annuals. Some are nicely done & don't matter, only the messily done ones look ugly. Watercolours, crayons & colured pencils are rarely fully removable, though you do see pencil shadings that remove easily as long as you hold the page area tight when erasing as you can ruin a page as it flies up & creases or tears if not held secure. You can see these books go beyond their origins, kids books of today are read once & thrown out, the early annuals were created with the best stories & the best artists & at 200-300 pages you got a few months worth to read, unlike the 60 page later annuals. The Billy Bunter Holiday Annuals which we're not interested in had several hundred very thin pages of dense text & to us are of little interest in visual & wordliness.

Blank Spines & Basic Dust Jackets
The unfortunate thing about most of these annuals is... Blank Spines. Some early ones came in thin greaseproof-paper type covers properly called glassine, we have the first Pip & Squeak 1923 annual with one. This is the earliest year we've seen one with this basic type of wrapper-cover. Seen them on Playbox & Wonderland annuals of the 1924 issues too. These thin covers actually printed the title on them, usually upside down as many book printers didn't realise. But how many kids would keep the outer cover? It will have gone in the bin within a week. Try reading a book with a dust jacket: it's a nuisance. Either put a PVC cover over or take the cover off until you've read it & hope no-one throws it away in the meantime. So then the book has no spine titling which is a pity. The Wildred's Annual series have been spotted with basic paper dust jackets, the front slick, upside down title & basic back cover, on 1927-30 years. Without these covers, they look anonymous on a shelf & only really the Wilfred's Annual from 1933-38 print the titles on the edge, as did those with wraparound colour paper slick covers, eg Mickey Mouse annuals pre 1947. A 1935 Wilfred's with a glassine cover seen too despite the edge wording on the spine. They lurk on a shelf with no face showing what they are, not inviting readers to look again. If it was easy to find these dust jackets, perhaps we would care more & buy them, but they are extra rare & most buyers aren't bothered or don't know they exist. Prices for ones with these basic dust jackets & glassine ones don't make much of a premium, compared to the massive difference in price the first Rupert annual makes with or without. We'll note any we see, but they are pretty unfindable.

What Is There To Buy?
To see the range of books there are beyond the ones we liked, look on ebay for Annuals in Antiquarian & Collectable. Titles that are around & we've not got more than maybe the odd one to try as they look too much action & adventure, school related or other sorts include Greyfriars, Herbert Strang, Chatterbox and Nisters as well as pre 1910 type books. Many books with illustrated covers give the idea of what they are it seems. Other cartoon newspaper strip paperback annuals exist from wartime Nipper Annuals to Fred Basset that started in 1963 & still going.

Starting Out Buying These?

We consider the Playbox Annual, Pip & Squeak Annual & Wilfred's Annual the best annuals of this era. The first two can readily be found, but higher grade ones are always hard to find. Leaving aside Rupert who is an industry to himself, the other annuals we list are in the style of these if clearly the best stories & best artwork are in these three series. The other annuals like The Joy Book, The Wonderland Annual, the short lived Once Upon A Time Annual and the Looking Glass Annual are of good quality too. Other series we do list & other we don't may be more specialist, ie the Character themed books & Cartoon related ones like Felix & Mickey which bring higher prices.

Rupert Bear

No, not Rupert The Bear, that was the Jackie Lee theme tune to the early 1970s TV series still remembered for the rather scary Raggedy Root who doesn't seem to be in the books much so we hear. The Mary Tourtel books available as the 4 book small box of reprints & the yellow covered 'Little Bear Library' budget series of 18 books contain the 'real' early Rupert. One early book has Rupert's dad shooting dead some unsavoury character that had kidnapped Rupert. Rupert gets kidnapped a lot it seems, but maybe he is annoying & smug so they just let him go if you don't like Rupert much, or more likely he has an army of similarly anthromorphised clever friends to rescue him if you do. Having tried some of the 1940s reprints, not so keen on the later ones now, the rhyming couplets as well as text seems clumsy & the stories are lacking some bite of the early era. But artistically they are of the highest quality & they are still hugely popular today even with the 1930s ideals that a brand needs to retain. Everybody knows his name indeed.

The Style of the Annuals
progresses over the years. The Classic Years are pre 1926, the progressive years are 1926-1932 & 1933 onwards take the lead from the Bobby Bear & Teddy Tail type annuals & many lose the appeal the earlier years have. Life was getting wiser year by year, the magical innocence faded as people learnt of what the WW1 cost was. You can tell which books were popular by the average condition you find them in. Playbox, Wonderland & Joy Book pre 1926 are the hardest ones to find in higher grade simply as the owners loved them, re-read them & probably kept them around until the new one arrived. Read them too & you'll see why. Similarly the first pre 1926 Pip & Squeak Annual and Wilfred's Annual are hard to find in nice grade & the 1923 Pip & Squeak sold 100,000 copies before Xmas 1923 says the newspaper PS+W section. Later books that would have been taken into Air Raid Shelters are harder to find in nice grade. The Mickey Mouse annuals pre 1934 usually are missing the spine. It was a thin cloth gauze with the outer coloured paper stuck on & then onto a backing thicker paper. Opening these thick books puts strain on the spine as it must give way somewhere to open the book. Similar with the Flip The Frog annual. The 1939 Eb & Flo annual we've seen only a few times & the one we have with most of the spine is the best one we've seen anywhere. The 'Playbox' annual was likely the biggest seller & from 1909 to 1919 are of the similar high quality, even from the first book. The 1930 & 1931 Playbox annuals we looked thru to see if we wanted to keep as they are the new non art paper type & found the book was now aimed at a much younger reader than the 1926 one. The artwork was fresher & the book more visually appealing than the 1929 one we had a look thru after. But 1932 changed the book size & having tried 1934 didn't find much interest in it.

Fairy Stories?
There has always been an interest going back to the 17th Century in mysterious mythical little people: gnomes, fairies, pixies, witches, goblins, elves, mermaids, brownies, ogres, trolls and of course Golliwogs. These fantasy elements make for the best Psychedelic stories, no doubt writers aided by some Opium that was popular at the time, and the era when this was popular makes for the most interesting reading. Interest in Fairy stories grew hugely from the Cottingley Fairies real-life fantasy story in 1917, but later books seeing a dip in sales asked readers if they liked book content & sadly these stories fell from grace. By 1926 the Fantasy Stories are seen as old fashioned & more adventure stories appear. Rupert Bear knows the content people want & he still sells his fantasy story books today. The best amimated films are ones based on fantasy & if not so obviously a Fairy Story, modern films still draw on the old "nice" ideals. What is Shrek if not heavily drawn from old traditional stories with known story patterns & cliches? Shrek got 4 movies out of it & made $3.5billion. But by 1931 the early years style has mostly gone in content and it had been changing since about 1926 as awareness in life grew, except really only the Wilfred's Annual, where the older illustrators & writers are still making high quality content as they did 10 years earlier, but to a dwindling audience. Later books that lose the friendly fantasy stories are pretty formulaic. School stories where the underdog triumphs, pluck & bravado win the day, lost family treasure saves a family from ruin, adventures kids have in a style of Enid Blyton Famous Five that define 1930s books. These are not bad to read, but you kind of yearn for the fantasy stories where little kind Fairy people can take young kids usually in their night-time dreams on a magical adventure, it is disappointing to read a good story & the cop-out of the character waking up as day broke. Even typing that today it sounds a bit weird & hmm, but that's the modern adult view on what would have been innocent & cherished when the books were new. Some very short stories are disappointing with trite moral messages or a good idea hurried & lost the point. The outcome of stories is usually on a positive note, the hero wins, the thief is caught, the naughty child repents, but how they get to the outcome keeps it interesting. Some stories seem a bit odd also these days with old male characters having a soft spot for young folk they either know or are related to. Being perhaps of the last generation where this innocence was the norm, it was a kinder world & not everyone has an agenda, though tales are more told today as the media reveals in a saddening way with those once considered 'nice' by the Public then revealed to have abused their position beyond comprehension with their power. History teaches us that this minority behaviour is as old as life itself & any status quo generally is nothing short of a fantasy story, the "caring & sharing" ideal of today being one myth rarely realised. Read up on the Old Fairy Stories, the roots of them are much more gruesome than the nicer versions of even 100 years ago, eg Cinderella's sisters butchered their feet to fit in the glass slipper and the amount of murders in these stories, all Disneyfied just before Disney started making cartoons. So buy a nice old book from the early 20th Century & escape back into a world that probably only ever existed in storybooks. It's nice there. Any subtext into other meanings of the title header are your own making & Fairy Story is still used today as a term in derision to mock one of questionable bravado telling falsehoods. Fairy Liquid is still a top brand regardless of name & grown men of natural desire find no problem in buying the product, but maybe now are careful not to put the bottle on the windowsill so the word shines through perhaps gaining unwanted interest.

Colour Plates
As there is no reference anywhere of what plates should be in these books, we'll detail the amount & pertinent words on the plate, rather than the whole caption. Plates are usually not part of the book page numbering & will be shown as "p17 xxx" meaning the picture side of the plate is facing page 17. Seems strange now, but plates used finer paper that was usually rougher quality on the back. A colour picture, usually of limited colours, in part of the book content & page numbering on non-art paper is not a plate.

Book Terms

The term "frontis" means frontispiece, a term used for decades or centuries to denote a monochrome or colour art paper printed picture put in right at the start of the book. As the pages may not be numbered from page 1, frontis is a better term than "opposite page 1" when there is no numbering. Some books we've found being numbered too optimistically, with page 1 actually being the glued-down side of the front endpaper. Terms used in books are fep (front end paper), ffep (front free end paper, ie a page), not seen rear ones though. Gutter is the groove on the outside of the spine edge that the book bends into & also used to mean the end paper joins.

Book Grading
Book grading is rarely used & we've never bothered to list our ones on our checklist as beyond ok, nice, high, crisp. Outer high, inner high means a book in pretty high grade, but as Mint books generally don't exist, high grade is the best to hope for & would be about 7.5 to 8.5/10. Anything cover-wise that is exceptionally squared & crisp is very rare in these Annuals simply as they were read & by young owners who didn't think you'd want their book like new 20 years after they met their maker. Book pages can be crisp as unread or read once carefully, page base creases give away signs of use as do the ease of books laying open. Some books are overglued between the 16 page sections & an awkward crease can evolve, but not hard to pull the overglued part out to make it read better. Books were usually bound in groups of 16 pages, two large sheets with 8 pages folded & trimmed. They were sewn together with thread & if yours has no thread, sew in some new thread when you restick the book block together. We've reglued many books back together, but that's more book surgery & involves doing unpredictable things that work well or make a mess however skilled you are or how hard you try.



The Playbox Annual, as an idea of quality, it is a good read right from the 1909 one & keeps the same quality until about 1926 when the Fantasy Stories are seen as old fashioned & more adventure stories appear, losing the Psychedelic appeal. The 1909 annual we have read and considering this is the first proper annual with no real predecessor, it is remarkably 'together' for the first effort. The 1910 one is nice too & Louis Wain cats feature in the early books. As years go by more ideas are introduced, the odd Religious page fades away, more illustrations appear & the ones amid the book pages are often better than the colour plates. By 1927-31 the early years style has mostly gone in content as awareness in life grew, though the banished Fairy characters reappear. 1932 book still has the early style cover if it's a bigger book, 1934 is similar but more modernised. Not seen a 1933. A 1936 Playbox annual is not a very interesting read we found. There is an oddity with this series: they used patterns & lines of symbols to border a page, pre 1936 you will find Swastikas used regularly in their traditional format, it was a good luck symbol of pleasing design before the world saw the 1936 Olympics & how it was used by that nasty man. It never appeared again. Tiger Tim & his friends were the cartoon characters & the early years were drawn a little naively by JS Baker, as the 1910 annual reveals, until the Herbert Foxwell more professional ones began a few years later. There is enough interest in these books to have made them appeal to teenagers of the era as well as folk of any age today who know of the joy in these classic annuals. Some years esp late 1930s & 1940s are very hard to find, only the last few thin ones from the mid 1950s turn up more often. The last few 1950s ones are very lightweight in content in comparison to the deeper quality of the Golden Years, they are more like a kid's comic than the broader apperal of the earlier years. There were spin-offs from this annual: Tiger Tim, Bruin Boys, Mrs Hippo's & Tiger Tim even lasted until at least 1974 as a Fleetway "The Tiger Tim Fun Book" still with the old characters in a Hanna-Barbera drawing style after 70 years is a bit of a surprise.

Content from even the first annual is of a high quality & this continues in the ones we've read pre 1920, oddly not read the later ones yet. Only by the 1936 one did the Teddy Tail simpler content spoil the book, the 1932 one still looks the same quality inside. We've read a few of these now & they are a nice read with much variety.

Playbox Annual 1909
Playbox Annual 1910
Playbox Annual 1911
Playbox Annual 1912
Playbox Annual 1913
Playbox Annual 1914
Playbox Annual 1915
Playbox Annual 1916
Playbox Annual 1917
Playbox Annual 1918
Playbox Annual 1919
Playbox Annual 1920
Playbox Annual 1921
Playbox Annual 1922
Playbox Annual 1923 (exists With Glassine Cover)
Playbox Annual 1924 (exists With Glassine Cover)
Playbox Annual 1925
Playbox Annual 1926
Playbox Annual 1927
Playbox Annual 1928
Playbox Annual 1929
Playbox Annual 1930 [now On Non-art Coarser Paper]
Playbox Annual 1931
Playbox Annual 1932 [new 11" X 8.5" Size, 160 Pages, Different Paper]
[others exist 1933-1956]


This is a short lived series of just 2 issues that was made by Hulton Press who also issued the Joy Book Annual & Oojah. We weren't even fully sure the 1920 existed as 1921 can be found, but no 1920 ones until an ebay one appeared. Content is high quality like the Joy & Wonderland series. 48 pages of Oojah the Elephant & 6 colour plates per book. As Oojah moved to the Joy Book in 1922 & his first annual in 1923, safe to say these are the only 2 years. There are other Hulton series that may appeal also to some, Hulton's Adventure Stories: An Annual for Boys and Hulton's Girls' Stories. The Best Annual for Girls. A later series of the same title exists for years 1970 to 1976 at least, several on Abe, but beyond our interest.

Once Upon A Time - Hulton's Children's Annual 1920
Once Upon A Time - Hulton's Children's Annual 1921

A delightful early Fleetway series that lives up to it's name, as is the Joy Book Annual & underappreciated for the quality of stories & artwork. Not clear why the Wonderland title was changed midway, but 1926 marked a turning point in the surreal earlier style of book to a more realistic type. The Wonderland ones sold better if still aren't too easily found, the Playtime ones are hard to find at best. Cartoon characters are Scottie, a young kilted lad and Tim & Binkie two bear like characters like Harry Hill's knitted friend. Visually a very appealing book if clearly a lesser-known series to buyers when new as not too many around unlike Playbox & Pip & Squeak annuals. The stories are more aimed at 10 year olds rather than older ones like the Wilfred's annual does too, but they are not too lightweight. The other characters in the Playbox styled school group are headed by Micky Mouse, several years before the other one. Being from the Fleetway range they spent money to make this a good series. The last pages contain an Index oddly & the Playtime Comic gets an advert, clearly the series origin & why it was renamed to that but got fewer sales.

Content of The Wonderland Annual & The Joy Book is a liitle varying, some years are good, some are too bitty & don't quite keep the attention. They do look very attractive, but the appeal of a book to us is reading it & getting the escapism of the era.

WONDERLAND Annual 1920
WONDERLAND Annual 1921
WONDERLAND Annual 1922
WONDERLAND Annual 1923
WONDERLAND Annual 1924 (exists with glassine cover)
WONDERLAND Annual 1925
WONDERLAND Annual 1926
PLAYTIME Annual 1928
PLAYTIME Annual 1929
PLAYTIME Annual 1930
PLAYTIME Annual 1931
PLAYTIME Annual 1932
PLAYTIME Annual 1933
PLAYTIME Annual 1934 last one???


Similarly a delightful series, as is the Wonderland Annual & underappreciated for the quality of stories & artwork. Again a series that started off popular, but by the 1930 annual which is so rare we never knew it existed until seeing one & grabbed it. No idea if a 1931 exists, but a thick book like the early Mickey annuals exists 1932 with a "Wildfire" front and a 1933 with "Balloons" front. The last 2 books are more like a storybook than an annual & as you can see don't have the Annual titling. This series is hard to find in nice grade, they were well enjoyed for sure.

Content of The Wonderland Annual & The Joy Book is a liitle varying, some years are good, some are too bitty & don't quite keep the attention. They do look very attractive, but the appeal of a book to us is reading it & getting the escapism of the era.

But there is another annual that looks suspiciously like the last 2 Joy Books which credit "Allied Newspapers" entitled "The Happy Annual Stories And Pictures For Little People". On searching, we found another called "The Happy Xmas Annual: Stories, Pictures, Rhymes and Jokes for the Little Ones" with 1929-32 being dates, but only a small 96 page book clearly for younger readers than the Joy Book, if of a standard 10x8" format. Also a Collins book & a Disney book of the "Happy Annual" name. No-one else is doing this research, book buyers & sellers are missing out. The Happy annual is identical in content to the 1933 Joy Book except the main stories are in a larger font than before as the similar sized Oojah Annuals have. Ours is dedicated "Merry Xmas for 1934" a bit ambiguous as it could mean Xmas 1934 or for 1934's New Year. Not sure why they changed the title except perhaps they thought it wasn't a Joy to read anymore, but if you like the others of the series, you will like this equally.

THE JOY BOOK CHILDREN'S Annual 1931 {not had this one}

THE JOY BOOK (Children's Annual) 1932 undated [Group on Rocking horse & wildfire card front] (Xmas 1931 dedication) Dark green cloth spine. Ovalitine & Mary Mary back cover. Round cameos on endpapers. 4 plates: frontis "The Spiders Turned", p8 "Please Don't Bite", p72 "There Was A Jumjum", p89 "Saved."

THE JOY BOOK (Children's Annual) 1933 undated [3 boys, banjo & balloons] (Xmas 1932 dedication) Colour spine with similar imagew as front, Ovalitine & Boat advert on back. Round cameos on endpapers. 4 plates: frontis "Below Was a Man" Hulme-Beaman drawn, p8 "The Breaking Of The Bubble", p73 "Peter Started The Bombardment", p80 "Akon Seized The Cub". P41 features a boy called 'Panty' as he was fat & panted as he walked.

THE HAPPY Annual 1934/35 undated [boy, girl & dog on seesaw] (Merry Xmas for 1934 dedication) Colour spine with waving girl sitting on fence. Ovalitine & Teddy ad on back. Round cameos on endpapers. The content is like the Wilfred's annuals, the 1920s fantasy type stories. Many deco-styled illustrations. Larger type on main stories to before. There are 4 plates joined as pairs in the binding: frontis "Queen Of The Meadow", p8 ""Derek Stretched Out", p40 "Inside The Stocking" p48 "Jerry Dashed". No more will have been included from checking.


A series that isn't quite sure what it wants to be. Based on a very early Comic, this book mixes nice fantasy type content with (boring) adventure stories & doesn't really work unless you liked both perhaps. The 1921 book sold fairly well by those that turn up, but the 1922 is much rarer, showing the readers of the 1921 thought as we do. It lacks illustrations to go with the story as Playbox used in 1909 & added more as the years went on, but the Puck has scrappy comic cartoon bits put amid the words to make up for no artwork. It took the publishers a few editions to improve, but it was never in the league of the big titles & therefore is a hard set to find. Look on Abebooks, not many of the 1920s ones. Not seen a 1930 one, it exists, but some greedy seller wants £95, dream on.

As we've already stated, the content is varying, one page for under 10s, then early teens, then adventure stories for later teens. A series we've tried the 1921 book & found it mostly not great if the 1924 book improved, the heavy mix of styles was always there. A lack of story illustrations doesn't help.

PUCK Annual 1921
PUCK Annual 1922
PUCK Annual 1923
PUCK Annual 1924
PUCK Annual 1925
PUCK Annual 1926
PUCK Annual 1927
PUCK Annual 1928
PUCK Annual 1929
PUCK Annual 1930
PUCK Annual 1931
PUCK Annual 1932
[others exist 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939 at least]

A very strange series & the first one is rare, the second very rare & the last unfindable beyond our unread one. Sort of written with a bit of a desperation in the first annual, not wanting to scare or offend, clearly quite an amateur publisher, though their confidence grows by the 1925 book. Uncle Jack, of Holborn Viaduct House, London EC1, at Middleton Publications. But the content of the first book is as good as others of the era. The book was named 'Looking Glass' for the fact a real glass mirror is set into the book cover. Honest. How H+S today would scorn that, but to prove them all mollycoddlers, had 2 copies with mirrors intact & seen 2 more, all unbroken. 2nd annual has a bizarre cat eyes front with "moving pictures" using the coloured lens glasses. Content is as nice as the 1924 book, but exceptionally rare, ours is a sticky tape mess with 2 colour plates missing. The last 1926 book is a very odd book, what went wrong? Chopped into sections, a long Teddy Tail story & little cartoon content make you realise why it sold so few. The Cats Eyes 1925 one we've just got the only (tatty) one we can find. The 1924 we've had twice & seen once more, the 1925 only a tatty one & the one we had to buy & the 1926 unread one. Perhaps the Rarest of the Annuals we are interested in. The series clearly didn't sell which is a shame as the first book is of high quality like the big names.

LOOKING GLASS Annual (hand mirror) (1924)
LOOKING GLASS Annual (cats eyeholes +3D glasses) (1925)
LOOKING GLASS Annual (monacles) (1926)


TEDDY TAIL 1915-1960s

See the WIKIPEDIA page we started. Teddy Tail was the earliest UK Newspaper cartoon character. His early stories were based on fairy stories & historic events & they look nice but aren't the most interesting read. There were several thin large format books that condensed the newspaper strip continuing daily story into one full story. One amount of newspaper strips wasn't included between the first & second books for some reason.

The first variant of Teddy Tail was drawn by Charles Folkard who wrote and illustrated Teddy Tail from 1915 until the late 1920s. Teddy Tail is always seen with a knot in his tail. Only from reading his first 1915 published Annual The Adventures of Teddy Tail of The Daily Mail do you see his tail is knotted purposely to help his friend Dr Beetle escape from a hole he had fallen into. As quoted from the first book:
"Then a dreadful thing happened. We couldn't get the knot undone. I don't think much of Dr. Beetle as a Doctor. He oiled and patted it, but it was no good. My beauty has gone for ever." Teddy Tail continued with several stories based on Children's Nursery Rhymes and historical events as well as fairy tales that were popular at the time. There were several annuals or books printed in the years before his 1933 revival, which were reprinted from the Daily Mail cartoon strips. The story that followed between the first published book and the second was never republished, only the 84 remaining newspaper cartoon strip clippings show the story between running from the Cat at the end of the first book and meeting the Noah's at the start of the 'In Nursery Rhyme Land' book.  The Looking Glass Annual also published a Teddy Tail story. This featured the Folkard drawings and story text adapted from the newspaper strips. This is the only appearance of Teddy Tail in another annual. This was a lesser-known children's annual from c1924-26 that featured a glass mirror inset into the front cover and was published by Middleton Publications, London. The Teddy Tail story appears in the last one from c1926 in the 'boy with a monacle' cover edition.

The later Teddy Tail annuals rewrote the character as a public schoolboy type & he got a large bland family & Mother figure, echoing the Playbox type school house group. They were certainly more popular than Playbox or Pip Squeak & Wilfred, but to us they are a bit bland & any stories are too short. The character continued into the 1950s even. The 1-10 numbering is not on the books, but us putting them in the correct order by content.

For a review of content, well we had the majority of these, just missing the 1940 + 1941 & sold them all on. The 1930s annuals are attractive books but content is pretty lightweight. The Earlier books with the Folkard drawings are more interesting if not as interesting as Rupert or Mickey Mouse. The stories were a bit weak & not such an interesting read, creativity was fairly standard & little really stuck in the mind.

TEDDY TAIL [1]: THE ADVENTURES OF (large thin book)
TEDDY TAIL [6]: IN HISTORYLAND (landscape format book)
TEDDY TAIL [10]: TT'S FAIRYTALE AND BABYLAND (early reissue in smaller format)
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1934
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1935
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1936
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1937
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1938
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1939 motorbikes
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1940
TEDDY TAIL Annual 1941 the wizard of fun
[others exist later 1940s-1960s]

RUPERT BEAR 1919-today
Acres has been written on Rupert & his whimsical surreal fantasy stories have endured & are still alive over 80 years later. That is some feat, especially seeing how other books in this style were considered "old fashioned" by 1932. The thing with Rupert is the artwork & other fuller development of characters have kept him interesting. A TV series in the early 1970s & the Jackie Lee "Rupert" song made the charts. People remember Rupert fondly & Raggedy the Root was an oddly scary character we remember from those TV shows & read the annuals too, oddly reading the long bits and the rhyming couplets & the pre 1950 books are all expensive now, Buy the reissue box set of the earliest Rupert Books from 1920-1922 & enjoy a more raw Rupert, with Rupert's Dad actually shooting one character DEAD at the end of one book. Really. We liked the 1970s budget set of Yellow Rupert books with the early Mary Tourtel stories best as they are less formulaic compared to the reprints of the 1940s annuals we had & sold on. Even the reprints were edited to remove Golliwog & similar words not considered acceptable, Enid Blyton books have had similar. Two of the late 1940s Rupert Annuals never got a reprint as one has two black characters with a spiky punk-picaninny type haircut on the front & as they were all friends, the snowman had a similar hairstyle. The other similarly has a small black spiky haired character. What a sad world to consider these delightful covers wrong... Surely it's more offensive to deny them the reprint. Diluting the original books is not acceptable & with film cartoons, to find the unedited version is the goal.
[other websites have his complex book listings]

From the WIKIPEDIA page we wrote from our research, we do this to further the scene because we do it properly as you can see.

Japhet and Happy was a British newspaper cartoon strip originally appeared as 'The Adventures of the Noah Family' initially in the Daily News during 1919 and transferred in 1930 to the News Chronicle. It was originated and drawn by J. F. Horrabin, James Francis Horrabin (1884–1962) who was a British journalist, cartoonist and cartographer, and he was elected Labour Member of Parliament for Peterborough from 1929-1931. He wrote Political books as well as the 'Dot and Carrie' strip for the Star that ran from 1922 to 1964. The Noah Family names are based on religious names, but the cartoon strips have no religious theme.

Characters The main Noah Family characters initially were Japhet, a boy, his brothers Shem & Ham, their parents Mr & Mrs Noah. Selina and Matilda were their cousins who lived with them together with Fido the dog. They all lived in a house on Ararat Avenue in South West London, as mentioned on the 1924 book.

The human Noah Family characters were styled like wooden puppets with human faces but without elbow or knee joints or fingers. The styling changed in the early years from very skinny and stick-like bodies to the more familiar rounded figures as seen by 1924. An early-introduced character was an elderly gentleman, Mr Cheery, who helped Japhet when he was lost in an early story. His adopted son, Tim Tosset featured in the earlier strips but had left by the time Happy was introduced in c1926-27. Happy was a small fat bear that never spoke, unlike other cartoon animals. Later additions included Oswald the tortoise who had a liking for hiding. Jerry was their odd-job handyman who was an ex-sailor & dressed similarly. Adelaide was an Ostrich, Archibald (Archie) was a donkey and Gerald was a goat. Their garden later had a Golobosh Tree brought from a trip visiting the Panjandrum. By the time of a 1950s annual, Cracky the dog & Pukky, a parrot-type bird, were added. Despite the Noah characters names, there was no actual religious theme to the series.

The cartoon strips included a whimsical take on everyday life and misunderstandings through the eyes of Japhet including scenes at school and appearing in a Circus. In later annuals from the mid 1930s visits were made to an imaginary African country 'Andamalumbo' where they met His Highness the Grand Panjandrum of Andamalumbo, Lord of the Golden Umbrella, Eater of the Purple Goloboshes, and wearer of the Top Hat (as quoted from the 1933 Annual). The Panjandrum could speak no English, but an invented phrase he used as Welcome was Wamblety Oola. In later stories The Panjandrum and his friend Bom would visit the Noah's in England. Also see Panjandrum for a later use of this Samuel Foote invented word, probably influenced by its popularised pre-War usage in the 'Japhet and Happy' strips.

The Arkubs
As with other annuals, such as Teddy Tail with the Teddy Tail League, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred with the WLOG and Bobby Bear with the Bobby Bear Club, Japhet and Happy also had a club in the mid 1930s, The Arkubs. The club had a badge, with Happy and AK on it. There were secret codes, hand signs and rules for The Grand United Order of Arkubs. To join the Arkubs, if you were under 15, you had to collect 12 'Happy' Badges from the 'News Chronicle' and send off three pence. You could also get a 'Japhet and Happy' breakfast set of a cup, saucer, plate and egg cup by enrolling 6 new members.

Lots of books & extra Holiday books in the pre-war era. The best ones are the 1920-1922 small white fronted Cassells books, in a format like the first Rupert. Then came varied title books covering as 1926-1931 annuals & then the 1932-1934 of the same size & then the full sized annual 1935-1940. Later books lose the newspaper strip type content and are written as storybooks, a modern take on the book for the 1940s but it loses the appeal for us.

The stories in the earlier ones below are a nice read & they do have some nice lines & varied characters. Enough here to keep the interest & with a nice British whimisical touch. By the 1929 'At Sea' book the tone changes to longer stories, losing the whimsy of the earlier ones. The limitations of the original Noah's Ark characters & their lack of joints & fingers is a little strange. Must have been popular to last in Books & Annuals for 30 years at least.


small format 7" x 5" approx like the first Rupert. Drawings are more stick like than later ones, but a nice read. 100 pages.

Again the small book format, similar content, 100 pages.


Not had this but small book format again.

THE JAPHET BOOK (1923-24) [large paperback]
Can't imagine many of this one survived, 11" x 8" wide soft cover. Cover states "120 pictures about The Noahs of Ararat Avenue SW" price 1/1. Contains strips in the 1200, 1300 & 1400 numbering. 1924 date on the inside back page book ads.


New size hardback that stayed until the 1935 change. 9" x 7" approx, all with plain cloth spines, never seen any in Glassine covers. Ours has "1/9" price inside the cover from new. Colour plates in all the following are noted on the contents page & have titles noted, so easy to tell if yours is complete. The Annual (as it became) introduces the characters. Mostly comic strips with a few short stories rewritten from earlier strips by the older looking illustrations. These books are hard to find in nice grade as the book binding glue crumbles to dust & the book falls apart. No trace of "Happy" in this book. 128 pages, no 2003 strip appears to be the highest numbered one.


"2/6" price in ours. An early version of Happy is on the cover, in the days he had a mouth. No mention of where Happy came from, on p12 strip no 2226 there he is. 2184 has no Happy. We're not Happy not knowing where he came from. Content is random & the early 1920s whimsy is nice.


Continuing the pleasing earlier themes & with short story rewrites of earlier strips.


This book states it's the 4th annual ignoring the few earlier books. New style of content from this book: starts with a rambling story that isn't very good, then several dull stories of Happy going missing a few times & then the on Ship story where they add Jerry & the African Panjandrum guy. By now Happy is drawn more simply as is the strip in general & the book loses it's charm & whimsy for it. The Tim Tossett character disappears but Mr Cheery appears only occasionally. One oddity is that Captain Puffin is a regular human, but his wife, Mrs Noah's sister is the wooden ark doll type. Love has no boundaries.

The book is just that, them on the Island. Happy looks even more basic & it's clear to write strips on a long story is easier than random whimsies.

JAPHET & HAPPY BOOK (dated Xmas 31)
This has a very rare cut-out sheet of the characters, a double page size, one has been on Abebooks forever. 'The Noah Family Cutout' is it's title with characters placed to make it fit the page, ie Japhet, Ostrich, Goat, Girl, Dog, Parrot, Mr Noah & Tortoise. A fence to be cutout for them to appear behind. We asked the seller for a pic so we know what it looks like. The book again stays with the continuing storyline, they bring an Elerphant & Jerry the seaman back with them. The artwork looks quicker done each year now compared to the first few books. Some colour pages amid the stories.

JAPHET & HAPPY Annual 1933 (issued 1932)
This book is interesting for the amount that the African characters appear. By 1932 there were still many cartoons about Cannibals, but this shows Africans as more natural, if with a made-up language, it's quite ahead of it's time. But the series is clearly now a comic story strip & the stories aren't too inventive now.

JAPHET & HAPPY Annual 1934
Back in England, they bring more characters into the story. One African character, Bom, wears a Western Suit Jacket on his top half but no trousers. This may look like he's wearing nothing else as the jacket is of a length & in one of the next annuals, he finds some trousers to wear as readers must have complained. More randomness is in the strips here.

JAPHET & HAPPY Annual 1935-1940 (new size)

Start of the bigger size hardback, all plain cloth spines still, 10" x 8" approx. Allows more space for the picturesd & a red tinting is on many pages to stop kids colouring the pages in. The style of content is now set with some continuation, plenty of characters, but no more long stories. Life by now was more advanced & the stories do keep lively, if without the whimsy of the earlier years. These bigger books seem to sell more readily than the earlier ones so must be better sellers & better known. The 1940 book is printed on cheaper paper as Wartime so it browns & will have seen the inside of Air Raid shelters so condition is tricky.

No more appeared until after the war, when more text story books in a thin hardback of 10" wide x 6" high appeared & mention things like Prefab housing, gets upgraded to more colours in the printing.

[others exist late 1940s-1950s]

From the WIKIPEDIA page we wrote & oddly it's untouched as no-one cares...

Bobby Bear was a Cartoon Character in the Daily Herald newspaper starting in 1919. He was a young male bear character based on the Steiff Teddy Bear that was popular at the time. His friends were Ruby Rabbit and Maisie Mouse. Later Percy Porker the pig became a regular character as well as Freddy Fox on occasion. He was the first bear to appear as a cartoon character, pre dating Rupert Bear by a year.

The Annuals
There were annuals issued from the early 1920s, in small format thin paperback volumes which collected their adventures. These are known to exist as year-dated annuals 1923 to 1926, and 1928-31. The 1923 annual states inside that it is their 'third book', so 2 more exist from 1920-1922. The cover price was fixed at 'One Shilling' on the 1923-1931 annuals. The 1923-30 Annuals were by Kitsie Bridges (Aunt Kitsie) and pictures by Dora McLaren. The 1931 annual drawings were by 'Meg'. The 1932 annual had some 'Meg' drawings & some by Wilfred Haughton, and was the last one edited by Aunt Kitsie. For the 1933 to 1939 annuals, they were all drawn & written by Wilfred Haughton who also created the early Mickey Mouse annuals, also for Deans, from 1930 to 1939. He rarely signed his work, though his style is very distinctive. By 1939 Wilfred Haughton had fallen out with Deans as he would not draw Mickey Mouse for the Mickey Mouse comics in a more modern style. He appears to have left Deans entirely by then as Bobby Bear is created by a different unnamed artist starting with the 1940 annual. The only annual featuring his drawings with his signature is the 1936 one. The annuals from 1932 became very elaborate by the mid 1930s with multiple colour plates & lots of pages to cut out, which makes the later 1930s ones hard to find complete. The most unusual Wilfred Haughton story appeared in the 1936 Annual, entitled 'Mr Nobody' which was about a bear who had no body. Several surreal pictures of the head being carried about and then the headless body running around and eventually the two were matched up.
The 1931 Annual shows '1931' on the cover, but is misprinted '1930' on the first page. The 1932-34 ones are dated on the front cover. 1935 with 'Lucky Dip 6d'; 1936 with 'Never Lets You Down'; 1937 with 'Lets All Be Merry' are only dated on the title page. 1938 with 'Out For Fun Again' and 1939 with 'Rattling Good!' on the cover are undated. The 1939 Annual is usually found missing a lot of the pages: page 48 had a Donkey & Sergeant cutout; pages 73-80 had a 'Punch & Judy' cut-out & play and page 98 a Racing Car cutout. Later books can be dated via the ComicsUK website 'Annual Gallery' linked below.

Bobby Bear Club
The 'Bobby Bear Club' started in the early 1930s, similar to Pip, Squeak and Wilfred and Teddy Tail clubs, and the 1932 annual states that over 400,000 members had joined. You received a 'Secret Rules' booklet revealing the secret sign to make to fellow 'Bear Cubs' which involved putting your first finger and thumb together to make an 'O' and putting both hands to make 'OO' like eyes. There was a salute and a 'Call and Rally' tune as well as a Club Recruiting Song. You could also get Free Insurance against personal accidents if aged between 6 and 16, and the motto was 'Make Friends'. You also received a numbered admittance card and a yearly Birthday Card.
Starting with the 1940 annual, different artists drew the characters resulting in variations in style through the decades, with Bobby Bear being aimed at very young children by the 1960s. The 'Golden Years' of this character are the 1932-1939 annuals, with the pre 1932 annuals having solely Bobby Bear content.

The early paperback books 1920-1931 are very whimsical stories that look home-made on most years. The series only really got going with the big annuals 1932-1940 as Wilfred Haughton who drew the UK Mickey Mouse & Flip The Frog annuals. As with the Teddy Tail annuals of the same year, these outsold the Playbox & Pip Squeak & Wilfred series, though lesser pages & only short stories must have got read quickly.

The early paperback books before the 1932 start with the Haughton drawn annuals were oddly amateurish. A little too feeble in content with a boy bear playing with a girl mouse & a girl rabbit. The later ones added the boy pig & the stories improved as Haughton's writing style is very enjoyable. We didn't keep any of the series in the end, but did have a good read through the hardback annuals. The paperback ones were quickly looked through & found similarly feeble & less satisfying.

BOBBY BEAR Annual 1921 (paperback)
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1922
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1923
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1924
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1925
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1926
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1927 (not sure if this year exists?)
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1928
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1929
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1930
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1931
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1932 (full size hardback)
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1933
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1934
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1935 lucky dip
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1936 never let you down
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1937 let's all be merry
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1938 out for fun again
BOBBY BEAR Annual 1939 rattling Good (last WH)
[others exist 1940-1960s]

From the WIKIPEDIA page we wrote...

Origins The first Oojah comic strip was issued on 18 February 1919. By the early 1920s the newspaper was issuing a 4-page 'The Oojah Paper' supplement starting Saturday, 8 October 1921. It later became The Oojah Sketch that ran until 23 November 1929, the 4 page section reduced to 3 pages from 29 April 1922 and 2 pages from 22 July 1922. Other characters were Snooker, a small black Kitten cat who always wears bedsocks and lives with the Great Oojah and Don, a little boy who is the Little Oojah and the Jum-Jarum. Later additional characters included Jerrywangle (aka Jerry), who was the Oojah's elephant nephew who was always up to mischief with his tricks, as well as Lord Lion and his family. The character name for the large elephant that came to be known simply as 'Oojah' is quoted as initially being 'Flip-Flap the Great Oojah'. The 'Oojah House' book gives this description: 'FLIP-FLAP is a magic elephant who lives in a strange animal-country called Oojahland. He is the Great Oojah'. Later annuals and comic strips name him 'Uncle Oojah'. There are some phrases that are mentioned frequently in the stories, such as exclamations by Snooker the cat with "My Bedsocks!", "My Whiskers!" and The Oojah himself with "Lovey-lovekins!" and"Jimmy-ninnikins!"

Revival Years The series was revived as a comic strip 'The Wonderful Adventures of Jerry, Don and Snooker' running for 203 episodes from 27 February 1954 to 11 January 1958. 'Jerry's Jolly Jingles' featuring Jerry, Oojah's cousin, ran for another seven months. This was the last issued of the Oojah series.

The Artists
Thomas Maybank, full name Hector Thomas Maybank Webb, born in Beckenham, Kent, on 29 February 1869, was the original artist for the series. Maybank died on 27 March 1929. The 1929 Annual featured Maybank's artwork, the 1934 annual featured artwork by the anonymous 'JHL'. Later, H. M. Talintyre (full name Henry Matthew Talintyre) continued the series in the same style until the early 1950s.

Oojah Annuals and Books
The Oojah series first appearances were in the 1920 issued Children's annual 'Once Upon a Time - Hulton's Children's Annual 1921' firstly with a 27 page story entitled "Flip-Flap in Wangletown" which included a colour plate entitled "The Band will now Sing a Dance", and secondly with a 23 page story "The Wonder-man" including a further colour plate "The Rabbits were playing 'Oranges and Lemons'". Oojah's second annual appearance was the 1921 issued 'The Joy Book Children's Annual 1922' with a full story entitled 'Flip Flap In London Town'. All stories in both annuals were told by Flo Lancaster and pictured by Thomas Maybank. A slim 36 page book of annual size entitled 'Oojah House - The Story of Flip-Flap's Little Mansion' was issued by E. Hulton in 1921-22 featuring just a long Oojah story. The cover states it was part of the 'Oojah Books' series which included a tracing book 'Baby Binky's Birthday' which did not feature Oojah. The first proper annual was 'The Oojah Annual', issued in 1922 as the undated 1923 annual. This features an advert for the 1923 Joy Book on the back so can be dated correctly. The undated 1924 Annual features a Portcullis with the Cat Snooker with a Coffee Pot on his head. The undated 1925 Annual features a baby bear being spoonfed. The undated 1926 Annual features Oojah sitting on a stile wearing a hat.

Further annuals and books were issued featuring Thomas Maybank's artwork including the 1927 'The Oojah's Treasure Trunk' (dated from the late 1926 competition ending date inside) and the 1928 issued 'Uncle Oojah's Big Annual' (dated from having a 1929 Calendar throughout the book). Later Oojah Annuals featuring mostly the H. M. Talintyre artwork continued intermittently from the 1930s to the early 1950s.

The first book was a 1921 thin paperback called "Oojah House". The 1922 JOY BOOK contains a long Oojah story & then a series of 4 annuals 1922-1926 & then the 1927 "Treasure Trunk" Book. After this came the early Mickey Mouse-sized annuals from 1928 with large print & then others into the early 1950s. This is a confusing series as the title & format changed so often. The pre 1928 ones are the best. The stories are a little rambing & some of Oojah's phrases are a little over-repeated but the books still have a charm. The thicker books we didn't find that interesting as unlike the earlier annuals, the stories are mainly Oojah & a bit too much with no variety. Also see "Once Upon A Time" annual as 48 pages of Oojah stories as well as the 1922 Joy Book for more, before his annuals began.

The Oojah stories we've found to be good if overlong stories but Oojah himself is a bit annoying which is a pity as he's the main character. The non-Oojah stories were better.

OOJAH HOUSE 1922 (thin paperback)
OOJAH Annual 1923 (1ST ONE) 1923 AD ON BACK
OOJAH Annual 1925 (FEED BABY)
OOJAH Annual 1926 (OOJAH IN HAT)
OOJAH'S TREASURE TRUNK (1927) (exists with colour dust jacket)
OOJAH Annual (UNCLE OOJAH'S BIG Annual) (1928/9 Donjeroo)
OOJAH Annual (UNCLE OOJAH'S BIG Annual) (1932? Flying Visits)
OOJAH Annual (UNCLE OOJAH'S BIG Annual) (1933/4 Xmas Castle)
[others exist 1930s to 1950s]

BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1922-1950
This is a very nice series set in pure surreal fantasy land. The book looks delightful & beautifully drawn by the guy who drew Korky The Cat. Billy and Bunny was a long-running comic strip featured in a (can't remember the title of) Scottish Newspaper. They were drawn by James Crichton better known for drawing Korky the Cat for The Dandy comic. Billy was a young boy and Bunny was an anthropomorphised rabbit. Their stories were set in a fantasy fairytale world where they often got up to mischief. There were several annuals from 1922 to 1941 and in 1948 to 1950. Even on the last Annual, they were still wearing their early 1920s trademark spats and gaiters, a popular male fashion item from decades before. Only in a few stories do you see their legs & yes, Bunny has furry legs. These annuals were all published by John Leng & Co, London. They are nearly all on a wood based paper that can go brown & be brittle, just the first ones were on better paper. A hard series to find, of 23 books we are missing 7 still. There is another similar book with a yellow duckling "Willie Waddle" published by John Leng, but we've never got one to see further. The artwork in these books is of a very high quality, look how much detail & care is in every photo, especially how shoes are drawn, when many artists just put a quick line, not here. Very few Billy & Bunny books out there to buy.

Content of these books leans heavily on the Fairy story & the Surreal & for how nicely they are drawn, we liked them. But the whole series is just very similar with little progression as kept other characters alive which makes them seem very out of date still wearing the 1920s gaiters in 1948. Oddly on deciding to sell ours, there are not many buyers of this series, perhaps being Scotland based it didn't get seen down South?

BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1922 pulling log thru snow
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1923 (Xmas 22 on cvr) play insts outside house (thin book)
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1924 pixies house stairs (thicker book)
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1925 snowman broom
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1926 turkey
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1927 santa guns
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1928 sledging
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1929 circus characters
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1930 skis falling
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1931 santa at party (1st with colour spine cover)
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1932 train
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1933 sailing in boat
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1934 distorted mirrors (new bigger size)
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1935 billy thru hoop
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1936 punch & judy
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1937 bagpipes & drum
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1938 learner drivers
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1939 smile please
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1940 hot air balloon
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1941 riding tandem
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1948 wooden tub goose
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1949 on a swing
BILLY & BUNNY BOOK 1950 on horse chasing cat


This is a series of books that keeps the pre 1926 high quality ideas longer than any other. This annual series was hugely popular & they got great artists & storywriters being so successful, compared to some annuals that lost their way fast. Makes the series a delight to read & you get their cartoon strips too, if the writing a bit small compared to the newspaper size ones. But times changed fast during the life of the series, they may have appeared old fashioned & sales were clearly very low on the 1930s Wilfred Annuals, to the point the 1938 one was the last & sold cheaper than usual as the Pip & Squeak Annual advertises. The 1939 Pip & Squeak says it incorporates the Wilfred Annual, but itself it a very hard year to find. By this time the Teddy Tail & Bobby Bear books were outselling them. Wilfred's Annual was aimed at younger readers, the stories may be a bit simplistic, but the artwork is excellent through the series. Only the last few books suffer with the cheap paper meaning they go brown, when the pre 1931 ones are on the nice art paper. The Uncle Dick's (Competition) Annual is a rare series from 1930-32 that is basically a book of competitions with barely any storybook or PS&W content. We had all 3 but they got sold on as of minor interest. The Cartoon strips are pleasant if perhaps a bit homely at times, although what else was there at the time you may say, though there are crazy things like the Russian Spies Popski & his dog & Auntie & her odd ways as well as the vintage appeal. There are Mirror Grange related postcards & a book as this was the Houise they lived in from later on in the series. The 2 mid 1950s books are a different thing entirely. Drawn by a new artist as AB Payne died these update a little coarsely, making a bowtied Wilfred speak Golly Gosh & the like, it is of it's 1950s era, but lacks the warmth of the original series. The first Iceskating cover one is not too hard to find, but showing the lack of interest, the second chequered cover one is particularly rare, one we nearly got from Australia got lost in the floods & another we have now is spineless.

The series had money spent as the superior content shows. As an example, the 1926 annual has a few remarkable stories early on, anarchistic & odd things to read you'd not expect. One story about the Garden of Forgotten Dreams with adults wanting to get back in is rather deep. One story mentions the Game Of Bears, but what was it?

The Daily Mirror Saturday editions featured 4 pages of PS&W, later dropped to 2 pages. There were daily editions of the cartoons as well as Sunday editions in the sister paper The Sunday Pictoral. There will be a collection of every PS&W cartoon somewhere, we had the early Teddy Tail comic strips gathered into a book & part of these were never reprinted. Back to PS&W, we know the Pip & Squeak 1923 annual had sold 100,000 copies by Xmas 1922 as we read it in our bound edition of the first 100 editions of the Saturday Pullout sections. They said on the papers to save them & imagine a child keeping these for 2 years until a kindly relative got them bound into a book. The first one was a little tatty & only a few snips out of the whole lot keep it from being 100% complete. So only we can tell Wikipedia this... "The Daily Mirror featured a Saturday 4-page pull-out comic supplement, starting on Saturday, October 15, 1921, which was titled The Adventures of Pip, Squeak and Wilfred : No 1 - Thrills in the Printing Works. Later editions reduced to 3 pages on 25 March 1922, then to 2 pages on 8 July 1922 until the supplement ended c1924." The Daily Mirror a few years ago was intending to put every newspaper online since 1903 & now another site does this, so in effect you could get every one of them, though WW2 era ones are missing. Archives exist with microfilms & actual papers. This website www.ukpressonline.co.uk/ teases with samples of the PS&W, to buy a year's access to download the lot is £100, no other previews if registering. But from getting hifi manuals, what is the quality like? 3rd gen photocopy is often all there is in hifi circles & then they say copyright issues may exist. It appears the Daily Mirror ones are old microfilms, we heard the Colindale Newspaper Library skipped all the "unwanted" paper versions years ago. Depends on your obsession. We have the first 100 on the original paper. We'll go through them & add info as a digest on if we see enough interest, reading about things you have no idea about is always welcome to us.

We like this series a lot. The quality of stories & artwork must rank as the best of these books, closely followed by Playbox. The only criticism is the PS+W comic strips wording is a bit tiny in the size it is. To have a full set of this annual is essential if these books are your interest. The Uncle Dick's Competition Annual are of no real worth to read for stories, being mainly puzzles & the odd cartoon strip. The Wilfred's Annual is a delight too, must have sold far less copies & is hard to find, but the content if a bit simple at times is still very high.

PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1923 (exists with glassine dust jacket)
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1924
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1925
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1926
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1927
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1928
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1929
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1930
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1931
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1932
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1933
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1934 + red frame
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1935
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1936
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1937
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1938
PIP & SQUEAK Annual 1939 includes WILFRED'S Annual


WILFRED'S Annual 1924
WILFRED'S Annual 1925
WILFRED'S Annual 1926
WILFRED'S Annual 1927 (exists with colour dust jacket)
WILFRED'S Annual 1928 (exists with colour dust jacket)
WILFRED'S Annual 1929 (exists with colour dust jacket)
WILFRED'S Annual 1930 (exists with colour dust jacket)
WILFRED'S Annual 1931
WILFRED'S Annual 1932
WILFRED'S Annual 1933
WILFRED'S Annual 1934 + Pantomime cutout insert
WILFRED'S Annual 1935 (exists with glassine dust jacket)
WILFRED'S Annual 1936
WILFRED'S Annual 1937
WILFRED'S Annual 1938

FELIX THE CAT ANNUAL 1924-1929, 1962
Felix the Cat began in a 1919 cartoon in which he actually died at the end, but the character was clearly very popular from this cartoon and he made at least 178 cartoons all in the silent era. We have a lot of these cartoons & added on old music to make them watchable & the pure inventiveness in these cartoons is sadly forgotten except for some cheap DVDs. A full retrospective of Felix in 2019 when he's 100 would be welcome. Felix is a very enduring character, first revived in 1935 for some uncharacteristic colour cartoons & late 1950s cartoon series with his "Bag Of Tricks". Further revivals in the 1990s & a film even keep Felix very familiar, if his best early work mostly hidden. The Annuals reprint Newspaper cartoon strips. The 1960s annual is a disappointing rewrite of Felix as a bland family man cat. The 1920s books are essential reading, though Felix is a Cat of means & meanness & deep Surreality as the annuals progress. In the Comic strips all characters speak including Felix, in the cartoons more visual jokes are used. The best retrospective book to read about Felix is the "Twisted Tale of" book. The 1920s Annuals are still found, though condition is never that high as the books were popular. Colour plates & a Paper Shop request coupon in one are the hard parts to find intact. There are a lot of Felix The Cat postcards issued in the early 1920s, some funnier than others. Some are rare, some must have been found as NOS box fulls. a nice set to buy.

The stories are fascinating & as so early, quite harsh in how characters are treated & it all ends up deeply surreal by the later books. Essential books to buy if the Cartoon aspect appeals.

6 of them plus the 1962 revival, all undated but copyright dates on the comic strips help put them in order. All with plain cloth spines. Pages are numbered. All have pictoral endpapers same both ends except 1923 has 4 different cameos. all have "Ovaltine" adverts on the back & some of these adverts appear on other annuals too.

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1924 (plain yellow) 4 plates: frontis "Loud Yell", p16 "Some Pace", p64 "This'll Get 'Em", p80 "Strong Cheese This". 95 pages numbered, last page "So Long".

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1925 (yellow & river) 4 plates: frontis "Now For A Little Trip", p16 "Swell Feed", p64 "Want A Feed?", p80 "Many A Slip". 95 pages numbered, last page "Next Please".

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1926 (checkered) 4 plates: frontis "Fell Backwards", p16 "Mule Jumped", p64 "Make Myself Cosy", p80 "Tantalise Him". 95 pages numbered, last page "The Sad End". Also has rare "Sunday Herald" newasagent form with a perforated edge "Please supply the Daily Herald.." with name & address box. If yours only has the paper strip, that's what was there.

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1927
(stained glass) 4 plates: frontis "How I Hate Water", p16 "The Last Button", p64 "The Ground Is Rising", p80 "Nine Lives". 95 pages numbered, last page "And So To Bed".

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1928
(air balloon & polar bears) 4 plates: frontis "Peepers Shining", p16 "Shout Him Down", p64 "Hop Along In", p81 "Surprise Soon". 96 pages numbered, last "The End Of A Perfect Book".

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1929
(on planet) 4 plates: frontis "Castles", p16 "Grinning Lunatics", p64 "Quiet Snooze", p80 "Now We're All Right". 96 pages numbered. Last page with "Good. There's Next Year's Annual On The Horizon", sadly the new sound cartoons from Disney & others made Felix lose popularity in 1929 to a huge degree & no 1930 annual was issued.

FELIX THE CAT Annual 1962
(family in car) content unrelated to earlier character.

BONZO'S BOOK, BONZO'S Annual 1925-1952
Bonzo was a UK character best known for a range of Postcards. There are 33 cartoons mostly from 1925 that extend stories & ideas, some cartoons are findable still. There were 3 Bonzo's Books from 1925 (On Film), 1927 (The New) & 1929 (Bonzooloo). Then mid 1930s a range of thicker books as Annuals 1935-1938 & another from 1947-1952 that are story based & different to the 1920s books. These we've had, but the stories are a bit young & simplistic if the books are attractively illustrated, the last ones in colour. The 1930s annuals are pretty rare, the later ones not hard to find, if as ever high grade is not findable with most children's annuals due to their original owners liking them.

The first book is a mix of many things & is interesting if not as readable as other series. Not had the other 2, but having had 2 of the 1930s & all of the later, these are written for young readers & are cute if a bit lightweight.

BONZO'S BOOK - THE NEW BONZO BOOK (riding bone) (1927)
BONZO'S Annual 1935 (LAUGHTER Annual)
BONZO'S Annual 1937 (CLOWN)
BONZO'S Annual 1938 (SKIPPING)
BONZO'S Annual 1947 (JACK IN BOX)
BONZO'S Annual 1948 (DONKEY & CART)
BONZO'S Annual 1950 (PARROT)
BONZO'S Annual 1951 (COWBOY)
BONZO'S Annual 1952 (ROCKET)

See the Eb & Flo Annual section for more about Wilfred Haughton, a UK based artist who drew characters for Deans Annuals & The Mickey Mouse Weekly comic. These UK annuals have no USA comic strip content, only WH's take on Mickey & to us they are more appealing than the USA Mickey Mouse comic strips, as WH has an eye for a corny joke, surrealism & some "unusual content", read on. The drawings are delightful & the stories are nice reading if a little on the insane side, as was WH's style. Legendary chap. These books can vary hugely in price, high grade ones are generally not findable now & even a tatty no-spine one won't be cheap, from £30 upwards for a no spine but clean complete one is an idea, much less for a wreck or cut or coloured in & high prices for the best. Ignore the comments one USA site says about one early annual, several actually have this content. The similar Cartoons films were not "banned" until the late 1960s & that particular book is no rarer than the other books of the series. USA buyers are slow picking up on these annuals & are/were the ones paying the high prices. Incidentally a noted "60s Rock Guru" nicked a Mickey Mouse story direct from one of these annuals & used it as his own, Mickey has lost his key in a dark alley but chooses to look by the nearby streetlamp as it's brighter there. Some 60s Hippy phony used this story as his own making out it was philosophy. Turn On, Tune In, Nick a Mickey Joke. Our reviews are in the manner of how the books are written and the book's content is different to the Cartoon films, nearly all being outside rural scenes.

We are using these pages to point out the fact Disney did not create these books, Wilfred Haughton did & based it on his knowledge with the EB' & Flo' series & life & what he saw in the Disney cartoons. He merely reflected life at the time & only 30 years after these ones we list did the content get viewed in other ways. It is not controversial & it's not unique, views were representative of the time. Read more on that elsewhere on this page. We did consider listing the non-PC elements, but then it'll alert the wrong sort of interest, so no.

The books are a good read with Wilfred Haughton's stories & fine drawings. Again like the Felix series, the first 10 books are an essential buy, if not a cheap one.

Because of one idiot USA seller, the 1932 book has been tagged as "controversial". No it isn't, it was ideals of life from 80 years ago & different to today's views. The book is no rarer than others in the series & certainly wasn't banned or withdrawn, if you believe the hype & the fact this awful person wanted $1000+ for their spineless £30-40 copy, then stop reading our page. Read the section above the one entitled "Repeated Content" to wise up a little & not accuse based on 60-100 years ago when life was different.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1931 (On Stool)
The first Mickey Annual. The cover picture is a little odd looking & doesn't look like a Wilfred H drawing for it's awkwardness, Mickey on a green stool left hand scratches his left eyeball & the right draws a mouse on a plain paper book that is balanced in mid air. Nice surreal drawing suits the book, if perhaps not as intended. The back cover is always the same as the front on the 1931-40 annuals. The very hard to find spine cover has wording in the centre, above has Mickey & a drum, lower has Mickey & Minnie dancing. Inside a Maze page is often completed. The style of the book looks very early in comparison to the later ones & is a delight. The Colour Plates are important and 4 are put at regular intervals between the unpaginated thick card pages, as was the construction of the series until the post war thinner books. Frontis is "Their Annual", 2nd "Plenty Of Powder" appears opposite "Time" page. 3rd is "Blow It" opposite "Mistletoe & The Screen", 4th is "Unfinished Symphony" opposite "A 'band' on". Towards the end is a Peek Freans ad & a Gibbs Dentifrice ad, both with Mickey. The Gibbs is the last printed page.

WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!! Timothy Leary must have read this book.
An early cartoon "Strike A Light" is Mickey looking for a lost shilling he dropped up the lane. Why are you looking here? asks Minnie, because it's too dark up there. The Timothy Leary "The Psychedelic Experience" insert to the 1966 LP shows a very similar scenario with a drunk being asked by a policeman. One line in both is almost the same. Mickey Mouse Guru indeed. We found this as we play strange LPs & read Mickey Mouse books. No-one else knows this, we found this out after first reading the Mickey book when we got it & oddly read the LP insert shortly after, if the LP wasn't our bag. Genius.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1932 (Rollerskates)
Second one has Mickey on Rollerskates & a Deco styled pattern background. Hard to find clean & complete. Spine is a smiling Mickey reading a red covered book at a wooden desk. Inside the "Dotty" page is often done, "Find The Cash" has totals added in. "4 2 Of U" page gets the dots joined. The book sadly has a Cut-Outs section, the first page has a Mickey cameo on a mostly blank pages & horror of horrors a page of number discs to cut out. "Cut Out All These Numbers Carefully" says Mickey, unaware it seriously devalues the book 80 years later. A Snakes & Ladders type game is on 2 double pages meaning the book gets pushed flat & pop goes the spine. 4 plates again, Frontis is "Rolling Stock", 2nd is "Stars An Stripes" facing the Z alphabet page, 3rd is "The Crow Bar" facing "A Stiff Proposition" which is a funny for older readers. 4th is "Now I'll Bait My Hook" facing "Water Shame". The ads towards the end are Peek Freans again & Kiwi Boot Polish advert. The last printed page is the "Cash" page solution.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1933 (Back Again)

Third one again has a Deco background with Mickey in a Classical pose one foot on an orb pointing a bow & arrow. As the spine shows Mickey facing away, it looks like he is aiming to kill himself. My. Colour plates are now just one per book & we've had a few of this year proving other sources inaccurate. The Frontis is "Miles Behind". The style of drawing is more sophisticated than the first two books. This is the first book with WH's insane rambling stories in where puns are at every turn. Exhausting. You'll note the pictures appear before the story catches up, which adds to the mindbending. One story entitled "Mickey Comes Out" isn't about that, no... but instead heads into the macabre with Mickey & Minnie throwing bits of dismembered dead dog & cat at each other. Honest. Also the "Doctor's Orders" features Minnie having boiled her dog to death. Another "A Close Shave" shows Mickey intending to commit suicide. This was pre the Hays Code of 1934 & these are genuinely in the book. OMG indeed. The final page is a puzzle solution.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1934 (Out Again)

Fourth one has Mickey playing Cricket, but apparently it's by himself. The best games are played by yourself aren't they, readers? The spine appears to be Mickey climbing out of a broken ice lake that says Danger & he seems to be singing too. Insane. The frontis is "Miles Of Smiles" as they wave to other Disney type characters who've apparently had their heads cut off & placed in a line. With shoulders there'd be a gap, but there isn't. Only Pluto & a cow remain intact. The story type changes but is as irrelevant as ever. Oddly this book is paginated, or has numbered pages to the non-pretentious., They go from 5 to 125 as it happens with a full set in between. The last page is a Kiwi advert drawn as a usual one-page story.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1935 (So Bracing)
Fifth one again features Mickey on the front, no point putting anyone else, eh? Appears to have made a double bass from a huge frying pan & some braces, so it will sound lovely. Characters appear in the background, but are only able to stand on one foot. Gout probably. The spine is a striking one as Mickey stares through a cut-out in your book from inside, but someone has nailed his hand to the spine. Christ got Mickey. The back cover is the same picture, but without any of the wording. The frontis is "In Addition" where Pluto has lost his yellow. Unpaginated. "Mickey's Working Model" wants you to Cut-Out a horse to make it jump. A Dice game appears about a third way in & it also asks you to Cut Out ear counters to play it. Last page is "A Happy Gathering" facing another Kiwi advert cartoon.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1936 (Entertaining)

Sixth one has a plain red cover with a displeased Minnie sitting on the fence too lazy to move for a splinter as is revealed on the back. No it isn't. Mickey strikes a pose Chuck Berry would be doing 20 years later. The spine shows a sunburnt Pluto listening out for his dinner. The frontis plate has an amusing title "One For His Knob" and you'll have to buy the book to read that fishy tale. A double page "The Duck Shoot" fortunately has no cut-outs but oddly doesn't say what to use as markers. Based on the 1933 macabre story, perhaps you had to rip out your fingernails or pop an eyeball to play or expend an extraneous nipple. There is no instruction given. We're worried. Oh, we missed it says "Counters" in the page seam fold so all is alright after all. Phew. Another game of "Mickey's Golf" does confuse as you must throw up & use that as your marker... "see how many throws it takes". Beguiling. Yet another game to find 3 letter words & the game says "Copyright W.H." which is actually the only credit he's given in these books. Oddly it says only Mickey & Minnie can play it, so what's the point in printing it? Oh gawd, yet more games, "Mickey's Tug-O-War" and it again says only Mickey & Minnie can play it. Shall we change our names by Deed Poll, Mother? Rather. An amusing "The Bear Idea" features a mouse headed bear. Another game based on Cricket appears. The typist has played all the games & read all the stories. More macabre tales in "10 Little Mickey Kids", my he has been busy. Off to make more as they all gone. Last page after the Kiwi ad has the riddle answer which is "Lo(u)nger" so now you know if your page is missing. If it's not, don't read that bit as it'll spoil the book for you.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1937 (Still Sailing Merrily On)

The Seventh book sees Mickey & Minnie in Venice on a washpan boat & Horace is directing all the traffic except there is none. Odd to use Horace as he was mostly used pre Pluto era. The spine shows Mickey sat on a pole & a skinny Donald Duck by the pole. The frontis is "Goofy's Resterong Car". They all seem particularly happy with it. Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck & even Max Hare appear in the stories now. Ends with a typically nice Kiwi advert then puzzle solutions. No games or cut outs in this annual. A crazy putting lipstick on a Hippo cartoon is deeply surreal.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1938 (Let's Get Together Again)

The Eighth book shows the series is maturing more, the barnyard humour differs though nearly all are set outside as was WH's forte & why he couldn't do the uptown stuff Deans wanted as the Cartoon films progressed. Mickey stands on a high green block waving at someone in the distance, as he's not looking at anyone below him. Toby The Tortoise has other things on his mind as his line of sight shows. The spine shows the dismembered floating heads style that was still used into the early 1960s, though the life status of the lower two is somewhat in question. The frontis is "Cuckoo." as Goofy ponders a bird in the Hulme-Beaman manner. Our book is marked 2/6 as it was sold new at. A Cut-Out page appears near the start & the other side is a regular comic page, "That's Goofy 'Oil' Over" so if yours is cut, you'll be Goofyless. Plenty of other Disney cartoon characters in the book now as was started in the previous annual, making it too much family-type jokes, too many perhaps & on reading these, we liked the Barnyard stuff more with just the few characters. A Kiwi advert & "This Is The End" round off the book. These later books we didn't find as enjoyable as being told that's not acceptable anymore reduces the imagination.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1939 (Still On Top)
The Ninth Annual features Mickey catching a wave on a rudimentary surfboard, oddly not aware Minnie is on the surfboard too. There are no double-user surfboards, we Googled it. Artistic license. The spine shows Mickey playing a guitar under a coconut laden Palm tree. Frontis is "A Scratch Lot" where the excesses of carefree living appear to have caught up with them all. The title page names them "The Crazy Gang", so much for the Flanagan & Allen lot. Nothing too noteworthy in this book strangely, lots of characters as before & if you liked the last book, you'll not hate this one. A game "Goofy Golf" has those marks printed, so don't try to rub them out. Try to rub out the Score Card without taking the ink layer off too. It happens. Kiwi advert & the answer to the riddle. After complaints about the last solution we gave, we'll still tell you "Island" is the answer & hope you complain again. The content of this book seems more real life, misfortune & anger. The 1940 book was his last, excluding his content reprinted in the 1941-45 books.

MICKEY MOUSE Annual 1940 (Another Mirthquake)
The Tenth & Final "Proper" Annual. 1941 & 1942 contain reprints as do all of the MM annuals before the 1947-48 new thin format one. The reprints are the best bits, the other content in the 1941 & 1942 as well as Wartime make those particularly hard to find, if not rewarding on content. Yellow cover with guffawing Goofy & Donald does his impression of a bear floor rug to a remarkable level of authenticity. Unusually Goofy gets the spine to himself in a waiting for a bus type pose, but no pole or bus visible. Frontis is an unusual landscape format "Goofy Has An Idea". To see whether or not it was a good one will cost you the book price from a collector's shop, we're not telling you. Our book smells a bit different, 1939 printed books used cheaper paper. To annoy book collectors, this has a double page of mostly lesser known Disney characters to paint. Our book's owner was disobedient & ignored it's tempting notation. And another Cut-Out section to play "Shunter's Puzzle" again the previous owner ignored that or was too challenged to know what it implied or had no friends to play the game with. Oh dear, yet another Cut-Out page, "A Real Goofy Puzzle" has Goofy laughing & pointing at your missing page that the book dealer didn't tell you was missing & charged full whack still. It only has rectangles of bits of snake you had to make into a picture of a full snake. Why bother, eh lads, just look in your... oops, wrong site. The other side of the snakey page is a "The Rail-Way" cartoon page so you are snookered with it cut out. Another "The House Of Seven Dwarfs" invites again to Cut-Out character discs & play a game & it's backed with a "Hard". titled cartoon page. A further "Crossing The Bridge" requires counters or buttons to play. The last pages feature an "Adieu" page perhaps knowing by WH that the MM annuals were finished for him. Next solutions, Kiwi advert with Goofy & Donald ends the book.

We hope you enjoyed your stay at our Mickey Hotel. The Barnyard & Depression Era Hobo type humour must have seemed old fashioned by 1936 as the World reawoke to New York uptown ideals & those old Hillbilly ideals were left Down South in the USA, Northern USA went uptown & sharp & the Disney Cartoons were much more sophisticated, if not as enjoyable with the Hays code tidy up. Progress isn't always good. Read our Hifi pages for examples, the Oldies are the best.

MICKEY MOUSE: MORE ADVENTURES OF (1932) (Book No 2 blacked out on few covers)
[many others exist from 1941 onwards]

Flip was an early cartoon character who made 39 cartoons from 1931 to 1933. Pretty much forgotten, though now you can get most of them on DVD, look out for the "Office Boy" one with scenes that led to the 1934 Hays Code, together with Betty Boop. Sadly no Betty Boop annuals exist, her early cartoons were top quality. The annual was a one-off drawn by Wilfred Haughton. In 1932, a Flip The Frog Annual was issued in England by Dean & Son Ltd. Published "by exclusive arrangement with Ub Iwerks, The Originator of The Film Character, Flip The Frog", it was drawn by Wilfred Haughton, who also drew the early Mickey Mouse Annuals for Deans. The Annual only ran for one edition, based on Flip's ending in 1933 and the lack of success with it. The earlier, more froglike character was used rather than the later version. The book contains 11 full cartoon strip stories, 4 colour plates and other one-page items that are not derived from any of his cartoons. All the adventures take place outside, unlike the cartoons, and feature additional characters, including a Policeman, a girlfriend called Flap, an Uncle Flop who is only mentioned, Freddie the Fox, and others not shown in the cartoon films. From the section we put on Wikipedia. The Flip Annual is pleasant, but not related to the Cartoons much & it appears to be findable mostly in poor grade, it turns up as often as the 1931-32 Mickey Mouse annuals, so it sold reasonably well. One copy we had was dated "8/31" and priced "2/6" written in pencil inside, clearly an early copy. The book construction is like the early Mickey Annuals too & complete spines are very rare. Books we've had in any grade on the outside don't appear to have been read much on the inside & the plates are usually more complete than the Mickey Mouse ones. The content is still appealing, but being so unlike the Cartoon films, it may have been a hard book for the owners to get into. The stories are readable but not as fast funnies as the MM ones. Some of Flip's extra characters look like they've come direct from the Mickey Mouse books as we typed this the same day we wrote the MM section. It is a delightful book & if you like the first few Mickey Mouse annuals this will certainly appeal.

We wrote this next bit in 2008 about the 1932 Annual for Wikipedia... In 1932, a 'Flip The Frog' Annual was issued in England by Dean & Son Ltd. Published by exclusive arrangement with Ub Iwerks, The Originator of The Film Character, Flip The Frog, it was drawn by the Deans staff who also drew the 'Mickey Mouse' Annuals. The Annual only ran to one edition, based on Flip finishing in 1933 and the lack of success with it. The early more Frog-like character was used, rather than the later version. The book contains 11 full cartoon strip stories and other one-page items that are not derived from any of his cartoons. All the adventures take place outside unlike the cartoons, and feature additional characters including a Fox, a Policeman, a girlfriend Flap, a mentioned Uncle Flop and others not shown in the cartoon films.

FLIP THE FROG Annual (1931)
The same size as the Mickey Mouse annuals, it appears the stories could be rewritten for Mickey & Minnie. They are longer stories in cartoon form with side text panels though still the speech balloons. Wilfred Haughton appears to have invented a group of friends to fill out the stories as Flip in the cartoons is a solitary character moving from one scenario to another, no real continuity like the Disney ones had. 4 colour plates, the frontis "Young Man. How Dare You...", 2nd is "Haul Down The Main Sheet" facing "Wild West - 12", 3rd is "A Shock In A Minute" faces "The Early Bird - 12", the 4th is "Been Hunting wild" opposite "Facing The Music - 2" Generally the stories are Farmyard based & stay nearby though one story "All At Sea" involves making a raft & going travelling. The last page is "A Trunk Call - 18".

Until we took an interest, this series was unknown, undocumented & sadly went unwanted. Their rather dry but amusing style appealed so we searched out the 8 books we detail below. Oh and we wrote a bit for Wikipedia that we see quoted by all sellers of these books. Helped get us the set & you rarely see more than a few of the earlier ones. Again Karma provides the Caring One who will publicise the series with a full set & quite quickly except the last one which we found in Australia. Tim, Toots & Teeny' were a cartoon strip in the Daily Chronicle newspaper from at least 1929, and there were several annuals issued starting in 1930 to at least 1937, as the undated 1931 to 1938 Annuals inclusive. Whether there are any later books is unlikely, as we get the idea the cartoon in the Newspaper ended in c1936 as extra content is in the annuals to fill it, see more below.

From our Wikipedia section, from our unique research... These annuals were published by George Newnes of London, and feature Tim (a cat), Toots (a pig) and Tiny (a duck). The first 1931 Annual states 'A Whole Year Of Adventure with the Famous Pets'. No artist or linked newspaper name is mentioned in these annuals, leaving them remaining unknown until two Christmas and Birthday postcards revealed their origins, by postcards we got. A copy of the 1934 annual was found in the printer's archives, Jarrold & Sons Ltd, Norwich, stamped 'Jarrolds Factory Book Dept.' and we have this copy. On seeing how few of these books are findable at any time, it again shows he who will champion an unknown gets the set to tell the world about. So here 'tis. The last book we got in Australia, clearly UK has strong ties with Oz, but sadly the seller knew nothing of where the book came from when we asked. It's remarkable a Cartoon strip could be in a national newspaper for 8 years from 1929-1936 by our reckoning & yet remain so obscure.

THREE RARE POSTCARDS... They aren't actually proper Royal Mail type postcards and as they needed the dividing line like the Felix The Cat ones we had loads of once. These are actually a card, but not the typical fold-in-half type card, these are 140mm x 90mm postcard sized with unprinted blank backs. Both feature the 3 characters & Mother Bear. The 1929 dated one with a "1929 for New Year 1930" dedication has "Wishing You A Happy Christmas, Tim, Toots, Teeny of The Daily Chronicle. The names are in young looking handwriting & the picture is by the usual (unknown) artist & is of a christmas tree & dinner table & the usual decorations etc. in B&W with a red room wall. The other one was received "On her 8th Birthday 1930" and is a homely scene of a huge cake on a table-clothed table with "Wishing You A Happy Birthday from Tim Toots and Teeny of The Daily Chronicle" but without the handwriting style. There is another earlier looking portrait format card with "The Teeny Club" with 'Birthday Greetings to ..... from Tim, Toots & Teeny of the Daily Chronicle, with Tim & Toots at a table with Teeny using a stool as a table but knocking the stool & paper and ink contents over. All are blank backs with no printer name even, so will have been for the "Teeny Club" Fan Club subscribers.

We've seen similar cards from later Teddy Tail & Bobby Bear Fan Clubs and Pip, Squeak & Wilfred WLOG items exist too, no doubt News Chronicle had one for TT&T, but again, why so totally unknown? It may have only run from the start in 1929 & interest waned by 1930 renewal? If they weren't popular to a degree, the 8 annuals wouldn't be printed. No-one prints 8 annuals for vanity & no sales. We liked reading the books & have read them all now. If they were dull they'd not have got us reading so fast, as interested with them as the Felix & Mickey annuals.

The content is mostly cartoon strips, some with speech bubbles that look earlier. The strips are the characters who are a little surreally bland yet never learn, but with action in every story, cross adults being annoyed & general anarchy, the dry tone suits it well and is a good read. One of those books you'll want to read through as you'll like it too, rather than get bored of it. Oddly not much known - anything known beyond our research, but we like them, so we tell. We enjoyed reading the series & they have a surreal appeal beyond Japhet & Happy, Bobby Bear or Teddy Tail which could be a bit too ordinary. If you like the Felix & Mickey annuals, you'll like these.

The series must have ended in the Newspaper around 1936 as the last 2 annuals have the usual comic strips, but also a sizeable amount of pages of extra unrelated stories with more freeform pencil drawn artwork in the last one, but the stories are acceptable quality & have the author's names. To make as many annuals out of the strips appears to be the idea. The 1937 book has p21-52 and p77-108 as 64 pages of stories not strips in a 128 page book. The 1938 book has p21-32 and p77-112 as 48 pages of the stories in a 112 page book.

The 1937 book has an 'undocumented' Enid Blyton story "The Unlucky Feather" A Tale of the Flopperty Bird, Told by Enid Blyton, Drawings by Horace Knowles. Google reveals it's actually a reprint from Newnes' Children's Summer Annual [1929] (George Newnes 1929), the same publishers as the TT&T series. Research may show others in the last two were reprints, as the quality of them is high.

THE YEAR DATING is of our recreation, based on having all the books & seeing differences. Some had dates written inside, but as with other annuals the book may be a year old old stock given. These dates are accurate as comparing back covers & drawing styles.

TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1931 (Orange Car)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1932 (Leapfrog)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1933 (Train)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1934 (Bicycle)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1935 (Toy Plane)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1936 (River Boat)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1937 (Treehouse)
TIM, TOOTS & TEENY Annual 1938 (Fairground)

EB' & FLO' ANNUAL 1939
Another of our Wikipedia pages... Eb and Flo were drawn by Wilfred Haughton who also drew the Mickey Mouse Annuals from 1931 to 1939 and the Weekly Comic covers as well as the'Bobby Bear annuals in the 1930s. Haughton first drew this cartoon strip for The Daily Herald before his 1930s Disney work. It was about two Negro orphans, Ebenezer and Florence, who acted as parents to the unnamed Twins. Also featured were Timothy - a school pal, Uncles Joe and Desmond, Auntie Kate, Gran'pa and their pup, Sausage. There was a later annual published in 1939 (as dated by a 1939 inscription as found in a copy) by Deans called Eb' and Flo' annual which featured stories and reprinted cartoon strips all in a similar style to the Mickey Mouse annuals. From their initial appearance in the late 1920s, an enamelled badge shows Eb and Flo were the characters related to the 'Cheery Coons Club' for the Sunday People newspaper in the early 1930s.

A Wilfred Haughton newspaper comic strip that he started in the 1920s for The Daily Herald before his 1930s Disney work in the Mickey Mouse annuals & UK Comics. It was about two Negro orphans, Ebenezer and Florence, who acted as parents to the unnamed Twins. Also featured were Timothy - a school pal, Uncles Joe and Desmond, Auntie Kate, Gran'pa and their pup, Sausage. There was a later annual published in 1939 (as dated by a 1939 inscription as found in a copy we sold) by Deans called Eb' and Flo' annual which featured stories and reprinted cartoon strips all in a similar style to the Mickey Mouse annuals. From their initial appearance in the late 1920s, an enamelled badge shows Eb and Flo were the characters related to the 'Cheery Coons Club' for the Sunday People newspaper in the early 1930s. Again, read up on the history of the word. The content was quite simplistic, no outdated words at all, just a silly fun type of strip. The characters were based on ideals of the Southern USA type black person with the sort of hokum not dissimilar to his Mickey Mouse books. Wilfred Haughton's name is now better known on the internet because of our research & we sold one copy of this rare book to some relations of WH who said they had his archives still. We suggest to anyone with this sort of archive: get it published as the animation-comic world would appreciate it. Wilfred Haughton is a minor but important illustrator & needs more recognition. Sadly Wilfred Haughton stopped doing cartoons by 1940, except for some tiny books he illustrated, as Disney & Deans wanted him to update his Country styled drawings to the more Uptown NY style more in favour, but he refused. Maybe that style he couldn't relate to or had no knowledge of. He also illustrated the 1932-1940 Teddy Tail Annuals, only one illustration bears his "WH" signature, though his style & lettering is familiar to those who have read the Mickey Mouse annuals.

Inside the EB' AND FLO' Annual (1939)
Now this book is all there is beyond the Newspaper strips that we don't know if are repeated in this book or it's new content. How this book was accepted is unknown, it clearly didn't sell as perhaps years after the comic strips ended? The fact it's called an "Annual" but there are no other editions than this one could be from poor sales & WW2 had started by the time a new edition would be printed. Much unknown still. It shows Eb' & Flo' just as Southern Negros of the era living a Hillbilly type life. It is a particularly rare book & as a 1939 book the paper is that cheaper type that smells different & can go brown & crumble. The Book Cover is the same back & front, with "Eb' and Flo' Annual" and "Here's Fun". Playing with a hosepipe, Eb' is standing on it as the Twins & the dog called Sausage run about. The spine is a rare thing, the thin paper slick is long gone on all others, but we got one over 90% complete. The coloured line band under the book title continues onto the spine and if the book opened out, appears as a cross shape with a vertical line of the same coloured line band design going down the spine. It has "Eb'" then a large ampersand with a face of one of the Twins amid it then "Flo'" beneath it. Then "Annual" is in similar writing as the 'Here's Fun' & then a black band encloses the red "Dean" word. On opening the book, the base grade paper is evident by it's roughness. There is a colour frontis with 4 characters in a tipped up boat and an onlooker paddling in the shallow water is titled "Hard Row". The Introduction gives the character's names as detailed above. They are depicted as shoeless Country folk of the era, a woman has the pointy hair Piccaninny ribbons but mostly of no other defining behaviour beyond the slightly cringeworthy wording such as "Lubly", "In De...", "It Am...". Other English is spoken perfectly though it's a bit random, but gives their language some idea of their tongue. The appealing & friendly stories could have any other characters of similar Southern origin and it would make little difference. A book that is a nice read for those of an open mind, but the subjects are a bit limited, probably aimed at younger readers, so read short bits occasionally or it'll be too much. Visually it has the warm charm of other WH books & many cartoon strips are signed "Haughton" meaning they probably are newspaper reprints & arranged 3 squares to the book type format. Several of the text stories are embellished stories to the related cartoon strip. The text that goes with the strips is best read after the speech bubble text to make it a better read. The characters are likeable & friendly & clearly educated to say the words they do. Pages are numbered 6 to 124 & page 124 is the last printed one, no closing page like other annuals have.

We rewote the useless Wikipedia page after we read through the whole 1963-2009 cartoon annual series, as reprinted from the Newspaper strips. Only one reading the lot would find this info & we've got this from a 2009 edit so it's still our words. We used to like Fred Basset as a kid & cut out the newspaper strips as well as first buying the annual for a few years, only revisiting the series decades later as you do. So Wikipedia has our original research, if as typical only to be desecrated by every numpty since. The world can be unappreciative can't it, readers? Gerrrrahtavit! The Alex Graham Freds are the best by far, the new ones are less satisfying being very out of date with poor use of modern life if still in the 1960s-1970s style. We lost interest.

Fred Basset is a comic strip about a male basset hound. The cartoon was created by Scottish cartoonist Alex Graham and published first in the Daily Mail on July 8, 1963. It has since been syndicated around the world. Fred Basset has been published in the UK newspaper Daily Mail and more recently The Mail On Sunday from 1963 to the present. Alex Graham, the creator and cartoonist based Fred on his own dog Frieda and drew over 9000 comic strips. Alex Graham died on 3 December 1991. Fred's cartoon strips are renamed as Wurzel in Germany, Lillo in Italy, Lorang in Norway, Laban in Sweden and Retu, Pitko or Koiraskoira in Finland.

The comic strip. Fred's owners are a young to middle-aged husband and wife, who are not given names in the strip. The husband is a professional worker in London's City; he enjoys socialising at his local pubs, The Swan and The Chequers. He is shown often as being temperamental and spends much free time reading the newspaper, walking Fred and playing golf. The wife manages the house and the family, and has a busy life socialising with friends. She is shown several times as being a bad driver with many accidents with the family car. Known relations to the family are "her rich eccentric" Uncle Albert, and her sisters, one in UK and one overseas. A new relation introduced during the mid 1990s was mentioned as "her Aunt Flo." There are not any children in Fred's immediate family, although Amanda and the Tucker Twins appear regularly. The names and areas pictured are made from places and people Alex Graham knew, areas are said to resemble Scotland. Family friends' names would be used, as was Tinker's Wood, taken from a house Graham lived in. Topical references are kept to a minimum; one mention to The Beatles and the family's continually-recovered lounge sofa suite are the few giveaways of its age. There are mentions to New Year during 1970 and 1971 and 1 January 1973 when the UK entered the common market. The Michael Martin era strips have more topical references and mention of modern appliances, such as mobile phones and a microwave oven. Later strips by Michael Martin feature some popular culture references such as Am I Bovvered featured in the 2008 annual. The strips do not generally feature follow-on storylines; a rare storyline with Fred staying at Jock's house or Uncle Albert staying a few days are the only times the story extends beyond the one strip format. A variant of this are basic themed strips for Christmas or their Summer Holiday with no continuation. Again, later Michael Martin strips do follow on for a few days, as with a Birthday Party mentioned in the 1997 book. The more recent strips have occasional follow-on stories such as a Summer Holiday, or buying a new car. The first copyright dates, then for Associated Newspapers, were added to the cartoon strips during 1969.

The nature of Fred Fred Basset himself seems to have been born during 1959 from comments in the earliest cartoons, and in true cartoon style, seems not to age. Fred's observations can be wry and a certain amount of surrealism is evident, with one early strip having his owners mention they thought the Fred Basset strip in the day's newspaper was "quite amusing", cartoon 553 in book number 4 . Later strips mention both Fred, his owners and passers-by being surreally aware of the newspaper Fred Basset strip and commenting as such, unaware that their own Fred is the character mentioned. Fred has a certain amount of snobbishness and appreciates the finer qualities of life, as shown clearly in the Alex Graham era strips, with attitudes of the time. He is equally at home misbehaving, being selfish, chasing other dogs and being a coward when more aggressive dogs are around. A small black Scottish terrier dog, Jock, is a regular companion, as well as Yorky, a Yorkshire terrier, in later years. A Doggy-Girlfriend, Fifi the poodle appears too. An alsatian dog, referred to as Satan, is his adversary. Fred likes chasing cats but freely admits he would not know what to do with one if he caught it similar in this respect to Warner Bros. Roadrunner cartoons.

The meaning of Fred Basset The nature and intention of the Fred Basset strip can best be understood by reading several strips together, as in the Annuals. Read singly, the strips can seem too abstract by themselves. The comments made about Fred Basset cartoons on various media indicate that Fred is not always understood. Some strips are merely a surreal or whimsical description of a moment of life as seen from a dog's point of view. As very British cartoon strips, they break the normal strip rules by sometimes not having a traditional ending, a punchline or even a distinct purpose, distinguishing them from the more direct, American-style Garfield or Peanuts strips.

After Alex Graham Once the stockpiled 18 months' worth of Alex Graham cartoons had been published, they were continued in Graham's style with artwork by Michael Martin and Graham's daughter, Arran Graham, continuing the family link. They are new cartoons being published, not merely re-runs of earlier ones. The Michael Martin drawings started out with the general style and humour of the original Graham Freds, but after around 2000 a more casual style of drawing is apparent. The current cartoons still have Alex Graham's original whimsical theme. Fred and his family still live in what seems to be the 1970s, with only a few hints to modern life, such as Satnav and them finally buying a more modern car, as shown in the 2008 annual.

Fred Basset books Fred Basset features in many books worldwide, in the UK a long-running series of books reprints most of the newspaper strips. These are books number 1 from 1963 to book 45 from 1993. Later books dated by year, 1994 onwards, include the Michael Martin drawn cartoons, as well as Graham's colour ones until the Alex Graham cartoons stock had ended by the 1996 book. During 1977, a large hardback book entitled "Fred Basset and the Spaghetti" was published by The Daily Mail. It featured a children's story, not the usual comic strips, written by Alex Graham's son, Neilson, together with illustrations by Alex. During 1989, a compilation book entitled "Fred Basset Bumper Book No 2" was issued. The title has since caused confusion, as there is no Bumper Book No 1 as such. A book published during 1988, "Fred Basset 25 Years", a similar compilation, is considered its forerunner. Colour strips as used in The Mail On Sunday were added from book 36 during 1984. This backlogged the black and white strips, and by book 41 during 1989 they were still using 1984 strips. The next book 42 jumped from book 41 ending with strip 6483 to strip 8159 dated 1990. The missing cartoons remain unpublished since the original newspaper strips. The distinctive "Fred" handwriting font was supplied by Les Hulme until the early 2000s. A variant of the font is still used today. The Michael Martin era annuals from 1994 to 2008 featured earlier Alex Graham artwork on the front, yet only featured the contemporary Martin strips inside. The 2009 annual is the first one to feature a Michael Martin front cover. Fred Basset annuals are usually only printed in black & white, but for years 1984, book no 36 to 1990, book no 42, as well as the 1994 & 1995 annuals they were printed with some in colour. The current 'gocomics' online versions are usually in colour. Sadly the poor picture reprint quality that marred the 2008 volume is still present in the 2009 book. Many strips look weak and washed out on the finer detail, looking like a photocopy. Fred should rightly have an all-colour annual for today's market. One Fred Basset book appeared in USA during 1969, "Meet Fred Basset" published as a 'Fawcett Gold Medal Book'. Several books appeared in Australia from 1979-1985 and one published in Germany. As of 2009, Summersdale Publishers UK published the Fred Basset Yearbook and published a gift book featuring some of the cartoons from previous strips in colour. 'Fred Basset for Garden Lovers' was published in September 2009.

Fred Basset in other media Despite Fred's many years featured in newspapers around the world, he is not as well-known as other cartoon characters. Fred is likely the only still-currently active cartoon animal character not yet to have a full-length film made. There were just a few toys and novelty items made in the 1970s, as well as the yearly Calendar and the books mentioned. Fred Basset is currently syndicated in newspapers using the current Michael Martin strips and is available by email subscription or online direct from gocomics.com and others.

Fred Basset television cartoon series During mid 1976 a short-lived 5 minute television cartoon of Fred Basset was shown on the BBC, made by Bill Melendez Productions, voiced by actor Lionel Jeffries that was available on VHS.

References The Fred Files, Orion Books, 2005, 'Fred Basset' Annuals & books 1963-date, "Fred Basset" VHS Video Castle Vision

Additional since we wrote the main article... The nature of the TV Cartoons is a depressing low-key one without much appeal in it, a sort of moaning tone rather than much upbeat. The comic strip is not represented well here. It is no surprise that of all the Newspaper Cartoon characters, Hollywood wisely has avoided Fred, what can you do with him? He just sits around wryly observing life, not fast paced or entertaining really. The Wikipedia page before we rewrote it was sarcastic comments from Americans not understanding Fred. We liked the Alex Graham series, but the Michael Martin ones we find tedious now, just treading water as he has all the syndicates. Fred Basset is very English & perhaps Dog Owners would get the ideas better, Amazon comments are still 'loving it' if we told it how we felt & decided to stop buying the annuals as they were pointless. Fred does seem to divide opinion a lot, but for us, we liked the 1963-80 era best & this is where you should go to find the Real Fred.

The Epilogue.

So that's our Vintage Annuals interest over several years since finding Felix & Mickey annuals. We've been selling off the ones we are less interested in to actually read, or have read & time to move on, as all collecting does. But unlike the Hamer Comic Annual Price Guide states, nostalgia is not our interest as these books are Grandparents' era to us & we never saw these books before or even knew of them. Only ebay before it started to lose the nicer atmosphere brought these books to us & we got all that we found interesting. These books we note are Cartoon based as this is our interest & they all deserve to be kept alive with other good things of the past. The artwork & general feel of safety of the era is most appealing, though perhaps the Stories are a bit read one, read them all as life was limited in 1922 compared to today. We must have been buying at the right time when economics meant places were being cleared out revealing high grade loft-fresh books that we don't see being offered anymore. Our last good hit were very high grade earliest Playbox from 1909 & 1910 that look unread inside & the outers as good as you'll find. Not bothered buying much since except Tim, Toots & Teeny as well as rougher copies of rare Looking Glass cats eyes & the hard 1921 Once Upon A Time just to have them.

Beyond the Cartoon annuals, the Playbox 1909-30, Once Upon A Time 1920-21, Wonderland 1920-27, Pip & Squeak series, Wilfred's series, Joy Book 1921-28, Looking Glass all three, and Tim, Toots & Teeny are the ones we're keeping still. We read enough Oojah, Bonzo, Billy and Bunny & Japhet and Happy to find them nice. Teddy Tail & Bobby Bear both with all the early ones went the earliest and sold well. Rupert we've only got reprints & like the Mary Tourtel era if the later AE Bestall not so keen on having tried those reprints.

But it's just a shame they mostly have the blank cloth spines except the 1932-38 Wilfreds...

The 'Selling The Books' Years: 2023 Update.
For Those Struck with the Collecting Bug, to Enjoy & Move On is a Regular Deal with all Types of Collecting. We Still Have a Box of Lower Grade Coins just to Still Have Some. Looking at the USA Red Book from 2006 when the Coin Bug last hit. Not a Good Idea as as an Adult, to be Able to Buy loads of Coins to Stuff Those Sodding Whitman Folders is Lacking Any Thrill as it's Too Easy. The 1902-1936 UK Silver Shillings & 1838-1945 Silver Threepence sets we liked best as a Kid when 11. To get nearly the Full Set of the Scarce Victorian ones was a bit underwhelming as Grades were often not great. To End Up buying Mint Lustre Victorian Pennies back to about 1880 soon seen as pointless as they are Not Really Coins as Unused. Similarly getting High Grade pre 1920 Shillings, just Not Very Interesting & soon sold on. The late 18th Century Tokens the last 'Craze' if found very boring beyond Quirky Designs like Elephants with Tiger Feet as an Elephant was't known. The USA Red Book got a read through from seeing USA Coins on 'Pawn Stars'. So many are over $1000 in high grade, the leaps between MS-63 & MS-65 are insane, but it's based on Auction Prices. To realise How Boring the USA Coin scene is beyond the pre 1820 Federal Issues & the Silver & Gold ones. To see $500K paid for a plain design brown coin shows how Pointless deep collecting is. The Famous USA coins are Real Beauties & 'Pawn Stars' has shown most of them, if not an 1804 Dollar which was made decades later, but $Millions. Books we collected Full Sets. To decide to Sell Them as sets knowing how the Book Market has hugely dipped & for the fact of Postage on books over 1kg each. The Pip, Squeak & Wilfred sets sold as Sets at Realistic Prices, these Sold Fast. The Playbox Set sold a bit slower. The mixed sets like Wonderland & Puck weren't so popular & to sell too cheap which isn't good, but they need to go. Other Sets like Bobby Bear and Japhet & Happy were sold sooner so were sold singly, making decent prices. The Ones Left are the 'Starter' ones, from the Cartoon Interest, like the early Mickey Mouse, Felix The Cat & the rather Obscure Tim, Toots & Teeny that the Hamer 2000 guide didn't even list. The known info on Wikipedia is from our research & still have The Set, to read through them again. Every Christmas, to read a 100 Year Old 'Playbox' annual if to get tired of them to decide to sell in the last year or so. Books need those PVC Covers else the Plain Cloth Spines get tatty very fast in a Book Shop setting & we'd bought PVC covers for all our books several years back. To find with Records, keeping many old favourites, but gradulally selling them off after putting on YouTube to focus our attention & to help sell them. Many Great Tunes, but after the YouTube interest, to play the actual 45 to see if 'It Mattered' or not. This is interesting as ones known from over 35 years ago Still Matter as Memories in them. Some More Recent Buys past 200 matter as they are Such Great 45s. In Hi-Fii, it's a different scene. Many of our Liked Amps we've sold on as we'd finished with them at the Time. As time goes on, better Ideas Always Being Found & be sure we keep loking at the Circuit Diagrams of Amps we've had & sold to see How They Do It & Consider if we sould get that one again. The Amps we Still Have that Aren't For Sale are 'Problem' ones that have taken Years to get right, the 1969 Pioneer SX-2500 is a terrible design done so wrongly, but we've perfected it & Redesigned it deeply. This Can Way Outprice Hifi, so to Sell Any of our Many-Years Projects is Probably Best Not To. We put the 1972 Sony Pair up For Sale if Zero Interest for how 2023 is. The Work & Difficulties in those were extreme. How Would You Sell It for Our Price to a Market who we've Reviewed Ours as being 'Not All That' into What Ours Are Now?