The Enid Blyton Society
Here's the Naughtiest Girl!
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Book Details...

First edition: 1997
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Illustrator: Max Schindler
Category: Naughtiest Girl
Genre: School
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Review by Terry Gustafson

This is the final tale about Elizabeth Allen and is taken from Enid Blyton's Omnibus. Originally this young girl displayed the most shocking manners and temperament when she was sent to boarding school, but she changed. The school she attends is none other than Whyteleafe which is run by Miss Belle, Miss Best and Mr. Johns. Certain innovative procedures are followed insofar as the children themselves take care of sorting their own problems out and this can be a major part of school-life. Recalcitrant children are dealt with at the School Meetings and decisions are made which affect the boys and girls according to their behaviour. There are monitors (prefects) who are elected by popular vote and they can give permission to students when they need it for various activities and they are also charged with giving advice and generally bringing kids with rebellious spirits to heel in their everyday life prior to the next Meeting. Elizabeth, the Naughtiest Girl, is a monitor! How can that be? It's simply because her negative attitude was treated as above and she changed into a very good girl — such a swell person in fact that she made it to monitorship. She has to watch herself though because her fairly lively temper is still simmering a little beneath the surface but it's pretty well under control.

It's the summer term and the kids we all know are back again. There's Elizabeth of course and her good friends — Julian Holland (which distinguishes him from the adventuresome Kirrin adventurer who bears the same first-name) and John who's into gardening in a big way. Rosemary is back and Harry who was helped considerably with certain problems during his first term at Whyteleafe School. The rest of the students are also back and raring to go.

A boy with a sulky face who looks a bit like Julian is a new scholar and he happens to be Julian's cousin. His name is Patrick and he and Julian don't get on all that well because Patrick doesn't like being outdone by anyone and that's exactly what Julian can do whether in class or playing sport. Julian is, for want of a better word, 'Brilliant'. He can be lazy but if he wants to, he can excel over most of the people with whom he rubs shoulders. He's also a born trickster meaning that he can think up ingenious pranks to play on unsuspecting school teachers — and he does! Elizabeth is introduced to Patrick and there is instant friction when the boy makes his dislike of her and of Julian felt very strongly.

Elizabeth settles into school life once again with plans for helping in the garden and she has tennis aspirations not to mention thoughts about pony-riding and she may even attempt to top Julian in the classroom. Patrick also settles in — well, he has to, and despite his strong preference to attend a boys-only school where there would be no girls who can order him around, he manages to make a reasonably good impression at Whyteleafe because he's good at games and can be funny if he wants to although he can't imitate Julian's crazy talent for making weird noises. He's tried, but failed to make them in such a way that no one can detect the source. Julian is similar to a ventriloquist in that respect.

It's not very long at all before Patrick comes up against Elizabeth whom he has been pointedly ignoring because she's Julian's friend. A general meeting dealing with gardening and associated matters is held and everyone in the first form has to attend. Patrick doesn't because he's not interested and he goes away by himself to practice hitting balls with his racquet. Elizabeth is sent to fetch him and you might imagine what happens. Here's a girl coming to order Patrick of all people to attend a meeting. Elizabeth confronts him, but he won't accompany her. The girl's impulsiveness gets the better of her and she grabs his racquet then races off with it, and throws it into a bush on her way back to the meeting. A very angry Patrick storms after her and ends up at the venue demanding the return of his possession... No one's interested — the meeting holds priority. Patrick is ordered to sit down and he does so.

It's now raining. The racquet is outside in the bushes and getting very wet. After the meeting it's time for Elizabeth to return the racquet which is in very bad shape from the wetting it has received or at least Patrick thinks it's in very bad shape in fact he thinks that it's ruined and, putting it very, very mildly, this unfortunate accident does not help Elizabeth/Patrick relations in any way whatsoever! The damage is reported at the next School Meeting and William, the head boy who is one of those 'In Charge' is rather a clued-up lad when it comes to racquets and he discovers an inconsistency in the damage which results in Patrick looking a bit of a fool and also a little out of pocket and this, together with Julian constantly bettering him in class, makes life quite miserable for the boy. Julian doesn't really want to crow over his cousin all the time but Patrick'' attitude is such that he (Julian) and Elizabeth are determined to push him down whether it be in the classroom or at tennis which Patrick loves. Miss Ranger, the form mistress is amazed at the high marks the three are getting but doesn't realize the true facts — 'two' are vying with 'one'.

Julian thinks it's time to play a trick in class and he does. It's very successful but Patrick is unimpressed and thinks Miss Ranger should be told! This doesn't endear him to anyone and they 'sit' on him. Sitting on someone in the school situation would mean that your classmates make their feelings felt in a strong way — even to the extent of physical force. Patrick goes from Bad to Worse unfortunately and raises the wrath of all during a confrontation where he lashes out with his racquet and clouts Elizabeth.

Right, that's it! "We'll call a meeting tonight and we'll confiscate his racquet!" That'll teach him! ... and ... "We'll send him to Coventry!" (That means no one will speak to him).

Elizabeth fetched her prep and did it out of doors that lovely warm evening. But it was difficult to learn French verbs when the swallows swooped and darted in the sky, and bees hummed happily in the flowers around.

Now everyone's off to bed — but where's Patrick? No one's seen him. Elizabeth snuggles down and then feels a piece of paper rustling somewhere in her bed. It's a note from the boy " ... apologize for hitting you with my racquet ... partly your fault when you grabbed at it ... now you've taken it away from me ... I wish ...I'm fed up ... nobody likes me ... I'm off!" — or words to that effect!

Tragedy! But tragedy can be averted with the right luck and good intentions and we can hope that this last story about the Naughtiest Girl will end as happily as the rest of them.