The Enid Blyton Society
The Naughtiest Girl is a Monitor
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Book Details...

First edition: 1945
Publisher: George Newnes
Illustrator: Kenneth Lovell
Category: Naughtiest Girl
Genre: School
Type: Novels/Novelettes

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Reprint Covers
Review by Terry Gustafson
Further Illustrations


Wraparound dustwrapper from the 1st edition, illustrated by Kenneth Lovell

1st Australian edition published by Angus and Robertson in 1949
re-illustrated cover by an uncredited artist.
A young girl who resembles the original Little Princess steps from a grand chauffeur-driven car. She's visiting Elizabeth Allen prior to accompanying her to Whyteleafe School where she'll begin as a new student. Her name is Arabella Buckley, she's gorgeous looking with extremely good manners and Elizabeth upon meeting her feels as if a Miss High-and-Mighty has come to call on one of her subjects! How will Whyteleafe look upon Arabella? St. Clare's School which exists in another time and place also had an elegant and wealthy girl enrolled in order that she might learn a little of how normal people live their lives. She even had a title and made an impact in her own way by attracting devoted slaves however, St. Clare's was a girl's school whereas Arabella is about to enter a co-educational establishment. Will her injection make for a more powerful impact?
Right from the start Arabella gets on the wrong side of Elizabeth with her superior and sophisticated veneer. In contrast, her host is a pretty Down-to-Earth character with an impatient and hot-tempered personality and she's not too happy with the impression that Arabella and her good manners make on Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Jenks the cook. She probably makes an impression on Mr. Allen too but it looks like he's working late all week so we aren't any the wiser. Anyway, Arabella might not be interested in impressing him because she expresses a dislike for males when she hears that boys also attend Whyteleafe School. "Boys! Did you say Boys? ... Rough, ill-mannered creatures — dirty and untidy, with shouting voices!" This could be Elizabeth speaking because it's similar to what that girl said in the first book of the series — "Boys! Nasty rough creatures!" but she grew to like many of them so there's hope for Arabella. Males seem to be getting a rather bad press with all this stuff about them being dirty and untidy and rough and ill-mannered. I'm a little surprised that Enid Blyton allows her girls to talk about them like that when the evidence shows that she herself thought they were wonderful and worthy of imitation so I want to stick up for them and say that most boys are very nice creatures indeed. I can add that I think some girls could be described in the way that Arabella and Elizabeth have spoken about males!

A week goes by and it's time for the two girls to set off for school. Arabella has been instructed a little by Elizabeth as to what she might expect at Whyteleafe. There's a weekly meeting where money is given out — the same to every child no matter how wealthy he or she might be. All problems are reported and worked upon by a couple of judges (head boy and girl) and a jury of twelve prefects or 'monitors'. Monitors are trusted and well-liked students who are voted into their positions by the whole school. When I first saw this book advertised I couldn't understand the title. How could the Naughtiest Girl in the School be a monitor? It was like saying a cow is a sheep or a circle is a square. Later on I realised that after being the Naughtiest Girl, Elizabeth settled down considerably so the phrase is now used to describe her only occasionally but usually in a friendly way whenever she's embroiled in some daft situation — and that happens quite often where this young girl is concerned. Arabella doesn't like the sound of Elizabeth being a monitor and when she expresses her disdain the reaction she experiences causes her to forget her manners momentarily and actually slam the door upon leaving the room! This is not a good start, and it looks as if Elizabeth will need to watch herself as well because she can relapse into quite violent tempers occasionally when impulsiveness gets the better of her.

Elizabeth and Arabella travel to London and board the train which is full of excited students — many of them Elizabeth's friends and Arabella is introduced. She's a girl who makes agreeable First Impressions with "not a hair out of place, no wrinkles in her stockings and no smut on her cheek". The train moves off bound for Whyteleafe and so another school term commences. Right from the start Elizabeth falls into her monitor's role and issues instructions regarding the new kids — they need to be shown around and made at home. Apart from Arabella there are three new faces. One belongs to a very interesting boy who's about the untidiest person Elizabeth had ever seen. His long black hair falls in a wild lock over his forehead and he has deep green eyes like a cat's. His name is Julian Holland and he's a rather exceptional lad with a brilliant mind and extraordinary talents which include the ability to construct models — in fact, almost anything with his hands and he can also cause disruption by making noises of all kinds. He has a sort of ventriloquial ability to imitate anything from animals and birds to making weird noises that sound like nothing on earth. At the same time, despite possessing the ability to be top of the class with ease, he has a Don't Care attitude and wants to live his life the way he likes with no responsibilities — nothing which could hamper his urge to enjoy himself. To him, lessons are a bore so he can't be bothered with trying hard. Martin Follett and Rosemary Wing are the other new entrants. Martin is clean and tidy but his eyes are set a little too close together and Rosemary is a shy soul. Jenny, the talented mimicker, is back for another term as is Richard who is a dreamy boy obsessed with music. Joan Townsend, Elizabeth's close friend during the first two terms and of whom we see very little in this book, has gone up a class so Elizabeth will need another confidante. Robert is one of her good pals and so is Kathleen but she settles for the highly personable Julian — upon his suggestion.

The first School Meeting arrives and Julian agrees with Arabella that they are a waste of time. How is Arabella getting on? Well, for the time being she's just settling in. The children file into the gym and Elizabeth very proudly sits on the platform up at the front with the other monitors. The head-boy and girl arrive to preside over the Meeting and it commences. Julian shows his lack of respect for the proceedings by making a noise like a saucepan boiling over. Elizabeth knows who it is but the judges — William and Rita, don't and aren't any the wiser when it suddenly ceases. William makes a general comment that's it's not funny to hold up a School Meeting and then the Box is handed round. Everyone has to put any money they have into the Box and most do. Arabella doesn't — she keeps back a pound and that's quite a large sum of money for a girl only just in her teens although this particular child is used to large sums of cash. John Terry the inveterate gardener stands up and requests extra money for a small wheelbarrow that can be used by the younger ones. Barrows are rather expensive so the new boy Julian offers to make one from any bits and pieces he can find in the shed and this is welcomed by all. During the next few days he works on it and very soon the children who pass by hear the creaking of a wheelbarrow being pushed around. Finished already? No! It's just Julian making one of his clever noises to fool all and sundry. Yes, he's a bit of a rascal but his heart is very much in the right place.

Unfortunately, Arabella has gotten on the wrong side of her class-mates because they find out that she kept money back from the Box's maw. She has turned up her nose at everyone since her arrival so she's made no friends except for the shy and nervous Rosemary. In return for her snobbery and selfishness, the rest of the boys and girls respond in kind. Jenny imitates her and causes much laughter when she, acting as Arabella, says how her family took three cars when they went away on holiday "...and the last car held nothing but my party clothes! I was allowed to stay up to dinner every night at my grandmother's place and we had fifteen different courses to eat!" Little tricks are played on the unsuspecting Arabella but she doesn't know why the others dislike her because no one's told her they found out that she didn't put all her funds into the school money Box. Rosemary knows but, being a nervous individual, she doesn't like to tell her friend. Surprisingly, Elizabeth is also unaware but no one liked to inform her seeing that Arabella is a friend of the family and all that. The way to solve the present situation of course is to bring it up at the Meeting and Arabella does. She reports on the way she is being treated but unfortunately her reticence to part with her extra money is brought up as well and Arabella is embarrassed. It's not too good for Elizabeth either because she's a monitor yet she didn't know anything about the problem and Arabella words her responses so that it looks as if Elizabeth is party to blame for the misdemeanor! Later Elizabeth tells Julian that he could at least have told her about Arabella but Julian being the way he is just doesn't care about the matter and when she lectures him (just a little) about his attitude, their friendship suffers (just a little). Arabella has not set the school on its heels with her beauty and refined upbringing, rather she's just surviving the days and weeks and the only friendship she has seems to come from Rosemary and also Martin — one of the new boys. Julian makes plenty of pals in fact 'everyone' likes him because he's so exciting and talented.

It's time for something else to happen and it does — Rosemary is missing some of her money. She reports this to her monitor who is Elizabeth and a trap is laid. Elizabeth then receives a shock when she discovers evidence that seems to point to the thief as being none other than her close friend — Julian! Arabella also loses money and there is a confrontation between Elizabeth and Julian. The chapter is entitled 'A Dreadful Quarrel' and it speaks for itself. As a result, Julian turns his tremendous talents to playing a trick or two on Elizabeth in the classroom situation and he's very successful because he causes the poor girl to be banished to the corridor outside. A monitor being sent out of the room is quite serious and none other than the head girl — Rita, passes by and notices her. Very Bad Mark there for Elizabeth. Julian plays another trick which causes a few giggles amongst the girls and boys but the recipient of some little drops of water falling on her head is in no mood for giggling — especially when Elizabeth has to explain her discomfort to none other than Mam'zelle the hot-tempered French teacher. Mark up yet another success for Julian. Added to all this is the fact that the rest of the girls have found out why Julian and Elizabeth have split up because their quarrel was overheard by another boy who was nearby so she's really in everyone's bad books because they can't believe that Julian would stoop to taking people's money.

The Whyteleafe boys and girls need a midnight feast because at least one of these is required during the school year and they happen with regularity in other books written by the author. It's Arabella's birthday and she suggests an apposite celebration so a pile of food and drink is amassed and just look at the goodies — Sardines, Tinned Peaches, Chocolate Buns, Biscuits, a large Birthday Cake and plenty of Beer. All this lovely grub is hidden away and will be brought out on the night. Sadly, Elizabeth and her close friends are not invited and a reason wouldn't be too hard to find apart from the fact that a monitor might not condone such shenanigans. The midnight feast looks as if it's going to be a great success after the children have managed to exit their dormitories without waking the uninvited but Something Happens due to a fairly innocent activity by none other than the Naughtiest Girl. Her ratings sink even lower so it's time for another trick to be played on poor Elizabeth and Julian obliges with an old Enid Blyton staple — sneezing powder.
"A-tish-oooooo ... A-tish-oooooo ... I can't - A-tish-ooooo - help it!"
"Leave the room and do not come back!" orders a very angry Mam'zelle. Elizabeth is once more in the corridor and Murphy's Law dictates that this time — William, the head boy, should pass by. Elizabeth is giving a very bad impression to the Higher-Ups.

Things go from bad to worse and when Elizabeth makes a false accusation at the next Meeting, there is a terrible consequence — she is stripped of her authority. No longer is she a monitor! The chapter 'A Stormy Meeting' ends with — "Poor Elizabeth! Always rushing into trouble. What would she do now?" William and Rita work on the girl's relationship with Julian and being wise seniors, they succeed and the two enemies change their attitudes to each other. The tension has lessened and that's great because Elizabeth has been experiencing a very low period in her life. A bit of tom-foolery would liven things up and it does. The tom-fooler is of course the irrepressible Julian and his curious ability to mystify teachers with strange noises — in this case it's Mr. Leslie the science-master who is the target.

Like most writers, Enid Blyton would inject the appropriate balancing factors into her works and if you take a quick glance at some of her short stories it's not hard to notice them. Matilda who always lost her temper and screamed the house down when things didn't go her way was transported to a house that really did fall down when she screamed! The boy who was greedy ended up with turnips, carrots and potatoes in his Xmas stocking because Santa thought he was a pig, and Bad Tempered Bessie who kicked and pinched people when she lost her temper was matched with a boy who gave back exactly what she dished out. Julian Holland has a 'Don't Care' attitude to life. He's not worried about using his brains to better himself because after all, he's popular and amusing and if he wants to call upon any of his talents he can. He's able to be top of the class anytime — and he is, but only when he feels like it. Does this attitude call for him to receive a slight shock of some kind? Slight? How about Nasty? Terrible? Devastatingly, Heart-Breakingly, Appalling?
A lacrosse match is held and Elizabeth plays a very important part in it. Martin Follett, one of the new boys, comes back into the story because he harbours a secret and he makes a confession to his ex-monitor. Elizabeth takes on a little research involving Martin and his problems, and she discovers a few interesting pieces of information. She eventually acts on her findings and impresses the school at one of the Meetings. Are things on the Up-and-Up for Elizabeth? The end of term is nearing and there's one more incident involving the girl when she and Julian go for a nature walk over the hills. They pick primroses in the April sunshine and come across a lake where they search for frog-spawn and catch tadpoles then Julian goes off a little way to look for some 'Special Moss'. It's then that Elizabeth, the girl who seems never to have a dull moment, performs a brave feat which requires her to be soaked to the skin in the lake! When Julian suddenly returns she has taken off her tunic and is trying to squeeze some of the water out of it. Her explanation as to what happened is rather vague and Julian, not realizing the valour of Elizabeth's humanitarian act, helps her on with her blazer and they head off back to school. Elizabeth wants no fuss. She manages to dry out her clothing and lie low ... BUT, all things come out in the wash and what she has done is revealed and dealt with at the next School Meeting. There are accolades and for her recent Good Works involving the school and for Services to the Community a reward is offered to her. Elizabeth asks for something that the whole school can share ... However, she gets a Bonus!

Can 'The Naughtiest Girl' who became a monitor and then was demoted, regain her status to round off this final offering in the series? The answer is a simple 'Yes!' The last chapter: 'Happy Ending' tells it all so ring up your local store and order this great book — it costs only 9/6d.
The artist in this case, Kenneth Lovell, is different from the one who illustrated the first two books.

There is another short tale of Elizabeth — the Naughtiest Girl which was included a few years later in an omnibus of Enid Blyton stories.

The Whyteleafeans must have a choice of school clothing. At the beginning Elizabeth is in a blouse, skirt, and tie so she, like other Blyton characters, must prefer wearing her uniform during the school holidays. In a way it's a good idea because school gear is usually quite robust and the practice can save other clothes from wearing out too quickly. Later on she alternates between a full tunic and a blouse with skirt.

When reading about the hijacking of the students' own money at School Meetings I considered that if relatives found out that the pound note they send to their treasured niece or nephew as a personal birthday gift would be taken off them and used by the school, there would be a reluctance to part with any hard cash at all. The best thing to do would be to leave your money at home where it could be spent in the holidays. Another way out would be to hide your extra loot and be very careful when using it downtown so that no one sees you — save your trusted companion.

In general, how did the glamorous Arabella fare? She should have been at least in the next class because of her age (she was Miss Ranger's oldest pupil) but she wasn't all that bright — Enid Blyton doesn't make glamorous girls very brainy. Arabella did not seem to impress the children much at all despite her beauty and no girl (or boy for that matter) was madly attracted to her as was the case in the other school books. Quite unexpectedly she was the host of the only confirmed midnight feast in Whyteleafe history and as that school has a way of changing pupils attitudes no matter how negative or warped they are initially, it can be reported that Arabella began working harder and she attempted to cease fussing so much about her hair and dress-sense. Robert once commented "You'll soon be quite passably nice" and Arabella, instead of taking umbrage at this remark, had simply laughed. Yes, this little glamour-puss was definitely changing for the good which is an encouraging sign. It's early days though because a few years are usually required to change anyone when it comes to vanity and feather-headedness.

Unlike the other Landmark Blyton school stories the Whyteleafe tales cover just a whole year of the first form. There are smaller kids around so maybe there is a lower form or standard to which they belong. Either that, or they might simply be a little younger in the class and it can happen because I was ten to eleven in the first form amongst others who were eleven to twelve.

When Elizabeth is soaking wet near the end of the book, Julian helps her on with her blazer after she's taken her tunic off so it can only be assumed that she hastily redressed the imbalance before his gallant action.

Not wanting the Heads of Whyteleafe to be hauled before the Beak on a charge relating to the care of minors I think it should be pointed out that the beer brought in for the midnight feast was made from ginger. These illustrations are hidden by default to ensure faster browsing. Loading the illustrations is recommended for high-speed internet users only.