Title: Summer Term at St.Clares and Second Form at St. Clares – Dramatised Adventure
Author: Based on the books by Enid Blyton
Age Rating: 9+
Star Rating: 3.5 / 5
I thoroughly enjoyed this version of Summer Term at St Clares when I originally listened to it and was extremely entertained by the dramatized, humour included in this fantastic audio book. I originally imagined it would be highly updated, edited and revised but it stuck to the major occurrences of the story, faithfully and the characters were interpreted extraordinarily accurately, too. Pat and Isabel O’Sullivan (the two main characters) had Scottish accents (I can’t remember if they were ever referred to as Scots in the books?) They arrive late to school after they were in quarantine for Mumps and discover that they missed out on the arrival of five new students in their form: Carlotta, Sadie, Bobby, Pam and Prudence. Carlotta is a wild, but fun and friendly ex circus girl, though this is not established at the beginning of the book. The rest of the form are fond of the interesting, comical and daring young girl. Sadie is much like Zerelda from the Malory Towers books (Third Form at Malory Towers). She is quite stuck-up, fascinated by fashion and film stars and ‘feather-headed’, immediately befriended by Alison, the O’Sullivan’s ‘feather-headed’ cousin. Bobby is obsessed with tricks and fun and is befriended at once by Janet, who is also fond of tricks. Pam is always top of the form, despite being a year younger than the rest of the form, and Prudence is an awful, detestable sneak.
The girls are sized up quickly and the term commences in amusing context. Tricks are prepared, tennis matches are being worked towards, and above all (ablivious to all the students) a kidnapping is being planned… Carlotta rapidly gains the forms attention and admiration by shining in lessons such as gymnastics, but will her reputation survive when her secret is shared with the rest of the form – and the whole school? Prudence, who, being the unkind, deceitful sneak she is, comes across Carlotta’s secret one day when following Carlotta across the fields to an old circus field. Carlotta is apparently good friends with the folk there and rides their horses confidently. Prudence later prys into the matter further and confirms that indeed Carlotta was previously a circus girl…
Surprisingly (for Prudence) it does. The form are thrilled with Carlotta’s exciting, unique past and Prudence hates Carlotta even more. Seemingly because she is getting a lot of attention for being what Prudence calls ‘unfit for the school’. Meanwhile, the girls are training for an important tennis match and Pat and Isabel are thrilled to be the players representing their own form in a doubles match. At this point, ‘Don’t-Care-Bobby’ as she is sportingly nick-named plays a bigger role in the story, and she gets the reserve place. Proving her name, she can’t be bothered to train for the spot: “After all; reserves never play in a match” But in this matches case the provision of a reserve player was essential – as Isabel sprained her ankle during the major sets of the game and the reserve (Janet – because Bobby refused the position because it was too much work) was called on, but despite Pat and Janet’s efforts to continue the strength of their side, Janet had not trained enough beforehand, having been informed of her role at the last minute after Bobby dropped out, and the girls lost the game.
Later in the school, when the girls are discussing the games, Janet makes a distinctive and direct inquiry. “I don’t know why Belinda [the sports captain] picked me to be reserve. I’m sure if it had been you, we’d have won because you trained with Pat and Isabel more and knew their game better than me.” Bobby, embarrased and ashamed replies that she had chance to be reserve, but she couldn’t be bothered to train for the spot. The other major occurance in this story is the kidnapping… Prudence is coming back from a walk one day when a man stops her and asks her to give a note to someone at the school. Prudence apparently assumes that he is someone from the circus who wants to speak with Carlotta, so without even looking at the name adressed on the letter (rather unbelievably) she takes it to Carlotta, who realises it is not for her – but Sadie! And so, in turn, she takes it to Sadie who follows the letters directions that night… The note intructs her to go to a certain place that night – to meet her old maid who wanted to see her. Carlotta also wakes up in the middle of the night and sees Sadie’s bed empty and guesses it has something to do with the note.
She leaves the building and comes across the kidnapping, and with the help of her circus friends, Carlotta rescues Sadie from a bunch of kidnappers. An extrememly satisfying and action-packed ending to a brilliant story brought alive by voices and sounds. Highly recommendable!
It’s been a long time since my last review, I’m afraid, because my laptop has been quite unpredictable! Here it is anyway – the first addition to the new ‘Audio Book Reviews’ side of the Blog. I hope you enjoyed it. The next review which I will hopefully get up for next Thursday will be based on a horror book by April Henry called The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.
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