Rupert the bear has just turned 90. Originally the idea of Mary Tourtel, he came to my attention under the pen of the great Alfred Bestall.
As a child, my Christmases would never have been the same without the annual book of Rupert's adventures. I adored him, and his pals Edward Trunk, Algy Pug, Bill Badger, Ping Pong, Tiger Lily, Sailor Sam, The little Gypsy Boy, etc etc.
Rupert (that's him above; red jumper, yellow trousers) came from a perfectly normal bear family, whose friends were all perfectly normal other-animal families. But all around them were humans and somehow this never seemed odd. His father wore chunky tweed plus-four suits and smoked a pipe, and his mother baked perfect pies and cakes. They were just like any other next-door-neighbour family.
No intergalactic wars, no alien threats to destroy mankind, no violence or explosions. Just good exciting and thought-provoking adventures.
Forget all that plug-in or battery operated X box, Wii, Game boy, stuff. Buy your boys, nephews, or grandsons (it is a bit boyish) a Rupert Bear album for Christmas; they'll be reading it for years to come.
And yes! I do still have my very own Rupert Scarf; it was hand-woven for me by a lovely friend way back in the late 60's.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm just off to spend the day in Nutwood!
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