Will Scott's 14-book Cherrys Series
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Between 1952 and 1965 the terrific British 14-book 'Cherrys' series of children's books by Will Scott was published by Brockhampton Press (Hodder).
1 ‘The Cherrys of River House’ (1952)
2 ‘The Cherrys and Company’ (1953)
3 ‘The Cherrys by the Sea’ (1954)
4 ‘The Cherrys and the Pringles’ (1955)
5 ‘The Cherrys and the Galleon’ (1956)
6 ‘The Cherrys and the Double Arrow’ (1957)
7 ‘The Cherrys on Indoor Island’ (1958)
8 ‘The Cherrys on Zigzag Trail’ (1959)
9 ‘The Cherrys’ Mystery Holiday’ (1960)
10 ‘The Cherrys and Silent Sam’ (1961)
11 ‘The Cherrys’ Famous Case’ (1962)
12 ‘The Cherrys to the Rescue’ (1963)
13 ‘The Cherrys in the Snow’ (1964)
14 ‘The Cherrys and the Blue Balloon’ (1965)
What Makes This Series Special:
For me, one attraction of Will Scott's 'Cherrys' series is the careful detailing shown in top-notch illustrator Lilian Buchanan's accompanying sketches and maps - the unusually close agreement or 'meshing' between all Buchanan's pictures and maps, together with their faithfulness to journalist / cartoonist / playwright Scott's texts. One wonders if she had an author's sketchmap to guide her...
Also of note is the inclusion in the locale maps of 'Market Cray' of several details which are unlikely to have been featured in a totally invented map, based solely upon author/artist whimsy. What does this suggest?
All told, Scott's 14-book 'Cherrys' series, ably supported by Buchanan's maps and illustrations (including her colourful book-covers), add up to something rather special in the way of children's books. One proof of this is that the 'Cherrys' series lingers on in the mind decades after the books finally went out-of-print. Probably this is why they are such expensive, sought-after items on the web.
The lingering impact of Scott's Cherrys series has also led to occasional web postings at various sites, mostly from middle-aged people who read the books as children. Interestingly, there are also postings from a few younger folk who seem to have inherited and muchly enjoyed copies of some of the books. And postings from a few oldies like myself - I caught the first few titles as a kid, but was grown-up before the last title, 'The Cherrys and the Blue Balloon', was released in 1965, just after Will Scott's death.
To my knowledge, the first 12 titles were all reprinted at least once - and at least one of them up to 5 times - so while it’s a challenge to find copies at booksales it’s not impossible.
One huge difference between Scott's Cherrys series and most of the children's books of that era was *shock, horror* Parental involvement in the children's adventures.
How, you ask could a father of that era - a stuffy adult by definition - possibly be capable of setting up adventures or 'Happenings' for his children and their friends? Well, folks, before I try to answer that one let me tell you the worst - Captain Cherry not only invented many wonderful games but also he and sometimes some of the other adults even TOOK PART in these games!
You see, Captain Cherry - his first name is never given - was a most unusual adult. Having spent much of his life as part of exploration and survey teams (eg for a mining company in the Australian outback) he drew on this experience to invent intriguing (and cheap) games for his 4 kids.
Of course, he was also training them to 'keep their eyes open' so that they were aware of (tuned into) their environment in the rather special way that John R. Stilgoe calls for in his "OUTSIDE LIES MAGIC", but enough of that.
In the ‘Cherrys’ books parental involvement is not only workable, it is actually something rather special.
Captain & Mrs. Cherry
Mr. Watson (their monkey)
Joseph (their parrot)
Mr. & Mrs. Wilks
Mr. Wilks’s younger brother from the Isle of Wight
Mr. & Mrs. Pringle
Mrs. Pearl from Marigold Cottages, who cleaned River House for Mrs. Cherry
Mr. Mount, the local Baker
The 'Happenings' (Adventures):
Chapters grouped together form one connected story or 'happening'. The Roman numerals and the capitalisation are my own eccentricities....my apologies if they annoy you.
Cherrys #1 – ‘The Cherrys of River House’ (1952)
I Their First Happening
Finding their way to the ‘ruined temple’
II Through Hostile Territory
Crossing the river without being caught
III Treasure Island
Exhibition tickets buried on island
IV If Only We’re In Time
Treasure hunt to St. Denis Bay
V Nothing At All To Do
Pam is lost in the bungalow in Raven’s Wood
VI Find Me Who Can
VII He Must Be Somebody
VIII Black Jack Strikes Again
IX Clue Upon Clue
The hunt to unmask the mysterious Black Jack
Cherrys #2 – ‘The Cherrys And Company’ (1953)
I The Games They Get Up To
Black Jack Junior and the left-right game
II Man In Armour
The Big Blow
III Adventure On See-Saw Mountain
Relief expeditions in the snow
IV Disappearing Trick
Footprints in the snow
V Black Jack Junior, Pirate
Trick using ‘sandman’ and cycles
The Pringle children have an adventure
VII Mystery Of See-Saw Mountain
VIII The Empty House
IX Little Clue, Big Clue
X Biggest Clue Of All
Who goes there?
Cherrys #3 – ‘The Cherrys By the Sea’ (1954)
I The Message In The Bottle
II The Watch On The Coast
III On The Trail Of The Oozlum
IV Alone On A Desert Isle
V Follow My Leader
VI Look Out For Smiths
VII The Slap-Dash Carnival
VIII This Way Or That
IX Seaside Xmas
X The Haunted Sea Front
Cherrys #4 – ‘The Cherrys and the Pringles’ (1955)
I The Great Reception
II Let It Rain!
III Mr. Pringle Has A Go
IV The Crocotosh
V Early Birds
VI The Other House
VII The Torn Treasure Chart
VIII The Battle Of Bigs And Little
IX Let Them Have It
X I Know Where
Cherrys #5 – ‘The Cherrys and the Galleon’ (1956)
I The Get On With Its
II The Great Cross Over
III The Well-I-Never Place
IV The Seaside At Home
V The Peculiar Periscope
VI The Famous Think
VII The Big Idea
VIII The Big Mystery
IX The Big Work
X The Big Day
Cherrys #6 – ‘The Cherrys and the Double Arrow’ (1957)
I The Way To Anywhere
II The Double Arrow
III Again And Again
IV Roy On His Own
V Public Notice
VI After Him
VII Strange Disappearance Of Mr. Wilks
VIII This Way to the Bang Kwit
Cherrys #7 – ‘The Cherrys On Indoor Island’ (1958)
I The Wreck
II The Castaways
III The Cave
IV Exploring The Jungle
V Mountain Rescue
VI The Mysterious Footprint
VII Yes, It’s Pirates!
VIII A Sail! A Sail!
IX But Where Can It Be?
X Buried Treasure
Cherrys #8 – ‘The Cherrys On Zig-Zag Trail’ (1959)
I Mr Wilks Cries ‘Look!’
II Mr. Nobody
III Nothing But Mysteries
IV The Standstill Race
V The Society For Finding Things Out
VI Old sailor From Over The Water
VII Away They Go
VIII Smart Work
IX The Same Sounding Words
X The End Of The Trail
Cherrys #9 – ‘The Cherry’s Mystery Holiday’ (1960)
I Keep Your Eyes Open
II The Mystery Of Mr. Wotherspoon
III The Mystery Of The Pirate Chief
IV Spik No English
V The Great Seaweed Mystery
VI The Writing In The Sand
VII The Mystery Of The jumping Jacks
VIII The Mystery Of Neptune Island
IX Most Mysterious Of All
X It’s A Mystery!
Cherrys #10 – ‘The Cherrys And Silent Sam’ (1961)
I A Very Peculiar Affair
II He Must Be Watched
III Red Hot News
IV The Next Move
V At It Again
VII What A Surprise!
VIII Then Who Is It?
IX I Know Who It Is
X Oh No, It Isn’t!
Cherrys #11 – ‘The Cherrys’ Famous Case’ (1962)
I The Day That Woke Up
III The Home-made Police-Force
IV Hot On The Trail
V The Footprint Again
VI The Light In The Window
VII That Third Clue
VIII Clue All The Time
X Portrait Of The Queen
Cherrys #12 – ‘The Cherrys To The Rescue’ (1963)
I Where Has He Got To?
II To The rescue!
III Strange Tale From A Stranger
IV Which Way Now?
V Here’s Your Jungle!
VII False Trail
VIII All Meet At One-Tree Hill
IX Lost In The Fog
Cherrys #13 – ‘The Cherrys In The Snow’ (1964)
I Nothing But Nothing
II Enter Mr. Misery
III The Start Of A Rumour
IV The Search From End To End
V You’d Never Guess!
VI ‘Keep Him Out Of Sight!’
VII Tell-tale Trail
VIII If Only It Works
X Away Again
Cherrys #14 – ‘The Cherrys And The Blue Balloon’ (1965)
I First Appearance Of The Blue Balloon
II What The Littles Thought
III What The Bigs Thought
IV But What Did The Man Think?
VI Where Is Augustus?
VII The Amazing Truth
VIII The Light In The Window
IX The Night Watch
X Last Appearance Of The Blue Balloon
‘Aurélien Arkadiusz’, a long-time fan of the ‘Cherrys’ series, but – having more questions than answers – not an expert.
How The Adventure in Cherrys #6, ‘The Cherrys and the Double Arrow’, Started:
The Cherrys’ most famous H-A-P-P-E-N-I-N-G began one warm summer day when the Cherry, Wilks and Pringle families set out on a survey of the area to south of ‘Market Cray’.
Arriving at their first goal/checkpoint, the bottom of the tallest tree in Raven’s Wood, the expedition discovered a double arrow pinned to the trunk of the tree.
If you were the intrepid child leader of the 16–strong team of ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ (not forgetting the monkey and the parrot), what would you have done next?
Your analysis of what made the books so good is spot on . You could imagine yourself as one of the characters much more readily than EB, and there was a feel-good factor of the type you get with the Jennings books. In the days i regularly went round 2nd hand shops,bootfairs,etc,i was always amazed i never saw any of the books ! Why do you think this is? My sister eventually picked up 'blue balloon' (not the best of the series ) and 'indoor island' ,but the maps were damaged.
Thanks again for writing your first post . I really enjoyed it.
Will Scott's Cherrys books are tough to find, PeterNeville, though some can be bought (at great expense) over the web.
'The Cherrys on Indoor Island' at least gave the ground-floor plan of River House. You're right that 'The Cherrys and the Blue Balloon' is not the best in the series - by the time it was on the bookstands the author was already dead.
Glad you liked my overlong first post on this thread. If you want to see links to some of the maps or the covers you should check out Lenoir's Cherrys thread on the Other Authors board of the Enid Blyton Society forums at http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2075
‘Aurélien Arkadiusz’, member in good standing of the PMHATTRWSCS Association.
(The Politely Message Hodder Asking Them To Reprint Will Scott's Cherrys Series Association)
Some Questions About Will Scott's 'Cherrys' Series
I have far more questions than answers about Will Scott's wonderful 'Cherrys' series. Here are some of my questions, and a few of my guesses.
Where was ‘Market Cray’ Located?
I suspect that Will Scott's 'Market Cray' was probably meant to be set somewhere in the County of Kent.
The River Windrush flows into the Thames (at Newbridge) close to what was the western end of Kent. That part of the dedication in #1 ‘The Cherrys of River House' which reads "...from the beginning of Kent to the end of the Windrush,..." suggests to me that Kent had become Will Scott's home turf and hence was very likely also the Cherry’s stamping ground. While he was writing these books Yorkshire-born William Matthew Scott 1893-1964 was living at 'The old Cottage' in Herne Bay, Kent.
Interesting that there's a Crayford and a Foot's Cray in Kent, and also a Cray River.
Was Any Part of ‘Market Cray’ Real?
‘Market Cray’ could well have been a total invention, but…..
One of the fascinating things about Lilian Buchanan’s Market Cray maps is that several features are pictured which are a little unlikely to have been included in a totally invented landscape. This makes me wonder if the maps (and pictures) that we see in the books could be based upon a real landscape, with several alterations and additions (eg River House and The Lawn).
Usually, when a writer sketches a map of an imaginary landscape for a series of books, he/she puts in 'typical' features, plus features that are going to be written about in the stories. The Market Cray maps not only include several features that are never mentioned in any of the 14 'Cherrys' books, but also show one highly unusual building that surely would only have been included if it was actually drawn from real life. Worth thinking about.
Was Captain Cherry Based On A Real Person?
I keep wondering about 'Captain Cherry'.
'Cherry' is not all that common a surname, but any computer search using Cherry+Explorer will turn up the famous British explorer, Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1886-1959), and I rather think that this link would have been in the mind of any adult reading one of Scott's early 'Cherrys' books to his/her children back in the 1950's. Could this be why Will Scott used the name 'Cherry'?
Also, is 'Captain' Cherry meant to hold an army or a naval rank? (A naval Captain ranked higher.) And was his Captain's rank supposed to have been won in war service, or was it, perhaps, earned over a longer period as a regular army or navy officer?
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~
These are just some of the questions that only Will Scott's daughters (if they are still with us) and grandchildren could likely answer. As Mr. Scott apparently wrote the first books in this terrific series for his grandchildren (and seems to have dedicated some of the books to them), they should know things that we don't. But, short of the costly (and outrageously intrusive) strategy of hiring a private detective, how would one go about even identifying Will Scott's living descendants, let alone locating them? And would any of them be interested in sharing what they know with us?
Obituary of William Matthew Scott, 1893 - 1964
A correspondent writes:
Will Scott, who died on May 7, was a versatile writer of plays, short stories and children's books. He published his first story in 1920, and his last work for children – one of the popular Cherry Family series – was issued just before his death.
He especially excelled as a master of the short, short story and was a regular contributor to Pan, 20-Story, Passing Show, John Bull, the old Strand Magazine, the Evening News and a host of summer and Christmas Annuals.
A Yorkshireman, he launched himself on London as a caricaturist, working for the Performer. He produced clever studies of the great music hall stars George Robey, Wilkie Bard, Fred Kitchen, and others. For a brief period he was art editor of Pan; then, in a snap decision, he took his family to Herne Bay and settled down to write stories.
Though he poured out short tales in their hundreds his real love was the theatre. He had several comedies produced, but his outstanding success was a thriller, The Limping Man, in which Franklin Dyail created the stage role of Disher, Detective, a very original sleuth who had already appeared in a book of that name. This play had a longer revival than its original run and was thrice filmed.
Though he shunned the limelight he could be a delightful companion, ever ready to match the mood of the person he was with and able to keep up a non-stop flow of anecdotes spiced with epigrammatic wit.
(Retyped from a print of a microfiche from page 15 of 'The Times' of 19 May 1964)
I have just recently re-discovered Will Scott's books on the Cherys having wondered for many years if I had imagined them when I was a child - mainly on the basis that no-one else in my social circle seemed to have come across them. Of course what did not help any was the fact that I could not recall the name of the author - just the family name and little snippets and images from some of the plots. As mentioned elsewhere the phrase "happenings" was always in my head - long before the song title by the Supremes and even before the hippies of San Francisco ambushed it and took it for their own uses. Now I know the name of the man I will be spending some time searching out the books again (there does seem to be a plethora of the Cherry Books available in antipodean bookshops for some reason but not so many in the UK)
I am looking forward to acquiring and re-reading the books: as with many recollections from a bygone age I hope that the stories live up to my memory of them.
Some interesting information you have posted AurelArkad - I will re-read and refer to it when I come to peruse the books. Its always good to have some background facts and figures.
Glad you liked reading these posts, Byrds1966.
You might like to note that I've been able to post links to covers and maps on the 'Other Authors' board of the Enid Blyton Society forums, and directly upload a few of the illustrations on the 'Happenings' thread of the Children's Books section of Book Group Online.
Antipodean ‘Aurélien Arkadiusz’
And now there is a Wikipedia webpage on author Will Scott - under his full name of William Matthew Scott, to avoid confusion with other Will Scotts.
Click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_scott_writer
Some fascinating information about the author, his adult detective mysteries, and brief outlines of his Cherrys series.
‘jollifications got up for young people by grownups’ were part of pre-war life in the seaside town which Will Scott made his home. Some of the events described in the Cherry books were autobiographical. For example, the Scott family decorated their car for carnival day in much the same way as the Cherry family decorated their car in The Cherrys by the Sea. Captain Cherry may be said to have been based on WS to the extent that, all his life, Will Scott felt that adventures and mysteries were to be found ‘on the doorstep’, or very near to it.
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