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The First Fifth Form by Evelyn Smith
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The First Fifth Form

by Evelyn Smith

Other authors: Frank Wiles (Illustrator)

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191537,190 (3.5)9

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Pat Morrison was keenly conscious of the fact that Rosebank Private School - where she, her sister Gillian, her best friend Betsey Woodruff, and Betsey's three sisters, Millicent, Winkle and Iris, were students - wasn't a "proper" school. Not like Wrinchley, where they played games, acted Shakespeare, and (most importantly!) passed examinations. Wrinchley, the expensive boarding school where superior Grace Whigham was a student...

But when Rosebank closed down, and was replaced by the Little Marling New Girls' School, it looked as if matters were finally improving! Enrolled, together with sister and friends, at the new school, Pat finds herself part of its first ever Fifth Form. Soon settling down to her work, Pat's scholastic achievement began to improve, as she also became involved in school projects, like the Shakespeare Garden, and school controversies, like the Fourth Form's secret sports day.

Although there were episodes in The First Fourth Form I found very appealing, particularly those involving the endearing Winkle and her mischievous projects, overall I found that the story didn't quite hang together as well as it might have. I'm not entirely sure why that was. I did find it interesting that some attention is given to what constitutes a "good" school for girls, with a clear preference being shown to the "modern" school, in which scholastic and athletic achievement in encouraged, rather than the more traditional "finishing" school, which emphasized deportment and manners. That alone made this a worthwhile entry in my school-story project! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evelyn Smithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wiles, FrankIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The author whose brilliance gave us "Binkie" and "Nicky" may be counted upon for a succession of amusing incidents, a high standard of character drawing, and in The First Fifth Form she more than maintains her reputation. Pat, Grace, the Parker-Pratts and Betsey are living persons whom we know intimately long before the Fifth Form has risen to its full dignity. In the process Winkle and Betsey show up with startling effect, while Pat patiently works, by turns aided and hindered by Grace, but always up against the self-conceit of the Parker-Pratts. The intriguing history of the Shakespeare Garden and the remarkable incident of the unofficial "Sports" are only two points in a book which every girl will read with delight.
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