Ladybird Books were 100 years old on January 12th this year.
This brought back so many memories of reading the little books aloud and sharing the stories with all the children I knew. When I looked on my shelves today I realised that I'd kept 22 of these delightful books and as I scanned through them I saw them not only as entertainment
but as social history as well.
At the time I simply thought the books were beautifully illustrated fairy tales or stories about small animals behaving like humans. Later there were the Key Words Reading Schemes and for older children, the books on Nature, full of information about British birds or bats or big game in Africa. For even older children there were the “Achievement” books telling the story of furniture across the centuries or the development of the car and so on. There were also adventure books and historical ones. There was even a special publication to commemorate the engagement and wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
From "GOING TO SCHOOL"
published in 1959
|Children had milk in glass bottles at play-time.|
|School meals were being served.|
From "THE PARTY" 1960.
|Notice the boy's hair is very short while the girl has plaits|
"HELPING AT HOME." 1962.
|The bedspread is candlewick - very popular at that time.|
The little girl wears an elaborate pinafore to work in.
"PLAY WITH US." 1964.
Now both children are in jeans and t shirts and have
casual shoes. The boy's hair is longer than before and the girl's hair is worn loose.
From one of the "ACHIEVEMENTS BOOK" 1974.
|Modern Chairs and their Designers.|
HRH PRINCE CHARLES.1981.
"A Ladybird for a Royal Occasion."
I will put all these wonderful little books back on my shelves and treasure them as I've always done. I hear the more recent ones are different shapes and sizes which seems to spoil the fun.