|I have just started a new set of 'gallery' pages with loads more images, content and more interaction. Only the 'Early Animal fiction' pages are ready for viewing yet, but please take a look and do give me feedback.|
The very earliest books:
|Click twice on the arrow to the left. You might then need to wait for a few moments before the (3 minute-long) video starts|
|First of all, here are all the books in the original 401 series. Sorry
about the glare - I couldn't face taking them out of their protective plastic
jackets for the photo-call. |
All these books were originally published with DJs. As you can see from Pippety, which doesn't have a DJ, the front boards had an almost identical picture to the DJ which was pasted on by hand.
|Now for a closer look at some of the books and their DJs:|
|Older books such as these usually (and helpfully) state the edition opposite the title page.|
|With their unusual illustrations by Edward Aris, this is the complete set. Another series of Tasseltip stories was produced in the 1970s, adapting the style of illustration of the originals - but without the charm.|
I should have added scale to this picture to make it clear that this book is twice the size of a standard Ladybird book. Here you can see the DJ and the boards of the first 2 editions. (Was it ever issued in any later editions?) The blue boards of the 1st edition have gilt writing. The boards of the 2nd edition are slightly more reminiscent of the standard sized Ladybird books of the time, with slightly textured boards.
|Here are the front covers
of the original series of the lovely 497 stories, written by Noel Barr and
lovingly iluustrated by P B Hickling. All the books have been taken
out of their DJs and are resting on them to show the difference in colour
between the DJs and the boards. |
As you can see, all these books were originally published with a colour plate pasted onto the front. If someone is trying to sell you a '1st edition' of any of these books without the book plate, be warned. It ISN'T a 1st edition.
|In the first row you can see 3 versions of the book 'Nelson' originally written by L du Garde Peach. This book was first issued with a DJ in1957. From 1965 it began to be issued with matt boards identical to the DJ cover. From 1977 it was published with the same contents but with a blue-framed cover and in 1980 a different version, written by Frank Humphris, was produced. Only a few titles in this series were re-written in this way. It's interesting to read both versions side by side to work out what in the 1960s version was no longer acceptable in 1980 . Well, I think it is, but I'm a Ladybird nerd.|
In the 2nd row you can see 2 versions of 'Stoneage Man in Britain'. Here, as with Nelson, the book began life in a DJ, was published in identical format with matt boards and was issued in 1977 with blue- framed boards. This time the contents remained unchanged. In the picture you can see a later, laminated version.
The later books in this series were only ever issued with blue-framed boards (as with 'Great Civilisations Mycenaeans') whilst earlier titles in the Great Civilisations series lived through 2 different cover styles, as with 'Egypt'. All, however, were first issued with matt boards.
The last book in the series, Shakespeare, has lost the blue frame - the only later book to be published thus.
Here are the 3 main versions that the Key Word Readers were issued in.
In the first column the 1960s Peter and Jane that I remember most
viviedly. Jane is usually in a white dress with a ribbon in here hair.
In the 2nd column Peter and Jane are now 1970s children - Jane is most often in jeans; Peter plays around with a football rather than a cricket ball and they generally look scruffier. And why not.
The boards look similar in appearance to the original format but inside the pictures have all been revised. Now a challenge for you, caused by my mistake. I have put one book in the wrong place when I lined them up for this picture. Can you see which one?
Finally the picture on the front boards is reduced in size and placed in a frame but the contents remain the same as the previous version.
There were other small changes, for example initially the key logo was on the right of the front cover and it moved to the left. Personally I can't get excited about such details. The whole series was (and I believe still is!) published with laminated boards from 1983.
|Here you can see the 2 styles that these books were issued between in 1964
and 1990 . |
First of all the wonderful earlier version, written by Vera Southgate and illustrated by Eric Winter, Robert Lumley. New titles were issued until The Musicians of Bremen in 1974.
From around 1979 the format changed; all the tales were re-written and more simple illustrations produced. These books had a consistent form - with green boards (see photo) and no longer followed the 'text on the left, picture on the right' layout.
|This must be the question that I am asked most often. "I want to get hold of a Ladybird edition of Cinderella that I loved as a child, but how can I be sure that I get the right edition?". Well, here are the main candidates. Which pages did you lovingly turn as a child?|
|The earliest edition is from the 413 series, as retold by 'Auntie Muriel'|
|Next to come was the aptly named Well-Loved Tales version, the first book to be issued in series 606d in 1964 and one of the most popular books around at the moment (see results of my poll).|
|In this version of the story, Cinderella attended 3 balls before losing her slipper. It's the dresses that most people remember - the pink one on the front, and then these two:|
|Next, rather confusingly, a different version of Cinderella was issued in 1981 as part of the same series 606d, still by Vera Southgate and still including the 3 different balls but this time illustrated by Brian Price Thomas.|
|There have been other versions since: the Read It Yourself version from series 777, Tiny Tales and larger books:|
|Here are some of the many (60?)
different languages that Ladybird books were produced in. But what languages are they?
OK, I accept that the Oliver Twist one is a bit of a tall order so see picture below for some more somewhat out of focus text.
If you think you know click here for answers.
|Here you can see three examples of non standard sized books. The
first is one of the Scripture Union series. This was a series of around 20
Bible stories, published in conjunction with the Scripture Union in the late
70s. As you can see from the picture, they were slightly wider and a lot
taller than standard sized books. |
The green book on the right provides some scale although itself is non-standard, being a paperback LB and slightly smaller than the normal hardbacks. A number of books in the 'Well-Loved-Tales' and 'Read-it-Yourself' series were published in paperback and issued with accompanying videos.
The books in the middle are 'Tiny Tales', hard-backed versions of the later well-loved tales stories, half the size of the originals and issued in the 1990s. You sometimes see these issued in mini boxed sets. Sometimes, especially when intended for the USA, these stories are called 'Tiny Treasures'.
|The 'Arms and Armour book' is just there for scale. Here you can see
three books from the 'Gift' series. These are the largest sized Ladybird
books that I know of. They were published in the 1980s and are larger than A4
size. Their main attraction for collectors (IMHO) is that some of the
titles overlap with characters from the standard sized books (as with 'Meet the
Garden Gang') and others reproduce the contents of the standard sized books (as with
Thomas). The majority, however, are entirely new titles.
The book in front is a 'Ladybird Special'. About the same size as 'The Tinkers Wig', there were only a few titles issued in this format. I know of 4: Gullivers Travels, Aladdin and Ali-Baba, Aesops Fables and a Book of Rhymes. Were there any more? The contents of all the books came from the standard sized texts - the rhymes being rhymes from the 'Learning with Traditional Rhymes' series 702.
|As you would expect with such a with such a widely used reading scheme, there were many teaching components that accompanied the Peter and Jane books. You can find large and small flash cards, posters and these (my favourite) picture cards to match to sentences. The colour reproduction of the John Berry/Wingfield illustrations is stunning.|
|The popular Puddle Lane series of the 1980s was issued to accompany a TV series and a number of work cards, games and puzzles were produced at the same time. A few examples are shown, but there are more out there, lurking in jumble-sales.|
|Remember these from school?|
|Box sets, flash cards, puzzles, other non-standard sized books, cassettes,
One thing to point out. Has anyone else noticed that the Koala who stars in the 1990s book "Kim meets Santa Claus" is basically Wonk reappearing in a nasty cheap modern LB?