Thanks to Terry Wogan, I think, – there seems to have been a revival of interest in Janet and John books recently. People muddle up Janet and John (which were NOT Ladybird Books) with Peter and Jane – which, of course were. I am old enough to remember both. When I was learning to read, at the end of the 1960s, Peter and Jane must have been the new kids on the block because the scheme was first issued in 1964. I can’t remember much about Janet and John – they didn’t seem to do a right lot, and by the 1970 I don’t remember seeing the books around at all – whilst Peter and Jane went on and on and on … The books are still in print today, I think.
Why didn’t J&J have the same appeal? Well they didn’t have the wonderful full-page artwork of the Keyword reading series and most of the stories didn’t feature the 2 children at all but re-told fairy tales. What’s more the dialogue between Janet and John makes Peter and Jane look like sparkling conversationalists. And of course Janet and John were American, not British so the backdrops were that bit more remote.