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john kenney

Stone Age Man in Britain, 1961, Series 561 (DJ)

Stone Age Man in Britain was the 11th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  Early editions were issued with a dustwrapper.  The versions with a dustwrapper have a cover correctly showing the top lintels on the great stones of Stone Henge, while – rather oddly – the later matt copies show the same scene with these lintels removed.

This DJ copy is in Very Good condition.  DJ not price-clipped.  Some chips and wear to edges.  Owner’s name to front endpapers.

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Charles Dickens, 1965, Series 561

Charles Dickens was the 20th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.

In this colourful telling of the life and times of Dickens, artist John Kenney has good fun illustrating some of the main characters from the Dickens stories such as Mr Macawber, Pickwick and Oliver Twist.

This copy:

Matt boards.  Excellent condition inside and out with very nice clean pages but for an ownership stamp on the title page.  This copy dates to around 1970 and has the original price of 15p printed on the back.

 

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David Livingstone, 1962, Series 561 (DJ)

David Livingstone is the 10th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  I believe this to be a first edition.

It is in very good condition, inside and out with a clean, un-price-clipped DJ .  The DJ is a little frayed at the top edge and there are a couple of inch-long closed tears along the folds of the DJ front panel.  The pages are very nice and clean.  It has map endpapers, open-winged logo and is the last of 10 titles listed on the DJ flap.

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Tootles the Taxi, 1956 (Matt)

Tootles the Taxi was the 9th book to be published in series 413 – the second series of Ladybird books ever produced.  The 413 series is quite a  random mixture of tales and rhymes – but all for pre-school children.   Tootles, written by Joyce Clegg, turned out to be one of Ladybird’s best-loved and bestselling books of all time.  It is made by the superb John Kenney illustrations.  Kenney illustrated Tootles at around the same time as he illustrated some of the Railway Series book (Thomas the Tank Engine).  The Rev. Awdry was particularly pleased with Kenney’s illustrations of his series – but Kenney’s skills weren’t confined to jaunty pictures of vehicles with faces.  He also illustrated The Circus Comes to Town, Robin Hood and most of the History series for Ladybird.  In such high regard was this book held that, in 1999, when the Ladybird factory was closed down, all employees were given a special, souvenir edition of this book as a parting gift.

This copy:

This is a matt edition.  It’s quite hard to find Tootles in good condition because it was such a well-loved book.  Bearing that in mind, this one isn’t in too bad shape.  There’s a lot of wear to one edge of the spine which has been covered in clear tape to protect it.  There’s also a pink stain on the cover (see photo).  But inside it is good condition with pretty clean pages.  It dates to the early 1970s and has an original price of 15p on the back.

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The Circus Comes to Town, 1957 (with DJ)

The Circus Comes To Town was the 10th book to be published in series 413 – the second series of Ladybird books ever produced.  The 413 series is quite a  random mixture of tales and rhymes – but all for pre-school children.  The best bit about the book are the wonderful John Kenney illustrations.  The book features two children who go to the circus.  That was a typical format for Ladybird at this stage – two children sharing a simple experience through pictures.  What’s notable about these two children is that they were called Peter and Jane.  Not THE Peter and Jane, who were later to star in their very own reading scheme – but  it would seem that the names lodged in the head of Douglas Keen.  Keen, in 1957, was the rising-star employee of Wills & Hepworth  – who would later go on to commission the Key Words reading scheme – the Peter and Jane books.

In common with all the books in series 401, the first edition of this book had 3 extra pages.  Later editions dropped these pages.

This copy is an early edition but not a first.  The dustwrapper is not price-clipped and is now kept protected in a clear, removeable dustwrapper sleeve (the shine you can see on the picture).  Inside the pages are also in very good condition..  It has white endpapers, closed- wing Ladybird logo inside and an open-wing ladybird logo on the DJ.

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Stone Age Man in Britain, 1961, Series 561, Matt

Stone Age Man in Britain was the 11th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  Early editions were issued with a dustwrapper.  The versions with a dustwrapper have a cover correctly showing the top lintels on the great stones of Stone Henge, while – rather oddly – the later matt copies show the same scene with these lintels removed.

This matt copy is in excellent condition inside and out – as nice a copy as you’re likely to find.  It dates from the early-1970s .   It dates to around 1970s and was originally priced at 18p.

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Ambush

The Ambush (Robin Hood), 1955 Series 549

The Ambush, 1955,  Series 549. A Ladybird Robin Hood Adventure

There were only ever really two books in this series, although in the 1970s another 4 Robin Hood adventure books were added.  These later books were in a different format and with different style illustrations.  The illustrations in the original two books (The Silver Arrow and The Ambush) are super-evocative.  These were probably the first two books ever illustrated by John Kenney for Ladybird and the colours sing – and both were originally issued with dustwrappers.  The stories were retold by Max Kester.  A tip for collectors is not to fall into the trap of thinking you have found a book inscribed by the author.  All editions of these stories (and some othrers of the same era) contain a reproduced signature that looks very real.

This matt copy dates to the late 1960s and was originally priced at 2/6.  It in very good condition generally – inside and out.

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Silver Arrow

The Silver Arrow (Robin Hood), 1954 Series 549

The Silver Arrow, 1954,  Series 549. A Ladybird Robin Hood Adventure

There were only ever really two books in this series, although in the 1970s another 4 Robin Hood adventure books were added.  These later books were in a different format and with different style illustrations.  The illustrations in the original two books (The Silver Arrow and The Ambush) are super-evocative.  These were probably the first two books ever illustrated by John Kenney for Ladybird and the colours sing – and both were originally issued with dustwrappers.  The stories were retold by Max Kester.  A tip for collectors is not to fall into the trap of thinking you have found a book inscribed by the author.  All editions of these stories (and some othrers of the same era) contain a reproduced signature that looks very real.

This matt copy dates to the early 1970s and was originally priced at 15p.  It in very good condition generally – inside and out.

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King Alfred the Great, 1956, Series 561

King Alfred was the first title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  Early editions were issued with a dustwrapper.

In this colourful telling of the life and times of Alfred, writer L du Garde Peach and artist John Kenney set the tone for the beautiful series of history books (the longest series that Ladybird ever produced) that was to follow.  It was a first-class collaboration between the two men, ended only by the ill-health of both in the 1970s.

If you ever get a chance to see the original artwork of this book, do.  It’s massive – much bigger than most Ladybird artwork –  and really packs a punch.

This copy:

Matt boards.  Excellent condition inside and out – near mint – with nice clean pages.  This copy dates from the late-1960s and has the original price of 2/6 printed inside.

 

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Queen Elizabeth, 1958, Series 561

The Story of the First Queen Elizabeth was the 5th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  Early editions were issued with a dustwrapper.  In this colourful telling of the life of Elizabeth, writer L du Garde Peach gives a very positive portrait or his subject and talks about other figures of the day, including Drake, Raleigh, Spenser, Shakespeare and Mary Queen of Scots.

This copy:

In very good condition inside and out – just a couple of small ticks on the back.    It dates from the late 1960s and has the original price of  2/6 printed inside.

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