Dedicated to old Ladybird books - 1914 -1975

Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt, 1966, Series 561

Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt was the 22nd title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  This book was never issued with a dustwrapper.

I don’t think a great deal is known about the real Cleopatra – at least, not when this book was written – so the book is more about Ancient Egypt and the title perhaps an attempt to chip away at the obvious gender-gap in the titles of this series.  (There are so many interesting female figures in history – but the books merely reflect the curriculum and historical focus of their time so there’s no point in fretting about it now).

This book is in good/very good condition inside and out – light wear and some fading.  It dates to the 1960s and has the original price of 2/6 printed inside.  With a tally number of 160, I belive it to be a first edition.

 

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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.

This copy

This copy still has its original dustwrapper.  The wrapper isn’t very worn and isn’t price-clipped.  There’s a shadow from an old sticker on the front panel and a couple of date stamps on the front endpapers.  Inside the pages are in very good, clean condition.  It has map endpapers, closed-winged logo and is the last of 16 titles listed on the DJ flap.  I believe it to be a first edition.

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David Livingstone, 1962, Series 561 (matt)

David Livingstone is the 10th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  The earliest editions were published with a dustwrapper over plain boards.

This copy

This matt copy is in excellent condition inside and out.  I would describe it as ‘nearly new’ – except that there’s a neat inscription top of title page.  It dates from around 1970s and has the original price of 2/6 revised up twice to 15p on the back.

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Elizabeth Fry, 1973, Series 561

Elizabeth Fry was the 30th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and it was the first of the History books to be illustrated by Roger Hall.  John Kenney was originally commissioned to illustrate it but sadly, his ill-health caused him to bow out of his amazing partnership with Peach; both men died soon after.  This book was never issued with a dustwrapper.

Fry was a character much more talked about when I was young than she is now – despite her recent sojourn on a bank note.  I suppose pious Victorian reformers are out of fashion.  But she did amazing work and I’m glad Ladybird wrote about her, even if the book didn’t sell as well as many.  (There are so many interesting female figures in history that Ladybird didn’t cover and growing up with Ladybird I was always on the look out for the women in history – but the books merely reflect the curriculum and historical focus of their time so there’s no point in fretting about it now).

This book is an ex-library book so has the expected signs of stamps, tickets and heavy wear (see photos).  That said, the reading pages are very good. With a tally number of 320 and originally priced at 24p I believe it to be a first edition.

 

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Elizabeth Gaskell, 1977, Series 561

Elizabeth Gaskell was the 425th title in the 561 series.  Because it is so late in the series, it was produced after the era of  L du Garde Peach and John Kenney – both died a few years before.  It was written by Barbara Brill and illustrated by Roger Hall.  It was only ever published with this style of cover – unlike other books in this series.

This book is particularly hard to find.  It was the very last matt book I ever located when I was building up my own collection.  I’d almost given up home by the time I found one.

This copy:

In very good condition inside and out – not much wear and clean pages. The matt white cover of these books usually looks a bit grubby on this books, and this one is no exception.  The pages are in clean, tight condition but there are a couple of very small, subtle signs that it was once in a library: a tiny stamp on preliminary pages and a small ‘pocket’ on the back endpapers.  It is probably a first edition, is the last title listed on the back and has an original price of 24p stamped on the back.

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Florence Nightingale, 1959, Series 561 (DJ)

Florence Nightingale is the 7th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  This title was first published with a dustwrapper.  In this colourful telling of her life, writer L du Garde Peach gives a very vivid account of her experiences in Scutari – but not so much of her life back in Britain.  I loved this book – in a series filled with kings and male explorers and leaders, it was particularly satisfying to read of the achievements of a remarkable woman.

This copy:

This copy still has its original dustwrapper, not price-clipped.  Book and DJ are in very good condition.  There’s a light crayon mark on the back panel and some shelf wear but generally a nice, clean copy of an early book, which I believe to be a first edition.

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Florence Nightingale, 1959, Series 561 matt

Florence Nightingale is the 7th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  This title was first published with a dustwrapper.  In this colourful telling of her life, writer L du Garde Peach gives a very vivid account of her experiences in Scutari – but not so much of her life back in Britain.  I loved this book – in a series filled with kings and male explorers and leaders, it was particularly satisfying to read of the achievements of a remarkable woman.

This copy:

Matt boards.  Very good condition inside and out, although there’s a neat name to the endpaper.  This copy dates to the early 1970s and has an original price of 15p on the back.

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Henry V, 1959, Series 561

Henry V was the  was the 14th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.

Battles, advances in warfare and the rousing scenes of Agincourt.  You can see why this was a popular ‘adventure from history’ in the post-war Britain of Biggles and Eagle.

The earliest versions of this book have a dustwrapper.

This copy:

This matt copy in no better than good condition externally but VG inside.  There are scuffs and wear to the boards; inside the pages are clean. It dates to the 1960s and has the original price of 2/6 printed inside.

 

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