Dedicated to old Ladybird books - 1914 -1975

James I and the Gunpower Plot, 1967, Series 561

James I and the Gunpowder Plot.  One of the later titles in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.

This copy:

This matt edition dates from the early 70s. It’s in very good condition inside and out – not much external wear and nice clean pages – a slight tilt to the boards.  It has an original price of 24p on the back.

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Joan of Arc, 1971, Series 561

Joan of Arc was the 28th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney – one of the last books issued before the ill-health of Kenney put an end to this great collaboration.  I had this book as a child and read it many times.  There were so few important women in the Adventures in History series that any book with a woman actually on the cover was bound to seize my attention.  Of course, rooting for Joan meant booing for the English – but I seem to have reconciled myself to the idea without too much trouble.  In the 1970s the company was sold to the Longman-Pearson group who looked for ways to modernise the appearance of the books.  From the 1970s onwards they started to reprint the earlier history books with different covers – a white cover with a picture in a blue frame.  Inside, the books stayed unchanged.  (Later they went on to produce completely different editions of some of the older titles – different text and illustrations.  However, Joan of Arc was not one of these.

This copy:

Matt boards, in good/VG condition.  One edge is rubbed and there’s a small mark on the spin.  Inside, there’s a mark on one page but generally the pages are clean and tight. This copy dates to the late 1960s.  With a revised price and a tally number of 280, I believe it to be a first edition.

 

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Joan of Arc, 1971, Series 561 (later cover)

Joan of Arc was the 28th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney – one of the last books issued before the ill-health of Kenney put an end to this great collaboration.  I had this book as a child and read it many times.  There were so few important women in the Adventures in History series that any book with a woman actually on the cover was bound to seize my attention.  Of course, rooting for Joan meant booing for the English – but I seem to have reconciled myself to the idea without too much trouble.  In the 1970s the company was sold to the Longman-Pearson group who looked for ways to modernise the appearance of the books.  From the 1970s onwards they started to reprint the earlier history books with different covers – a white cover with a picture in a blue frame.  Inside, the books stayed unchanged.  (Later they went on to produce completely different editions of some of the older titles – different text and illustrations.  However, Joan of Arc was not one of these.

This copy:

Matt boards with the later ‘blue frame’ style.  Inside the covers this is the original 1972 book. Good condition externally with very good contents.  It doesn’t appear to have been often read.  It dates to the mid-1970s and has the original price of 24p on the back.

 

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John Wesley, 1977, Series 561

John Wesley was one of the later titles in the long-running 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 writer and artist had died a few years before.  It was written by John A Vickers and illustrated by Ronald Jackson.  It was only ever published with this style of cover – unlike other books in this series.

This book is quite hard to find – as is often the case with books first published towards the end of a given series. The earliest editions have matt rather than glossy boards.  The cover illustration is by Roger Hall.  It in no way reflects Jackson’s illustrations inside the covers which are spiky and experimental and deliberately inharmonious.  This favouring of funkier, less representational styles of illustration was one of the ways that the new owner’s of Ladybird tried to signal that the company was under new ownership.  But perhaps it was felt that a more traditional style cover picture would encourage customers to pick the book off the shelf in the first place.

This copy:

In matt boards in good/very condition inside and out.  Some minor marks to the white cover and a book plate on the front free endpaper, but the reading pages are clean and tight.  It dates to the late-1970s, although there is no price on the back.

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Julius Caesar and Roman Britain, 1959, Series 561

Julius Caesar and Roman Britain was the  was the 8th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.

Julius Caesar actually has very little space dedicated to him – the Roman most mentioned in Agricola.   The book also deals with Boadicea (as it’s written in the book) Druids, Hadrian’s Wall and the story of Caractacus.  Some brilliant, memorable images in this one.

This copy:

This matt copy in very good condition inside and out. A few foxing marks to the boards, otherwise very little wear and nice, clean pages.  It dates to around 1970 and has the original price of 2/6 /12.5p on the back.

 

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Julius Caesar and Roman Britain, 1959, Series 561 (blue)

Julius Caesar and Roman Britain was the  was the 8th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.

Julius Caesar actually has very little space dedicated to him – the Roman most mentioned in Agricola.   The book also deals with Boadicea (as it’s written in the book) Druids, Hadrian’s Wall and the story of Caractacus.  Some brilliant, memorable images in this one.

This copy:

This matt copy in very good condition inside and out.  It has the later style, blue-framed covers.  There isn’t much wear and the pages are nice and clean.  It dates to the 1970s or early 80s but doesn’t have an original price on the back.

 

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Julius Caesar and Roman Britain, 1959, Series 561 (DJ)

Julius Caesar and Roman Britain was the  was the 8th title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.

Julius Caesar actually has very little space dedicated to him – the Roman most mentioned in Agricola.   The book also deals with Boadicea (as it’s written in the book) Druids, Hadrian’s Wall and the story of Caractacus.  Some brilliant, memorable images in this one.

This copy:

This copy still has its original DJ which in good condition, although worn at a all edges.  It’s not as worn as it looks in the photo.  Inside the book is in very good, clean condition.  This is the last title listed on the back DJ flap.

 

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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.  In very good condition inside and out with nice clean pages – slight edge wear to spine but better than it looks in the photo.  This copy dates to around 1970 and has the original revised price of 2/6 /12.5p on the back.

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King Alfred the Great, 1956, Series 561 (DJ)

King Alfred was the first title in the 561 series, colourfully written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney.  Early editions (before 1965) 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:

This copy still has its original DJ, not price-clipped.  It’s in very good condition, as is the book itself.  The DJ has the odd belmish or closed tear; the pages are nice and clean.  There’s a crease in one page – but this may be a printing error.

 

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