Helping at Home, 1961 in ITA


The most significant thing about this book is that it is a rare ITA version.  ITA stood for  Initial Teaching Alphabet and was  developed by Sir James Pitman (the grandson of Sir Isaac Pitman, inventor of a system of shorthand) in the early 1960s. It was  intended to be a practical simplified writing system which could be used to teach English-speaking children to read more easily than can be done with traditional orthography. After children had learned to read using I.T.A, they were expected to move smoothly on to learn standard English spelling. Although it achieved a certain degree of popularity in the 1960s, it fell rather sharply from grace in the 1970s.  Ladybird unenthusistically went along with the trend for a few years, producing a small number of their best selling books in an ITA version.  Because they didn’t produce many, they are sought after today both by Ladybird collectors but also by children who grew up with ITA.

Helping at Home, series 563, is, for me, one of the more nostalgic and evocative of all Ladybird books.  It was written by child-education expert Margaret Gagg and beautifully illustrated by Harry Wingfield.   It takes the reader through a number of domestic situations – two children helping their parents in the house, in the garden and shopping.  Now I was born in the 1960s and what is most appealing about this is the way Wingfield’s depicts domestic scenes with a perfect blend of accuracy and fantasy – yes, all the details of the book could be from my earliest memories and yet … everything is so shiny and perfect and happy.  Yet, despite this, this book is a helpful way to counteract some of the lazy assumptions that are often made about Ladybird books.   Yes, the little boy (not Peter) helps his dad with the gardening – but so does his little sister.  Yes, the little girl (not Jane) helps her mum in the kitchen – but so does the boy.  Dad goes shopping with the rest of the family and Mum joins in with the garden bonfire.

This matt copy has onw big, glaring fault – a large scuff across the front cover which is very disfiguring.   The covers are also a bit grubby but inside the pages are clean and fresh.  It dates tothe 1960s and has the original price of 2/6 inside.  If you’d like to get an ITA Ladybird book without having to take out a bank loan to buy one – this may be the book for you.

Out of stock


Additional information

Weight 0.11 kg