Uncle Mac, real name Derek McCulloch, was a well-known children’s entertainer, author and radio broadcaster with the BBC and his name was also to be seen on many children’s annuals of the 1940s and 50s. Following Ladybird’s venture into celebrity endorsement seen in series 413, to which children’s radio personality Muriel Levy (Auntie Muriel) lent her name, ‘Uncle Mac’ became established as the putative author of series 455. The Uncle Mac books were all primarily picture books for pre-school children. There were 6 books in the series. The main focus was animals and nature but the there was also Uncle Mac’s ABC and ‘In the Train with Uncle Mac’. They were all illustrated by Septimus Scott except for the last one – In the Train – which was illustrated by W C Watson. Scott’s career was fading a little by this stage – his beautiful, soft-focus paintings retained a very Edwardian feel and were beginning to look a little dated for many commissions. But for picutre books for young children they were just right. Watson was able to replicate Scott’s palette and technique very well, so the series feels consistent in style.
In the Train with Uncle Mac was the last book in the series and the only book still to be printed (at least for a few years) in the 1960s, after the age of the dustwrapper.
This copy dates from the 1960s and never had a dustwrapper. I’ve described it as ‘matt’ but the cover has a silky, shiny feel that only a few books of this era had. The pages too have the shiny paper that you find on books from series 413. It’s in very good condition inside and out with fresh, clean pages. A very nice copy of a lovely, evocative book.
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