The Party, series 563, is, for me, one of the most evocative of all Ladybird books. It was written by child-education expert Margaret Gagg and beautifully illustrated by Harry Wingfield. To my 5-year-old self this book was essence-of-aspiration. The book tells the story of two children, John and Susan, who are invited to Ann’s birthday party. The children walk unaccompanied to the party, play party games such as hunt-the-thimble and blind-man’s-buff and eat a homemade party tea. Everyone behaves well. No one cries and no-one deliberately bursts the balloons. Ann is delighted with her gift (a Ladybird book and some pencil-crayons) and there are smiles all round. But the outstanding feature for me – and for many of us – is the party clothes. Ann has a yellow party dress with a big sash bow and shiny yellow party shoes. Susan has the same but in blue. I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful than those party clothes.
In common with all the books in series 563, The Party was originally issued with a dustwrapper.
This copy has lost its original dustwrapper. The boards are creased and there is a rather lovely bookplate in the front, explaining that this book was awarded as a prize from a Methodist Church in 1964. There is some discolouration on the reverse from the bookplate adhesive. The pages are quite well-turned but are generally clean and the illustrations have that glow about them that only early edition books of this series have.
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