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October 2018



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TV Watch: Ladybird Books

A lovely little programme on BBC4 (where else?) yesterday evening. Well worth catching if you were a Ladybird baby. I wasn’t. The images from my early childhood were from the Beatrix Potter books, Little Grey Rabbit and old books of my mother’s. I started collecting the books, mostly from charity shops and boot sales, when my daughter was small. I ended up with quite a lot of them, most of which I got rid of when I downsized. I kept my favourites: the nature books and the history series.


Tunnicliffe’s detailed illustrations fascinated the young Chris Packham.


The book which started Andrew Motion on a lifetime’s interest in Nelson. I mentioned the history series briefly here. It was fascinating to see an old interview in which an historian, talking to John Tusa, made a spirited defence of the du Garde Peach view of history, on the grounds that it made history interesting for children. This was after the original Ladybird company was sold, the style of the books was changed and the history books rewritten.

On this BBC blog you can meet a collector who has thousands (yes, really) of Ladybird books. There are so many on ebay that there’s a dedicated help page, advising sellers on the various editions. I thought the Ladybird boom was over, but it seems not. Now, the books have reappeared in nostalgic box sets and the compilation volume Boys and Girls: A Ladybird Book of Childhood. A quick search on Google will bring up a number of sites offering pictures and information. Everyone on the programme agreed that Ladybird-land was a happy place and these bloggers would obviously like to live there.


BTW The Book People are sending their customers a merry little Christmas video .


I was very much a Ladybird baby and still have many books now. They taught my children to read as well as me! I thought it was a lovely programme (and I was fascinated to see Lucy Mangan without her green spotty dress).
Lucy Mangan is quite good on children's books.
"Uncle" Charles Tunnicliffe was a family friend. I didn't know that he was a Ladybird illustrator, but my children loved Ladybird books - how did I miss that?
Little Grey Rabbit and Beatrix Potter were my childhood too - I still have some from my first and second birthdays
I expect you knew the pictures but didn't clock the name.
We pick up old Ladybird books. I just noticed in the programme 'Beaky, the Greedy Duck', which I had forgotten about until I saw the cloth tied as a napkin.

A few years ago, browsing in a bookshop in Mevagissey, I came across a greetings card using an illustration from 'Sleeping Beauty'. I was transported back to when I studied this picture as a child. The woman in the bookshop noticed my intent observation of it, and commented 'That really was a favourite, wasn't it!'. The card's stuck to the fridge now, and can still reel me in.

Thanks for the link to the programme.

Edited at 2013-12-23 10:37 pm (UTC)
Nothing like images for taking you back. I think huskyteer's favourites were Smoke and Fluff, Chicken Licken and Tiptoes the Mischievous Kitten. The Well Loved Tales series seem to be the most collectable now, apert from the great rarities.

Hope you watched and enjoyed!
Ha, I was going to list my favourites! Definitely Tiptoes and Smoke & Fluff. I liked Tootles the Taxi as well.
*Everyone* loves Tootles. An old one in really good condition is worth a bit.
My brother and his wife are buying old Ladybird books for my nephew. The good ones are not cheap!
Depends where you look!
Where should I look?!
I've found some nice ones at car boot sales. Unfortunately, too many people now have the idea that Ladybird books are valuable and try to charge a lot for scruffy old copies. The glory days are gone. I like the old ones with dustwrappers and used to be able to get them cheaply. To my surprise, prices on ebay are on the up again.
Yes, I've been looking on ebay and in charity shops and not finding any bargains.
I loved the seasons ones - What to Look For in Winter etc. And I learnt to read with Peter and Jane. When my son was struggling a bit with learning to read, I brought Peter and Jane out of retirement and they helped him come on in leaps and bounds. I also loved the fairy tales, especially Cinderella (fab dresses!) and Sleeping Beauty.
I love those seasons ones, especially Autumn.

I'm too old for Peter and Jane. We had Janet and John, also now collectable books.
I can't imagine Roger Redhat and his friends will ever be collectible. I'd be happy if I never saw one again.
They were *awful*. I felt so sorry for you all having to plough through them.


Ladybird books

I was already a young teenager when these were popular in the 1950s and therefore I didn't have them myself (although I had Observer's books and I-Spy books) but my children had them and I wish - as indeed most of us do - that I had kept them. However, I have a mint set of What to Look for in Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter (with their dust jackets) and several others, not story books but factual ones, mainly Nature and Fashion and Architecture. I think What to Look for in Winter is my all time favourite. Many a time have I seen a pink winter sky with bare trees silhouetted against it as in one of Tunnicliffe's fine illustrations.
This was a super TV prog, good progs having been thin on the ground (as per usual) this Christmas.
Margaret P

Re: Ladybird books

That's my favourite, too!