Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Whatever happened to Ladybird books?

Went out to get a cup of yoghurt after lunch and dropped into the bookshop next door. Was browsing aimlessly when I cam upon a rack of Ladybird books. One title (The Little Red Hen) caught my eye and I picked it up. This is a story that I remember from my childhood, glancing through I find that the story is still the same - except for one critical thing: the pictures have changed! I checked another, The Elves and the Shoemaker, and it was just the same. They seem to have revamped the books entirely.

The highlight of the Ladybird books used to be their beautiful illustrations. I think they were either oil paintings or watercolours but done to a very high standard. The pictures were so attractive that one could spend a lot of time just looking at them. They really brought the story to life and it is something I consider very important in encouraging children to pick up a book.

The illustrations in the new editions are fairly all right but nothing compared to the books of old. For examples of the old have a look here I'm not really sure why they changed the books, maybe to make them look more modern I suppose but I think that was a mistake, something that a thriving market in old editions seems to prove.

Anyway for anyone interested in further information on the history of Ladybird books and old titles have a look here and here.

The official site is here.

A good article on another favourite- Tootles the Taxi is here.


Lady divine said...

I used to love lady bird books.. loved collecting them as a kid.. and then gave them away to kids who didn't have much...:)

niroshinie said...

What? they've taken away those lovely illustrations?!..on seconds thoughts though I recently saw an article that said too many pictures hinder a child's reading progress?

messiahofmadness said...

Definitely watercolours!

As for the change... well it seems to have a distinct 60's thing going for it... I'd hardly call that "modern"! I don't find it all that appealing... those illustrations wouldn't compel me to pick the book up =/

Jack Point said...

Niroshinie - the books still have pictures but they are new ones, which are not as nice.

I found the old ones very attractive. At an early stage where words mean little or nothing then its the pictures that will hold attention.

sachithvida said...

You know the only reason I would ever decided to buy the books was to check out the illustrations...Later I started to reading them...:)

Jack Point said...

I went to that bookshop again and looked at more books. They now have different editions of the same story with different illustrations.

There is one set call "Easy Reading" or "Read myself" or something like that that has really lousy pictures. Then they have one series called "Read to me" or something to that effect which has better pictures (these are the ones I first looked at ) but still not as good as the old ones.

girlonarock said...

i collect them! i picked one up years ago and all my memories of owning these books in the 70's came flooding back to be. i started collecting them from car boots and charity shops and now i have about 300. if i see one i buy one, even if i already have it. (i usually put duplicates on ebay once a year) it sounds crazy but i even love the smell of them! they smell old! ha ha
the old pictures in them are fab!

Spider said...

it's a pity when they change books like that.. but i suppose they have to market it with kids of today in mind... i remember the books with the really good pictures used to make me feel like i was reading something amazingly important!

Jack Point said...

girlonarock, spider, thanks for visiting.

Nice to know others share some of my nostalgia for the 70's!

girlonarock said...

thanks, i've just put up a short post on my blog with a couple of pics of some of the books i have (the rest in boxes somewhere!) i've really enjoyed going through them today and having a trip down nostalgia lane. I hadn't notice my sleeping beauty today, but i love the pics in that one, top quality stuff!