How adVINTAGEeous -The world according to Ladybird part 1

Ladybird books, I’ve always loved them! From being a small girl in the 1970’s when I had lots of ‘Well Loved Tales’ (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Magic Porridge Pot etc) to being a small adult in 2017.

I was drawn to the slim shape ideal for children and instantly recognisable by the logo. You know there’s something interesting contained within a familiar (usually) 50 page format with a beautifully illustrated drawing on one side of the page, and text on the other.

I have a small, select collection of vintage Ladybirds on a shelf in my book-infested cottage, some of which pre-date Ladybird Books Ltd and are acknowledged in the name of their original publishers Wills and Hepworth. Ladybird has produced loads of series, from stories for the very young, to older readers, to educational. I like the old natural history ones best. My auntie (who loves all things ’50’s) has a better collection of Ladybird books than me, some with original dust jackets.

Ladybird recently brought out a whole series of books for grown-ups – again beautifully illustrated, and in the tried-and-tested traditional format. They are jokey ones of course, using modern themes to suggest that mums work best by feeding them red wine, that Hipster dudes have peculiar names, and how many silly excuses you could use to ‘pull a sickie’.

I recently bought ‘How it works – The Grandparent’. Being at the younger end of grandparenthood, and not quite ready for the shampoo and set just yet, if ever (no, never. I’m adamant!) I’m curious to see how I measure up to Ladybird’s exacting standards, or at least their humorous interpretation of what a grandparent should be. I’ll look at this soon in part 2. But first, here are some of my vintage Ladybird books.

I think this book in the Leaders series was actually my brother’s. We both liked the picture of the overly opulent Royal carriage below which outdid anything in our tiny 1970’s living room.


A very well-worn shiny-cover copy of Cooking from the Learnabout series first published in the 1960’s though this is a few years later. The dishes are very 70’s and I’ve made a few of them, including the easy recipe below which I actually still make.
All recipes started with ‘Wash your hands and put on an apron’.
When I saw this on a carboot for about 50p I had to buy it back. I was a Brownie back in 1978 (the last original Brownie from the 1st Kinmel Bay Pack) Unlike these good little girls, I wore my jeans and trainers under my Brownie dress.
I still have my original Brownie Promise Badge
Don’t remember doing games like these, but it’s funny to read the text now.
I just love the pictures in this 1968 edition
Proper cars from back in the day.
Again, beautiful illustrations


It has a dust jacket and the old original brown cover, and an inscription from 1964, Eryl Wynne Morris (no relation).
And finally, two of  M.E. Gagg’s ‘Learning to Read’ books, from 1962 and 1958
These books always depicted happy middle-class family life.

Coming shortly, my thoughts on the Ladybirds for grown-ups ‘How it Works – The Grandparent.

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