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Ladybird books

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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Rob Houghton » 27 Mar 2017, 10:54

I was reading a facebook thread the other day where a friend of mine was complaining about how some of her friends were complaining about the 'tablet ban' in hand luggage on aeroplane flights. She was saying something along the lines of 'can't parents entertain their children as we were entertained as kids - without the aid of electronic devices?"

Sadly, most of her friends called her out for not having children of her own - and more or less told her she would think differently if she had - and told her it was much easier to stick a tablet in front of a two year old to 'keep them quiet' than having to entertain them. Their child would demand a tablet to watch childrens programmes on and to play games on.

How sad! But its mainly dependant on the behaviours parents have instilled in their children. If a child has been used to being entertained with an electronic device all their life then they will know nothing better. If a child has learned how to entertain themselves in other ways, then they will. 8)

Sorry to go off topic!
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Moonraker » 27 Mar 2017, 10:56

Rob Houghton wrote:Fascinating! I love the changes - very interesting, although I had to smile at the way daddy is now lounging in his deckchair while Mummy does all the gardening, and how he is 'helping' with wrapping the present by merely holding a ribbon! :lol:


I hadn't realised that my wife and I now featured in these books.
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Ladybird: How To Swim and Dive

Postby pete9012S » 23 Jan 2018, 15:32

Image

How To Swim and Dive by Henry Marlow

How I loved this book and water when I was very little - I remember poring over the pictures and studying every detail and then absorbing the text.

Here are some random pics of the book for those old enough to remember it!

https://imgur.com/a/2GcS6
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby floragord » 23 Jan 2018, 18:49

Looking for a birthday card for a dear friend today I was amused to see one in the shape of a "Mindfulness" Ladybird book, it looked very realistic!
"Its a magic wood!" said Fanny suddenly.
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Rob Houghton » 23 Jan 2018, 19:04

For my birthday, I had a birthday card based on the covers for the 'adult' Famous Fives. I must say, I prefer it to the actual 'adult' book versions, as its just some nice artwork, and the title 'Five Take A Selfie' :-) Inside, it says " Anne made George promise not to tag her in the photo where the seagull had pooed on her head!" ;-)

Image


I used to love Lady Bird books as a child but would probably never have had the swimming and diving one...it would have sounded a bit too educational, lol! I'm afraid I wasn't a fan of books that taught me stuff...at least until I was about 14 or 15, then I started buying books on old movies and history etc. :-)
Last edited by Rob Houghton on 24 Jan 2018, 01:50, edited 1 time in total.
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 23 Jan 2018, 20:54

I hadn't realised there were greetings cards related to the adult Famous Five books, Rob, though I have seen some Ladybird ones.

How to Swim and Dive isn't a title I've ever come across, Pete, but then I never went swimming until I was ten. I did have (and still have) other Ladybird books illustrated by Martin Aitchison and I love his work. He adapted the style of his artwork according to genre, topic and era. Martin Aitchison died in October 2016 and there's a really lovely tribute to him here by Helen Day:

http://oldladybirdbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ ... ed_28.html

It's quite a long piece but very informative and I particularly enjoyed the following paragraphs:

I would estimate that Martin illustrated, or part-illustrated around 100 books for Ladybird from the early 1960s until the 1980s... Douglas Keen [commissioning editor] had high expectations of the quality of artwork and took pride in matching artist to commission. John Berry, for example, had an amazing gift for photorealism and for portrait. Robert Ayton was a story-teller in paint. Harry Wingfield was second-to-none in his ability to capture wistful tableaux of early childhood.

But in Martin Aitchison, Keen had an artist who could do it all.

His first book for Ladybird was ‘A First Book of Saints’. Shortly after this he was commissioned to work with Harry Wingfield on a new range of reading-scheme books [the 'Peter and Jane' series].

Learning to read, altering as it does the most basic ways in which we process and interpret information about the world, is a powerful stage in the life of any child. And in the 1960s, when there were fewer distractions for children - when many did not have a television and when children’s programming was only for a few hours in the day - the visual imagery of these books made a particularly powerful impression. Although Ladybird published hundreds of titles on all sorts of different subjects, it is these images of early reading in early childhood that are often etched most deeply on our memory.

Back in the 1960s, I was part of the target readership of these books. As a young child learning to read shortly after they were first published, I loved the illustrations. It didn’t matter to me that the ‘plot’ of the books was flimsy or non-existent; the richness of the pictures hinted at depths to the story that always remained just out of my understanding. There must be a lot more going on in every scene than the text stated, because the pictures, in some undefined way, hinted that that was so.

Martin and Harry Wingfield made the ‘Peter-and-Jane’1960s artwork look effortless, but in fact it was a style that was very hard to do well - a note that was hard to strike. No other of the highly-skilled Ladybirds artist managed to achieve the tricky blend of tidy, domestic, softened realism with the imaginative detail of a fictitious family.

But even so, when he was commissioned to re-illustrated the books in the 1970s, Martin was a lot more comfortable. Not only were the children to be brought up-to-date in terms of clothing and activity but the illustration style was to be more sketchy and fluid.

Life was a little messier and more chaotic in these depictions and in them Martin found more of an outlet for his humour.

...when asked to select his favourite commission for Ladybird Martin would always choose “Gulliver’s Travels”. If you ever get a chance to see the original artwork that he produced for this book then do. The reproduction in the books does not do it justice. The artwork combines humour, imagination, colour and verve – whilst respecting the traditions of a classic.

Peter and Jane's teacher was posed for by Martin's wife, Dorothy.


By the way, this part makes me think:

But even so, when he was commissioned to re-illustrated the books in the 1970s, Martin was a lot more comfortable. Not only were the children to be brought up-to-date in terms of clothing and activity but the illustration style was to be more sketchy and fluid.


If "sketchy and fluid" were the buzzwords for children's book illustrations in the 1970s (or even slightly earlier), that might explain the work of artists like Betty Maxey!
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Re: Ladybird: How To Swim and Dive

Postby Stephen » 24 Jan 2018, 04:53

pete9012S wrote:Image

How To Swim and Dive by Henry Marlow

How I loved this book and water when I was very little - I remember poring over the pictures and studying every detail and then absorbing the text.

Here are some random pics of the book for those old enough to remember it!

https://imgur.com/a/2GcS6


Gosh, I remember this one, and those pics bring back a lot of memories! The funny thing is, I still can't swim very well and haven't been to a pool for years - and yet this book made it look so easy and interesting!
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Rob Houghton » 24 Jan 2018, 20:52

I went swimming with my dad from about the age of 3 or 4 - and could swim quite well by the time we went swimming to the local baths each week from Primary School - but I would have hated this particular Ladybird book - not just because it was trying to teach us swimming, but because by the age of 10 I had been put into the top group of swimmers, and we were made to jump in the deep end and swim under water, which gave me a feeling that I was, quite literally, 'out of my depth' and began to give me feelings of being inadequate.

In a matter of a few weeks I went from being quite confident in the water to being scared of going swimming. In fact, I can remember faking stomach ache and illness on swimming days so my mom would keep me off school. After a couple of weeks she realised it was always the same day, and that it was swimming day, so she spoke to the teacher and I was allowed to go into the middle group, which swam in between the shallow and deep end.

So this book would probably have given me nightmares, and reminded me what an inadequate swimmer I was. :lol:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Courtenay » 24 Jan 2018, 22:59

I've never seen that one, but it probably would have left me feeling hopelessly inadequate too if I'd read it at any time before the age of about 8. I loved being in the pool or in the sea but was terrified of putting my head underwater (largely because of a few duckings by waves at the beach when I was very little) and it literally took me two years of swimming lessons before I finally dared somehow and went under. Once I realised, in that moment, that I wasn't going to drown after all, you couldn't keep me out of it! :lol: I never exactly became a champion swimmer, but I can certainly swim competently enough and enjoy it.

I wouldn't have thought a book about swimming would be that much use for learning, though — no amount of describing "how to swim" will do much for you until you're actually in the water moving your arms and legs, by which time you don't want to be holding a book (unless the pages are laminated)!! :P :wink:

Fascinating to read about Martin Aitchison and see some of his artwork, too — thanks for the link, Anita.
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Courtenay » 24 Jan 2018, 23:05

floragord wrote:Looking for a birthday card for a dear friend today I was amused to see one in the shape of a "Mindfulness" Ladybird book, it looked very realistic!


I bought the "Mindfulness" Ladybird book (it's one of the spoof "grown-up" ones, of course) for my sister a couple of years ago and she loved it! Some of the parody versions are actually really funny, unlike the "grown-up" Famous Fives. I don't always enjoy send-ups of classic children's literature, but many (not all) of the Ladybird ones are worth reading.
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Moonraker » 25 Jan 2018, 10:27

Anita Bensoussane wrote:I hadn't realised there were greetings cards related to the adult Famous Five books


I saw these in Clinton Cards before Christmas, and thought was a shame it was that they weren't taken from the proper Famous Five books.
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby pete9012S » 25 Jan 2018, 15:18

It was that Ladybird book and illustrations like the ones below that absolutely drew me to the water and underwater swimming like a moth to the flame!!!



Image

Image
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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Rob Houghton » 25 Jan 2018, 19:31

I was never really drawn to swimming - not sure why. My dad was a competent swimmer - but didn't learn until he was 21 and stationed in Cyprus for his RAF National Service. He and his mates used to swim in the sea. My mom never swam and didn't even like more than a couple of inches of water in her bath!! :lol:
'Oh voice of Spring of Youth
hearts mad delight,
Sing on, sing on, and when the sun is gone
I'll warm me with your echoes
through the night.'

(E. Blyton, Sunday Times, 1951)



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Re: Ladybird books

Postby Stephen » 25 Jan 2018, 19:49

I'm afraid the notorious drowning episode of Grange Hill put me off swimming pools for years!

The strange thing is, I can propel myself through the water to a degree - but I always preferred to just hold my breath and keep my face under. The idea that you breathe in coordination to your strokes filled me with dread. If you mistimed it, you'd get a lungful of water and inevitably start to panic! As for backstroke, no, no, no! It's fine to have your head above the surface and breathing normally, but if you bobbed under, that would be it as far as I was concerned!
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