Ladybird books are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year – how wonderful.
I love ladybird books, and it’s delightful to discover not only do they go back farther than I’d realised but they are still going strong, under the ownership of Penguin.
Ladybird books have been responsible for getting many, many children interested in reading – in fact, helping them learn to read.
They are such an eclectic mix, with ‘how to’ instruction books rubbing shoulders with fiction, often based on fairy tales.
My bookshelves heaved under the likes of ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’, ‘The Enormous Turnip’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. My ‘Learning to Sew’ and ‘Simple Electronics’ volumes jostled for space with ‘Chicken Licken’ and ‘The Gingerbread Man’.
Memorably, I had a Ladybird booked called ‘Your Body’ which I think was probably my mother’s attempt at sex education, as it had a chapter on reproduction, although to be honest I didn’t understand the terminology.
What was lovely about these books was how smart they looked on my bookcase; how they were short and digestible for children, and how their size made them easy for little hands to hold.
I love Ladybird, my children loved Ladybird, and I’m sure present day children must love them too. Here’s to their next 100 years – may they never be swamped by Kindle.