Saturday, 13 April 2013

L is for Ladybird

It is sad that I no longer have the copies of these vintage Ladybird books and even more sad that they are now collectors items fetching ludicrous prices. Ladybird Books are a nostalgia things for me on two fronts, having read them myself as a child and then the collection we inherited that I read to my own children. But then of course (because sometimes they just can't leave well alone) Ladybird updated the illustrations and the stories and they just weren't the same. The modern illustrations have a nasty plastic cartoon quality with harsh artificial colours. While the Peter and Jane early readers are best consigned to the history books along with their tired sexual stereotypes there is much to recommend these traditional story books. My particular favourite ones are in the Well Loved Tales series. The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Chicken Licken were both books that I could recite from memory when we were out walking, in fact any wooden bridge we crossed would be called a 'trip trap bridge' and would spark a game of trolls (I think I usually got to be the troll). I love them because they are often silly, but are making a point about life without labouring it or being preachy. They pose a situation for the protagonist which then prompts the question, what would you do?
 Three Billy Goats Gruff has a slightly simplistic message about standing up to bullies, or maybe about standing up for people who are smaller and weaker than you (or maybe just facing your fears?) but I like the troll and the trip trapping over the bridge bit, it's nicely theatrical to read aloud:
Chicken Licken is about stupid people following the crowd and getting what's coming to them:
The Elves and the Shoemaker is about hard work and helping others and gratitude:
 The Magic Porridge Pot is about being careful what you wish for (and also maybe the importance of remembering instructions carefully):
 The Enormous Turnip is about the importance of cooperation:
What's not to love?

(Go to the list here and visit other A to Z Bloggers.)


  1. I love those books - we've still got some. And I especially love your plot/moral in a nutshell !! xx

  2. Oh my gosh! I remember all of these! Thanks for the stroll down memory lane! Thanks, too, for stopping by my blog!

  3. I remember those books! Three Billy Goats Gruff...wonderful!

  4. smiles...def love the old stories like that...and we used to recite them from memory to my boys as well..ha...thanks for reminding me of that...smiles.

  5. Love these, and you're right the pictures make it.

  6. We especially need the ones where you stand up to bullies and help out each other. Great reminder.

  7. Thanks for visiting folks, I think we should start a petition to get Ladybird to reissue these stories in the old format. I hope everyone is enjoying joining in with the A to Z challenge.

  8. I grew up on these too, they were the first books I ever read =D They are so magical, from the words to the pictures to the cover, ooh that tingle you get when you pick it up to read again, even though you know every word and picture off by heart! They are just delicious and yes; I think to bring them back would be doing such a service to today's young readers <3


Thanks for stopping by. Thoughts, opinions and suggestions (reading or otherwise) always most welcome.


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