Following up on our coverage of the Ladybird Books exhibitions at the National Football Museum and London’s House of Illustration, here’s a round up of other Ladybird-related happenings around the UK, as the much-loved brand celebrates its 100th Anniversary.
Ladybird books played a role in many people’s lives, whether as children, parents, grandparents or teachers. The affordable, pocket sized books covered all topics from fairy tales to farms, and from toys to transport. and the beautiful illustrations and well told stories have fixed in reader’s minds and today conjure up memories from all ages, and are the originals are much sought after today, in second hand book shops and online at Amazon and other retailers.
Ladybird’s bite size histories, or ‘stories’ for children growing up in the post war era, created a winning formula. The books were marketed as ‘easy reading’ following research in the 1960s showing that just 12 words make up 25 per cent of all the words we speak, this led to the launch of the world renowned Key Words Reading Scheme in 1964.
Lords, the home of Cricket, is hosting a display of Ladybird artwork, as part of the centenary celebrations this year, which runs until 1st December 2015.
Illustrating Cricket (1950 – 65), in partnership with Penguin Ventures, keepers of the Ladybird Archive at The Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).brings together for the first time three major children’s cricket books published between 1950 and 1965: The MCC Book for the Young Cricketer (1950-1953),The Boys’ Book of Cricket (1949-1954) and 28 original colour illustrations from the Ladybird ‘Easy Reading’ Book The Story of Cricket, written by by Vera Southgate and illustrated by Jack Matthew and published in 1964, on public display for the first time.
The exhibition examines a Golden Age of cricket at a time when Britain looked back at an idealised life before the war. The nostalgic books are filled with images of an Arcadian landscape in which fresh-faced boys played their cricket as though childhood would never end.
The Boys’ Book of Cricket harked back to the Boy’s Own books of an earlier generation, its picturesque illustrations adding to romantic tales of heroism on, and off, the field of play. As with the classic Boy’s Own Tales, there was always a distinct moral lesson to be learned.
The book was designed to use children’s enthusiasm for cricket to instil in them the virtues that would make them good citizens of the future.
The MCC Book for the Young Cricketerhad a less wide-ranging, social remit. Its focus was on taking a nascent interest in the game and fostering a deeper understanding and a longer-term commitment in its young fans. Its pages frequently featured tips from great cricketers and more detailed coaching.
Illustrating Cricket (1950 – 65) runs parallel to the community arts education programme HowzArt, which offers educational tours, workshops and competitions to school children 6–18 years old. You can find more information on their blog here.
Charnwood Museum in Loughborough, the birthplace of Ladybird Books, is celebrating 100 years of Ladybird and its connection to the people and places of Loughborough with an update to its permanent display, incorporating new touch screen displays and a Ladybird timeline.
A temporary exhibition, featuring books and original artwork, will be on display in the Museum’s exhibition space entitled ‘We Love Ladybird – 100 Years of Learning’, between the 11th July and the 1st November 2015.
You can find out more about the museum’s Ladybird-related exhibitions and activities, which are supported by Arts Council England, on their website here.
Come To The Farm at The University of Reading Special Collections is a celebration of books on farms and farming for children selected from the Children’s Collection, part of the University of Reading rare book collections, and the library of the Museum of English Rural Life.
The exhibits range from an early nineteenth century book on farming and ‘rural economy’ for children to a twentieth century pop-up book of a Victorian farmhouse. The exhibition also features a selection of Ladybird books on farms and farming from our Ladybird collections.
Fun at the Farm was one of a series of Key Words books published by Ladybird, written by British educationalist William Murray. There’s more information about the range on the Ladybird web site here.
The exhibition is on display at the Special Collections Service until 17th July 2015; visit their website for further information.
Ladybird Books Reimagined, which we reported on in March, is an exhibition that gives an unexpected and contemporary perspective on Ladybird Books, as part of the centenary celebration. Graphics and illustration students from across the School of Design at London College of Communication have collaborated to produce objects, images, animations and interactive pieces that celebrate and reinterpret the classic, pocket-sized books.
They have taken inspiration from the original artwork and the extensive archive to create work that playfully explores the mix of factual, fairytale and nostalgic content – reimagining it for today’s world.
The exhibition will take place at London College of Communication (in Elephant and Castle) from 10th – 21st September 10th to September 2015, and will be a participant in the London Design Festival 2015. There’s more information on the project here on the LCC web site
The British Schools Museum, Hitchin will also be celebrating 100 years of Ladybird books with an exhibition about these colourful classics.
With over 200 Ladybird books in the museum’s collection you can explore a range of titles including the 1940s classic tale Bunnikin’s Picnic Party, illustrated by Walter Hayward, What to Look for in Summer illustrated by Charles Tunicliffe, and the iconic Key Words Reading Scheme.
The exhibition runs between the 21st July to the 24th November 2015, with more information on their website.
• You can keep up to date with all Ladybird events at this website: www.vintageladybird.com
Ladybird Books © Ladybird Books Ltd.