When it comes to my Ladybird collection I tend to go for the older books with the matt covers as these are the ones that I remember most clearly from my own childhood. These matt covered seemed to be produced until some time in the 1980s when they instead moved over to the glossy covers that are most commonly found in charity shops today. In an ideal world I’d collect both, but it’s fair to say that Mr C already thinks that our house is overrun with books and I don’t really fancy divorce right now. Too busy with a million and one other things for a start.
Some glossy covered books do sneak into my collection though – either when they’re subjects that I really want, or when they’re direct reproductions of older books that were originally published with matt covers. This week’s Ladybird Tuesday, talkabout going into hospital fits into this latter category perfectly. The talkabout series 735 was originally published in the mid 1970s (1973 according to some records I’ve found) yet this version is dated 1985. Looking around on the internet I’m struggling to find out if this version was ever actually printed with matt covers or if it was actually the first in the Talkabout series to have laminated covers whilst retaining the old style of cover art. Apparently a later version of this same book has a different cover, but identical pages inside. I’m trying to track a copy down to check.
The Talkabout series was designed to enable young children to be able to talk about the world around them and in specific events that might be about to happen to them, allowing them to ask questions and talk about any fears that they might have. Going into hospital is exactly such a book, allowing parents to explain the hospital setting and what goes on there to their children before any visit or stay.
From a vintage point of view what I really love about this book is the style of the illustrations. Illustrated by Martin Aitchison there’s the typical Ladybird old fashioned feel to them. A note inside the front cover gives thanks to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for their help in producing the book, in particular “gaining photographic reference for the illustrations” which probably explains why they are so detailed.
Life in a hospital has obviously modernised quite a bit since this book was published, especially on children’s wards, but when Little Miss C chose to read this at bedtime the other night it was actually a really good time to explain to her about all the different reasons why people end up in hospital and the various treatments and rehabilitation that they may undergo whilst there.
The one bit of this Ladybird book that seems a bit out of keeping with the rest of it is the inside of the front cover where there’s this rather cute little bear illustration.
The bear doesn’t seem to appear at all in the main body of the book and the art style is also completely different. My guess is that it was a series of art done for inside the covers of the newer 1980s versions of the Talkabout series, but until I find one in a charity shop to check I’m not totally sure.
If you have a collection of old Ladybird books then please feel free to join in with Ladybird Tuesday. There are no formal rules to follow, just leave a link to any post you write in the comments below and if you’re feeling kind link back to my Ladybird Tuesday category here on Being Mrs C. Thanks!