I’m half revisiting an old title here on Ladybird Tuesday this week. Back in early 2013 I covered Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries which is part of series 621 which was called Junior Science. In the 1980s this series was updated and reissued and the books were juggled around a little bit. Rather than the four original titles (Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries, Light, Mirrors and Lenses, Air, Wind and Flight and Levers, Pulleys and Engines) there were eventually 8 titles in this revamped series:
- Magnets and Electricity
- Simple Mechanics
- Simple Chemistry
With the first four of these titles you can see how they map over to the original four titles, whilst the remaining ones pull from other different Ladybird series.
This week I’m looking at the first in this new series – Magnets and Electricity. Firstly it’s very obvious to see how the style of these books has changed over the years. The illustrations have changed a lot and instead of seeing the original brother and sister doing the experiments we instead have more instructional close up pictures and some photographs too.
The original Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries book has an illustration which shows the girl cutting into a battery with a pair of wire cutters and the boy placing his tongue between a bit of zinc and a carbon rod stuck into a lemon so that he can feel a tingling on his tongue as the electric current flows through it.
It all looks rather artistic, yet by the time we get to the later version the photographs of a better being taken to pieces just look rather dull and the drawing of the lemon experiment is rather strange.
I can understand why these later books are possibly a bit easier to follow if you were trying to do some of the experiments at home, but they just seem to have lost their charm a bit.
The later version of Magnets and Electricity has also moved on in terms of some of what it covers. Fuses are covered for instance, yet when the original version was published most houses would have still used fuse wire then instead. Circuit diagrams and how to draw and understand them has also appeared – something I remember very clearly from school.
In these days where primary school children are taught how to code and use computers and iPads reading Magnets and Electricity has made me wonder how much of this sort of thing is covered at primary school now – I hope it hasn’t all been lost in the rush to explain coding. Maybe it’s time for me to go and investigate what is available for children like LMC as I know how much I enjoyed making circuits and playing with magnets when I was a child – after all that’s how I started off on the path that ended up with a degree in electronic engineering!
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 index page here on Being Mrs C. Thanks!