It’s been a little while since we’ve visited the Ladybird Key Word Reading Scheme here on Ladybird Tuesday, but that’s where we’re headed today with book 10b in the series – Adventure at the castle.
The early books in the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme are the ones that everyone seems to be familiar with. Simple sentences about Peter and Jane were how many of my generation learnt how to read. I’m guessing that many of us moved on to other books though and didn’t progress on to the later titles in the series like this one.
By Adventure at the castle we have left Peter and Jane behind and this time the story is about John and Simon (who I assume are brothers) who are off on an adventure together. No longer are we talking about children though as the story starts with telling us how they both want to “drive a long way” and how “their mother let them have her car for the holiday”. I’m therefore guessing that John and Simon must be at least 17 years old, but children much younger get than that must have been reading this book, so why would they want to read about young adults like this? I’m a tad puzzled about that. They pack their telescope and fishing rods with them which fits in much more with what children reading might associate with, but I’m still confused as to what 17+ year old boys would be having an adventure like that rather than heading down to the local pub to try and get served and to find some girls to go after. Have teenage boys really changed that much over the years?
The story progresses like a mild Famous Five type of story. John and Simon end up fishing on a river when they spot a castle slightly upstream of them. From the castle a boy uses a mirror to reflect the sun and signal to the boys. They then spot him writing notes, putting them into bottles and throwing them into the river. Using a raft that they have built they manage to find one of the bottles and read the note that it contains. The boy, Philip, is stuck in the castle with his uncle who is very sick, and he can’t work the drawbridge to be able to get out. He asks for John and Simon’s help.
With the help of a rope the boys manage to get into the castle, speak to Philip and see his uncle, who is indeed in bed very ill. They then help call the Police who come and help Philip and his uncle and get him to hospital where he needs to be. It’s very much the kind of story that you expect Enid Blyton to have written, but in her version Philip would have been help captive by some sort of bad man (often armed with a gun I’ve noticed) and they would have had to have some sort of conflict to get Philip out. Like I said – this is very much a mild version of events.
Like the other titles in the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme, Adventure at the castle is written by W. Murray and illustrated by J. H. Wingfield, in the same style that he has used for all the other Key Words books. Having seen the Ladybird by Design exhibition years ago I know just what amazing works of art the original artwork for these book was. So incredibly detailed and a perfect accompaniment to the story itself.
the only thing left puzzling me about Adventure at the castle is who would actually be reading the book!
If you, like me, have a fascination for old Ladybird books then please take a look at all the books I have featured here on Ladybird Tuesday over the years. There’s a list of the titles I have and links to when I covered them on Ladybird Tuesday here, but I will warn you that it’s rather in need of an update. If you have any old Ladybird books that you no longer want, photos of books in your collection that you want to share, or are trying to track down a title that you remember from childhood then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m nearly always on social media as BeingMrsC, or you can find my email address on my Working with Mrs C page.