Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPOSTER - TOBY WALNE

THE Lady­bird book is cel­e­brat­ing its cen­te­nary this year – with a wave of nostal­gia re­turn­ing with th­ese child­hood favourites.

Bed­time for many chil­dren over the years in­cluded be­ing read an ex­tract from The Three Lit­tle Pigs, The Magic Por­ridge Pot or The Elves And The Shoe­maker.

In­deed, many adults have gone on to read th­ese same sto­ries to their own chil­dren or grand­chil­dren. With­out in­ter­net dis­trac­tions, Lady­bird books also kept chil­dren en­ter­tained dur­ing the day – with a Book Of Things To Make and the se­ries of How It Works and Ad­ven­tures From History.

Many Lady­bird edi­tions were so pop­u­lar, they were later printed in their mil­lions. But find a rare copy or first edi­tion and it can be worth hun­dreds of rands.

Col­lec­tor He­len Day, 51, who lives in Lon­don, owns more than 1 500 Lady­bird books. She says: “I was brought up read­ing th­ese books and their idyl­lic and op­ti­mistic view of the world con­tin­ues to cap­ti­vate me.”

Day, who trains teach­ers, said: “The art­work is amaz­ing. In the Peter and Jane books, Jane used to help her mum around the house, but she later got rid of the dress and be­came a bit of a tom­boy wear­ing jeans. Peo­ple forget Peter also liked skip­ping and flow­ers.”

Life for the Lady­bird book be­gan in 1915 dur­ing World War I.

The first books pub­lished un­der the Lady­bird la­bel were Tiny Tots Trav­els and Hans Chris­tian An­der­sen’s Fairy Tales – and th­ese can now com­mand more than R1 000.

But it was not un­til 1940 af­ter it ad th wa

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