I found some postcards of Ladybird book covers

Ladybird book - Danger MenIn Oxfam the other day I found a stand full to the brim (there was no brim – stands don’t have brims. But imagine there was a brim, and it was full-to) of postcards depicting the covers of Ladybird books. (If you’re too young to know about Ladybird books then you can be assured that I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.)

Ladybird books were a huge part of many childhoods, my own included, and it’s only slightly overstating it to say that if Ladybird books didn’t exist then my illiteracy would be so comprehensive I’d be ill-equipped to write any words about them, but I suppose it wouldn’t matter because they wouldn’t exist (in this scenario – they do in real life), so even if I wanted to write about them I couldn’t, and if I tried to explain that I wanted to write about Ladybird books I’d be laughed right of town because, like, I said, the things wouldn’t even exist (again, in this scenario. I stress they do exist in real life) . I’m making this needlessly complicated.

I bought quite a few of the postcards (only 35p each) because they are a delight, in a nostalgic-for-your-childhood-because-you’re-too-BLOODY-feeble-to-handle-real-grown-up-life kind of way. They harken back to a time when real actual people drew lovely illustrations for kids’ books, as opposed to today when the pictures for such tomes are – and I’ve looked this up – generated via complex colour-cognisant algorithmically-infused robot tablet computer phones.

Anyway, look at this!

Look at this

“Johnny! Look at this! While, out of sight, I fondle you.”

Look at the wonder in the children’s eyes. Their wonder hath nothing to do with computrons and the like. A butterfly is enough to hold their attention, for this is a simpler time. A butterfly. A butterfly. Idiots.

Ladybird book - Look at this

The Gingerbread Boy

Not really sure what’s happening here. Are they angry with The Gingerbread Boy? Did the Gingerbread Boy just steal all the ginger and bread, make himself, then run off? If they are angry, why is Pops gyrating his hips like a pole dancer? Is he about to “put it on” his lady wife? Is she his wife, or just some gingerbread-fixated hussy he’s hooked up with?

At least The Gingerbread Boy looks happy. Although given the upset he’s caused this suggests he’s a sociopath, albeit a rather nicely turned out, delicious one.

Ladybird book - The Gingerbread Boy

Danger Men

Here we find Don Draper on a rare, much-deserved day off. He was mad, now he’s dangerous – but he’s still dapper, even when tempting watery death, and he’s providing a binocular-toting lady on the boat with some spicy up-trouser action.

I suppose this book must have been for slightly older kids. You can only go so long looking at butterflies before you need something a little more piquant, and tightrope-walking certainly fits that bill. This picture is now my mobile phone wallpaper.

Ladybird book - Danger Men


“W-Wonk? Wh-where are we going, Wonk?”

“Adventure. Sharrup.”

“But-but I’m cold, Wonk. I didn’t put any trousers on because there was no adventure on today’s itinerary.”

“Juz follow me.”

“Can I borrow your scarf? Wonk, can you slow down a bit? Wonk?”

“Where za fuggin’ offy…”

Ladybird book - Fireworks

What To Look For In Spring

Lambs, lots of lambs, a bird, a tree and some lambs. This scene might have been recorded in Wales or New Zealand. Why are the lambs so interested in the tree trunk? Are lambs known to be fond of tree carcasses, or is it just that lambs are so young and gay and silly that they think everything’s worth gambolling around?

No offence to any veggies, but if lambs are simple enough to be entertained by dead wood and taste as good as they do, you know…

Ladybird book - What To Look For In Spring

Your Body

Ha! Yeah, I wish.

Ladybird book - Your Body

Smoke and Fluff

This pair look like trouble! Look at ’em! Peekin’! And are those jam tarts on the floor of the pantry? Nickin’ jam tarts, are ya? Oi! You don’t even eat jam, you’re cats! Cats in bibs! Oh it’s no use, I can’t stay mad.

Ladybird book - Smoke And Fluff

Tootles The Taxi

I can’t be the only one who thinks it looks like the kids are pointing accusatory fingers at Tootles.

“Hello kids, would you like a ride?

I’m ever so nice and warm inside!”

“Up yours Tootles, you pervy old cab,

Go and find some other kids to grab!”

Ladybird book - Tootles The Taxi

Puppies And Kittens

Probably my favourite. You get the impression the dog has never seen a cat before – he’s astounded. “What are these things in my house?”

The cats are just hoping the dog doesn’t know he’s supposed to chase them. One of the cats is whispering to the other, “I would feel much happier if there was a window or a door right here. Why did we come into this kennel, anyway? I can’t even remember what we were looking for.”

Ladybird book - Puppies And Kittens


  1. Sian

    Aww, Smoke & Fluff peekin’!

    I don’t actually remember any of these. I might have been to busy reading the Village with Three Corners.

  2. Elizabeth

    I remember a few of these. The Body one has actually quite informative, and The Gingerbread Boy was well-thumbed.

  3. Sarah

    Poor the modern kids, with their heartless covers and obvious, unembellishable storylines. You’d probably be doing a public service to flesh these stories out into a scrawly sheet of handwritten A4, get photocopying and binding, and hand ’em out down by Turnpike Lane tube.

  4. Andy

    I had a load of these as a youngster! I think mine were handed down from my brothers era. Tootles the Taxi was pretty rubbish, I was more about the Puddle Lane ones with the Griffin and all that shebang… innocent times…

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