As a child born in the mid 1970’s Ladybird books were an iconic part of my childhood. But by my time I had reached my 40’s they were no longer a part of my life and had been pretty much forgotten about. I had one or two favourites gathering dust in the attic but that was all.
Then I watched a BBC documentary The Ladybird Book Story late in 2013 and my old love was re-born. I was filled with nostalgia. The spark of my adult collecting of vintage ladybird books had been ignited.
Watching the documentary filled me with so many lovely memories of the books I had read as a small child. I could even recollect some of the art work from some of my favourite books.
Putting an accurate date to a vintage Ladybird book is not straightforward. However, after some research and practice, I think I am now able to date the books in my collection. I am very happy to be the owner of some first editions.
But I am not the sort of collector who is only on the look out for pristine copies. Some of my books that I enjoy the most are the ones where you can sense the childhood owner, where the child’s name and age is written inside or there is a lovely birthday message.
Vintage ladybird books still give me a sense of comfort and well-being that was hard to explain. They do reflect a world that no longer exists. I don’t long for a society with such defined gender roles or such a lack of diversity. However, there is something innocent and magical about them.
They are informative, fun, inspiring, educational and they helped teach many children to read. The art work, produced by well renowned artists at the time, is wonderful.
I now have nearly 200 vintage ladybird books in my collection. I don’t envisage collecting them all. There are well over 600 vintage books to collect from 63 different series. I am mainly focusing on the series from my own childhood or the series that interest me most as an adult.
I particularly like to seek out and find books for my collection in charity shops and second hand book shops, as apposed to E-bay. It’s very satisfying to find a book in good condition to add to my collection.
What has sparked your nostalgia? Do you hold onto anything from your childhood?
Are you an avid collector of something? What motivated you to start and continue collecting?