Thursday, 15 November 2007

A bit of history

I am delighted to have recently acquired the rather odd-looking book in the picture. It was owned (and probably made) by William Murray - author of the Key Word Reading schemes: Peter and Jane and 'Read with Me'.

It's a mock-up of a book which Murray used to plan out the text and layout of his books. Inside the text has been sellotaped into the blank pages and annotated in his writing. It seems to have be part of the planning for a re-working of the original Peter and Jane books - planned but never issued. It is called '1a' and features Peter, Jane and 'Mop' the dog. Presumably this plan was scrapped and was replaced with the Read with Me series (featuring Kate, Tom and Sam the dog).

But it is a fascinating insight into the process that created the books that have been so influential in the literacy of Britain in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Ladybird Times

I've have a very Ladybird focused few weeks. I've been corresponding with an ex-employee of Ladybird, the son of a Ladybird artist and with a relative of Willima Murray (author of the Key Word Reader scheme), met some of the current managerial team Ladybird team, met a family friend of another Ladybird artist, and had lunch with artist Martin Aitchison. The Ladybird-themed book 'Boys and Girls' mentions the address of my website, and this seems to have let to a big increase in visits to my site, which is great.

Martin Aitchison is soon going to be releasing a lot of new pieces of original Ladybird artwork and I've been trying to work on a picture gallery to display them. The only difficulty in all of this is that the day job and my family keep expecting me to have time for them ...

Still no word from the Antiques Roadshow as to whether we'll be featured - but if we are, it will be on December 23rd.

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