Why did Ladybird become so successful through the 1950s and 60s?
The titles looked very similar to Ladybird titles, they seemed to have the same market in mind and the dates were much earlier than I had realised - one of them, published in 1946) even pre-dating Ladybird's venture into non-fiction.
In the picture above you can see 3 Puffin Picture Books and their (later) Ladybird equivalents. Clearly when Ladybird came along, Puffin was already occupying the space in the publishing market - non-fiction for children - that was to be dominated by Ladybird for the subsequent few decades. And they cost less money - between 1 and 2 shillings.
So then, why did Ladybird go on to achieve such phenominal success - leaving Puffin to move across and to focus mainly on the fiction paperbacks, overseen by Kay Webb, that I remember so vividly from a 1960s/70s childhood?
I think the answer becomes clear when you open up one of the Puffin Picture Books.
Although there are some colour pictures in the Puffins - the primacy and attractiveness of the Ladybird illustrations is of quite a different order - as you can see from the picture on the right: one from "Electric Models from Odds and Ends" and one from the Ladybird Junior Science series.
It's all about the artwork.