Sunday, 19 January 2014

Cinderella rides again - facsimile editions

In the comments of my TV blog post , a number of people, perhaps not surprisingly, called for favourite old Ladybird Books to be re-issued.

I didn't like to say so, but actually, over recent years, Ladybird have tried re-issuing titles from the past.  The first of these I remember was in 2000 when 4 titles were issued in facsimile editions: Bunnikins Picnic Party, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Bunny's First Birthday and The Gingerbread Boy.  More recently there have been gifty box sets "for boys" and "for girls", making the most of the popularity of vintage flavoured presents for grown ups. 

But now Ladybird have gone for the big one.  They've re-issued Cinderella as a 2013 facsimile edition of the massively popular 1964 version (606d).

This is good news for me.  I have lots of copies of the original, but hate being asked to sell any!

Now when I'm asked, I can just send this link.

Is a facsimile edition of a much loved book ever quite the same?  Is the artwork more faded in a later version?  Do you want a copy which shows its age and history - without the crisp hard corners of a brand new spine?
Only you can say.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Remembering William Murray

As the recent documentary on Ladybird Books made clear, William Murray, creator - with McNally - of Peter and Jane, was a commited educationalist.  His methodical, scientific approach  to the teaching of literacy was what first enthused Douglas Keen and pointed the way to the outstandingly successful Key Word reading scheme.

However,as a communication I received recently shows, his commitment to learning went beyond the theoretical; he was also a very supportive colleague and  empathetic teacher.

Priscilla says

"I was a young teacher in the early seventies, and worked with Bill Murray at Westlands School. I went there on supply and Mr Murray appointed me to a permanent post. He was such an amazing man. He had the ability to make every one of us, teacher and pupil, feel special. He introduced me to the school by saying, "When a child comes through that door for the first time, the word failure will never be heard again." He inspired me and I learnt so much.
My classroom, obviously, was based on his Keyword Readers with the flash cards, Language Master (revolutionary in its day!) and reading cards. We had a grant to give the children breakfast, as Mr. Murray had researched with McNally on the lack of blood sugar affecting learning.

It was a very special place and I felt honoured to play a small part".

Friday, 10 January 2014

Maidstone Museum: A Ladybird Childhood

Maidstone Museum's new exhibition: A Ladybird Childhood is having its preview tonight and opening tomorrow.  I'd love to go to the preview - but it's just to far from Hertfordshire in Friday evening traffic.  I'm sure I'll make it down soon.

I've heard that Caroline Alexander, Douglas Keen's youner daughter, will be giving a talk in April.  I'd love to be there to hear that.

If any of you get to the exhibition before me, do let us know what to expect.