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Perhaps the oddest of the entire Ladybird output, this one-off edition from October 1947 was presumably a trial edition for others in the series that never came to fruition. The only edition in a "double size" format (ie. twice the size of standard books), it was also quite out of keeping stylistically, being both long (93 pages) and very old-fashioned in content.

It was written by John Saunders and illustrated by F. Matania and is the story of how a young boy called Bruce befriends a tinker and fits him out with a wig. Neither text nor artwork would have looked out of place in the 1920's, indeed it may have been a book commissioned by the company much earlier and laid aside. The old-fashioned look may explain why no further editions were ever made.

Since this is a "one-off" series, it's perhaps appropriate to include a few words about the artist here rather than under authors/artists. Fortunino Matania was born in Naples in 1881. By the age of twenty he was working in Paris and soon afterwards moned to London where he was appointed as an illustrator with The Graphic. After three years in England he had to go back to Italy to do his national military service. After completing his military duties Matania returned to England where he was employed by The Sphere. King George V was impressed with Mantania's work and invited him to cover his tour of India. During the First World War Mantania was employed by the Ministry of Propaganda. He visited the Western Front several times and his drawings of the conflict appeared in The Illustrated London News and the French journal, L'Illustration. Fortunino Matania died in 1963.

 

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