563 Learning to read

This series, written by M.E. Gagg NFU, was "designed by an expert to help your child with the beginnings of reading". In many ways it was the precursor to the phenomenally successful Keywords Reading Scheme which appeared in the 60's. The illustrations, provided by Wingfield, Woolley, Tunnicliffe, Driscoll, Robinson, & were of a uniformly high standard, although the people have their own favourites. Wooley in particular was perhaps the last of the LB artists to retain some of the freedom of the early 40's style in his work, Wingfield & Tunnicliffe being more realistic in their approach.

The books followed the standard layout of text/illustration pages, but the text was very simple, sometimes in contrast with the wealth of detail on the illustration. This would allow the parent to add much more to the simple text, should they wish. Occasionally, the text would extend from one page to the next, "The horse lives here.... with one little foal".

Puppies and Kittens is a favourite for many collectors, with charming illustrations of the things puppies and kittens get up to. The innocence and playfulness of these favourite pets is perfectly captured. Whether the series was a slow starter is not clear, but the gap of 2 years before the follow up indicates this may be the case.

The Farm is another favourite with collectors; some bookshops even bump the prices up due to the name "Tunniclifffe" alone! the next few books in the series exploited the family & home for the subject matter, with all the much-loved LB role stereotyping in evidence - girls help mummy to sweep the floor whilst boys help daddy mend the fence. The charming picture of family life in the 50's and early 60's is a delight to see and for many collectors is the main appeal of collecting these little gems.

Numbers has a wonderful cover, quite different from the usual LB offerings. Inside was simply a series of numbers with appropriate pictures. The first edition of "Numbers" has blue flying ladybirds inside. The next edition had a logo on the top of the spine and a different pattern on the inside sleeves, some large numbers.

Certain volumes were kept in print for many years, ((The Zoo and the Farm for example) whilst others fell by the wayside as being too dated, presumably. In the late 70's a few more books were added to the series, but hardly did it any justice.

Puppies and Kittens 56
The Farm 58
Shopping with Mother 58
Numbers 59
Going to School 59
The Zoo 60
The Party 60
Helping at Home 61
ABC 62
Telling The Time 62