From the very beginnings, Ladybird has provided books with a strong religious content. The motive for this was more likely to fill a niche in the educational market rather than any firmly held beliefs of the management. Series 606 was launched as the "Easy Reading scheme", where Biblical stories were carefully rendered in simple language for learners. On the inside cover is says; "the vocabulary has been carefully chosen by an expert, the text set in large clear type".
The idea was clearly a sound one, since the series was rapidly expanded to include other subject areas 606 was subdivided and the Biblical stories became 606a ("People at work" was the next in line, 606b).
The first four books in the series, were written by Hilda Rostron and illustrated by Clive Uptton and are almost identical in look and feel. All conform to the classical image of Jesus with long hair and beard. How do we know Jesus didnít have ginger hair?
Martin Aitchison took over the artwork for the fifth volume, "A first book of Saints" and provided some characteristically impressive work, arguably the best of the series. They were all issued in DJ format and later on using the more familar matt cover.
Towards the late 70ís, the series was subsumed into the "Religious Topics" series and expanded with a series of parables and stories, written by Sylvia Mandeville and illustrated in quite dour style by David Palmer.
As you can see on the right, the cover art of earlier volumes was recycled into the new format, but the inside artwork was unchanged. The "Parable of the Lost Sheep" has a fascinating inside rear cover, where the shepherd is clearly a man in love with his sheep....