A history of Ladybird books, including the recent spoofs and serious new ones about quantum mechanics and climate change.
In 1971, a book about the computer was published under the children’s imprint Ladybird as part of a series designed to show schoolchildren “How it Works”. In common with 645 other titles published between 1940 and 1980, it was a small hardback with 56 pages. It was one of the first Ladybirds to be sold in decimal currency, costing 24p, after decades of the books being pegged at 2/6.
“If you are interested in computers, their function and operation, but are discouraged by their complexity, you should read this book,” said the introduction. “It deals as simply as possible with the principles and does not delve too deeply into electronics.” Though it was intended for “older students,” which means ages 7+ in Ladybird parlance, legend has it that it was so well regarded that 100 copies were ordered by the Ministry of Defence to be circulated among its staff in plain wrapping so they wouldn’t know they were reading a book intended for kids.
24p was 5 shillings, almost double. Everyone used the new decimal currency to rip the public off.
Americans say ladybugs. Everyone in Britain now understands bug but I can only remember using insect growing up and beyond and I never use it, not that I have any objections. I don’t know about other Britons.