By Mark Nobes

Back in 2015, Ladybird were celebrating their 100th anniversary, which makes them 112-years-old, as I write in 2022. For this post, I'm going to take a look at some of their popular books from the 1970s and 80s.

Back in the day, just about every child read at least one Ladybird book while in their pre-teen years. The books that I fondly remember are now being sold on eBay and Amazon as "vintage" books, which makes me feel very old indeed! Obviously, there were far too many of them to feature on this one page (both fiction and non-fiction), but I will take a nostalgic look back at a few of them, at least.
The Old Woman and her Pig Ladybird Book (1973)

Well-Loved Tales - Easy-Reading Books

Many classic tales were released by Ladybird during between 1964 and the early 1990s as part of the 'well-loved tales' series.

The Old Woman and her Pig
told the tale of an old woman who finds a sixpence and buys a pig. However, trying to get the pig to jump over the style so they can get home proves to be more eventful than she wanted it to be!

Looking back through my old copy, the fairytale featured a surprising amount of violence, with the old lady wanting "the dog to bite the pig" and "the stick to beat the dog" etc. I would imagine that newer versions of this tale have written these parts out, with over-protective parents fearing that after reading it, children up and down the land will want to copy the old woman's actions.

As with all of the books in well-loved tales series, it featured beautiful full colour illustrations.

To celebrate it's 100th anniversary, Ladybird released books from the series during 2015.
Ladybird Jack and the Beanstalk (1971) Well-Loved Tales Book

I certainly remember reading the Jack and the Beanstalk book above which was printed in 1971. Just looking at that cover again sends a shiver down my spine - that giant still scares the hell out of me, and he actually reminded my of a guy that worked at my local garage - just don't tell him!

The cover on the most recent version of the book couldn't be more different! Modern it may be, but it's far too simplistic and twee for me - where's the scary giant?
Dick Whittington and his Cat - Ladybird Well-Loved Tales book

This edition of Dick Whittington and his Cat (606d) was 15p. In the original story, Richard Whittington is a wealthy merchant and Lord Mayor of London from the 14th century, who gets rich from selling his cat to a country inundated with rats.

Puss in Boots Ladybird book from the 606d Well-Loved Tales series

Puss in Boots

Snow White and Rose Red Ladybird 'Easy-Reading' book (1969)

Snow-White and Rose-Red was printed in August 1969. 

Ladybird The Sly Fox and the Little Red Hen (1968)


Rapunzel Ladybird Book from the 1970sRumpelstiltskin Ladybird Well-Loved Tales Book 1970s


Ladybird The Three Little Pigs - Well-Loved Tales

Can there be anyone who hasn't read The Three Little Pigs? "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!" said the wolf.

The Elves and the Shoemaker Ladybird Book Well-Loved Tales
I was always fascinated by the elves pointy, green hairstyles on this cover, and this story was also fascinating, part of which involved a poor shoemaker who couldn't afford the leather to make the shoes. After saying his prayers the night before, he wakes up one morning to find all the shoes completely finished.
Cinderella Well-Loved Tales Ladybird Book
The story of Cinderella is known across the globe, and this particular book was first released back in 1964. It's definitely one of the best-remembered titles. It's probably more suited to little girls than boys, although I read it as a lad and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ladybird Well-Loved Tales - The Ugly Duckling (1979)
As they progressed towards the 1980s, Ladybird changed the covers of the Well-Loved Tales series, as you can see with The Ugly Duckling from 1979.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1987) - Ladybird Well Loved Tales

The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1987)

The Three Billy Goats Gruff (1987) Ladybird Well Loved Tales book

The Three Billy Goats Gruff (1987)

Ladybird Key Sounds Series Book 1 - Sounds and Pictures (1976)


Ladybird Sounds and Pictures Book 5 (1976)
Ladybird Key Sounds series

In 1976, Ladybird released its educational Key Sounds series, and featured here is Sounds and Pictures Book 1. I'm not entirely certain of how many books were released, although I have managed to find only five different ones on the web. Book 2 features penguins on the cover, Book 3 has an angry tiger, Book 4 features some oranges (boring!) and Book 5 features a passenger jet.

Ladybird Series 737: Leaders

I believe there were 39 factual books in this series which was published between 1973 and 1979. I've listed the titles below together with a description of the covers in brackets;

  1. water (sailboat)
  2. ducks and swans (duck)
  3. man in the air (chopper)
  4. man and his car (racing car)
  5. lions and tiger (male lion)
  6. man on the sea (fisherman on his boat)
  7. dinosaurs (T. Rex)
  8. castles (a castle with soldiers on horseback) 
  9. baby animals (polar bear)
10. roads (yellow digger)
11. song birds (robin)
12. trains (locomotive)
13. bridges (railway bridge)
14. homes (city scape)
15. leaves (leaves and berries)
16. soldiers (soldier on a horse)
17. sounds (workmen in hard hats covering their ears)
18. big animals (rhino)
19. under the ground (erupting volcano)
20. apes and monkeys (monkey holding an apple)
21. living things (butterflies, cow and fauna)
22. the tree and its world (squirrel)
23. air (children flying kites)
24. seals and whales (seal)
25. reptiles (iguana?)
26. shepherds (man on a camel)
27. the stream (stream and beaver)
28. coffee (coffee pickers)
29. fire (caveman lighting a fire)
30. chocolate and cocoa (ladies and a child with beans)
31. bread (many loaves in a corn field with combine harvesters)
32. polar regions (icy landscape)
33. mountains (mountains and lake)
34. forests (forests, mountains and lake)
35. teeth (hippopotamus opening its big mouth)
36. tea (a female tea harvester)
37. fruit (an array of fruit)
38. bears and pandas (a panda)
39. islands (three island, sea, sailboat and seagull)

Dinosaurs - Ladybird Leaders Series 737
Much more has been discovered about dinosaurs since I was a child. Although some of the information in this title (published on 1st January 1975) is probably now out-of-date, I was fascinated by this book as a young boy.
Ladybird Leaders book (Jan 1973): man in the air


Water - Ladybird Leaders series 737


Song Birds  -Ladybird Leaders (1974) book


Homes - Ladybird Leaders (1975) book
Ladybird Leaders: Deserts (1976)