My love of Fairy Tales started at an early age. I learnt to read before I went to school (yeah! high five to me) – I didn’t have a choice and I can’t say that I liked it but I learnt nonetheless. I have this memory of reading The Emperor’s New Clothes to my dad; and I remember not understanding how to pronounce the word “cloth” – I kept saying “clothe”… not bad for a five-year-old (how ‘bout another high five). Other than bigging up my awesome reading skills, the point of my little trip down a rather random memory lame… I mean lane, is that the Fairy Tale books that I used to read were Ladybird books.
And so begins the tale of Ladybird and youth recaptured…
The other day I was browsing an Oxfam charity book shop for hidden treasures and I struck gold – in the form of a Ladybird Well Loved Tales edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Exactly like the one I was forced to read as a child (and I use the word ‘forced’ with grateful retrospect). Unfortunately I turned out to be a rather rubbish scavenger and did not even have £1 for my discovered gem. Lame. (God bless Amazon and the rise of the second hand book dealer.)
I remember the Ladybird Fairy Tales so well, largely because of the pictures – I would mill over them for ages; studying every detail and marvelling over the pretty princesses and handsome princes, with girlish fancy. So… when I saw Snow White buried haphazardly under a pile of discarded books at Oxfam, I was accosted by a severe sense of nostalgia. It was beautiful. And it gets even more so…
Ladybird has launched a new website that contains over 4000 images from the Ladybird Books, which are now available to browse and buy as prints and canvases. Each one is available to buy in different sizes and finishes, ranging from £5 to £120. I have had a browse and not all of the books in my long lost set are available but a large number certainly are. Tangible excitement would be a euphemism.
I am a big believer in indoctrination. Although I am happy to educate my daughter in the ways and means of all things Disney, the antiquated fairytale pictures of my very ancient childhood will make their way onto the walls of her bedroom with loving longevity. Because I say so.
Wait until I start my little lovely on Perrault and the tradition of oral folk tales… the walls will have no end.
Visit Ladybirdprints.com to peruse the pictures and order your prints.