Category: Books

It’s only Bunty but I like it…

4maryscomic

Can you name the ladies above? Can you name the comic they appeared in? I certainly can as I read it voraciously as a girl. As did many girls before me. Bunty comic was first published in 1958 and ran until 2001. It featured lots of serial comic strip stories – tales of servant girls in Victorian Britain, jolly japes at private school with the Four Marys (There you go – did you guess it?) and brave alpine vets to name but a few. It also had it’s own annual produced every Christmas

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I fancy the stories then were very wholesome – although they did appeal to the feminist in me. In Famous Five books Anne and George always seemed to get left behind at the denouement when the boys headed off to confront the art thieves in the castle basement. In Bunty the girls were the heroines of the day – they saved goats from mountain ravines, fought local councils to save that oak tree in the school grounds or worked through the night to perfect their routine and show that injured, bitter gymnastics mistress what they were really made of. They made me believe girls could have adventures too. They showed me that you could fight the system and win and that, well, sometimes it took a really, really, ridiculously good female vet to figure out how to move an angry hippo from one zoo enclosure to another…

bestof-bunty-4marys

Of course Bunty went through changes trying to keep up with the times. The magazines got bigger, glossier and even Bunty herself changed her style. I still read it but it wasn’t the same and once the Four Marys had had a makeover and were eventually axed I conceded it was time to move on. With their competitors Just Seventeen and Mizz having columns like ‘Position of the Fortnight’ and problem pages full of girls not sure ‘how’ to kiss, Bunty was looking more and more like the Maiden Aunt with the twinset and pearls.  I think a snigger from a classmate finally made me put down my Bunty and ask for a different magazine. Shame on me…

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My Mum read Bunty, I think my sister read it for a bit, I still have some annuals and I will pass those on to my children to read. Goodness knows what they’ll make of the ballet school stories and the governess adventure stories but I hope they’ll find them as charming and uplifting as I did.

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It is with a yearning to show that grouchy ballet mistress I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!

It’s only a Ladybird Book but I like it…

I’m pretty sure there cannot be many people reading this that haven’t read a Ladybird book. We had many books from their series’ on our bookcases at home. They’ve been in production since 1914 and in the early 1970s they produced their Key Word Reading Scheme which was used by many Primary Schools. I myself learned to read using the Peter and Jane books.

Ladybird KWRS

I have to say, some of the early Reading Scheme books were a little basic and repetitive but the captivating illustrations made up for that. Ladybird have a long standing relationship with some amazing artists. Harry Wingfield is the artist that brought Peter, Jane and their family to fruition. His illustrations do conjure up a perfect world where there were trips out with sandwiches packed, fun to be had under a blue sky and a soft clean bed to be carried home to at the end of the day.

Ladybird PJLadybird PJ sweets

There were many different topics including nature, hobbies and interests, history and travel.

Ladybird-BooksWe had these titles and the cover and each illustration is so evocative. Many of them are now dog-eared and so well thumbed. They were read over and over to me, and then with the gift of reading, I read them myself and – who knows – maybe one day, I’ll read them to my babies.

Ladybird jack-and-the-beanstalk Ladybird artists Ladybird things to make

And, as a mega bonus, I found these in a charity shop near my Mum’s house! Ladybird books in Welsh, ladies and gents!

Ladybird Welsh

It is with an introduction to Gareth and Sian (not Peter and Jane) that I say:

It’s only vintage but I like it!