Ladybird Books have been a staple of childhood for sixty years, from Baby's First Book, through many series on such things as nature studies, people at work, how things work, famous people in history, Bible stories, and classic fiction retold.

Harry Wills and William Hepworth began publishing together in 1906, at first under the auspices of the SPCK (Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge). Their company Wills & Hepworth registered the name Ladybird in 1915, but did not use it until the advent of cheap colour printing made it feasible. The first books in January 1940 cost 2/6, a price that was retained for thirty years.

Numbers of titles varied considerably with the years: 1969 was a high point with 370 in print. Tbeir factory was in Loughborough in Leicestershire, but closed in April 1999. The brand has passed through various owners recently, such as Coats Viyella, Kingfisher, and Dorling Kindersley.

Their emblem is of course the ladybird (usually known in the USA as a ladybug).

La"dy*bird` (?), n. [Equiv. to, bird of Our Lady.] Zool.

Any one of numerous species of small beetles of the genus Coccinella and allied genera (family Coccinellidae); -- called also ladybug, ladyclock, lady cow, lady fly, and lady beetle. Coccinella seplempunctata in one of the common European species. See Coccinella.

The ladybirds are usually more or less hemispherical in form, with a smooth, polished surface, and often colored red, brown, or black, with small spots of brighter colors. Both the larvae and the adult beetles of most species feed on aphids, and for this reason they are very beneficial to agriculture and horticulture.


© Webster 1913.

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