The Church Cartoonist's Reference Library (Part 1)

A short series featuring some of the reference books I use in my day to day work. Number one: My wife brought this back from work as it was surplus to requirements. It had been in a cupboard for (and I quote) ‘hundreds of years’.

A short series featuring some of the reference books I use in my day to day work. Number one:

ladybird things to look for in a church

My wife brought this back from work as it was surplus to requirements. It had been in a cupboard for (and I quote) ‘hundreds of years’.


  1. From the front cover, it looks like the Toronto Blessing has been around longer than I thought.

  2. We STILL have that in our library… we are THAT cool!

    interesting evening last night. I was at a PCC meeting where we were informed that no-one was allowed to change the bulbs in the new lights ntil they had had “Ladder Training” :oD

  3. No danger of finding anyone currently alive then..

    Nice on about toronto… that goes back to Tertullian and the montanists! Toronto was just a re-mix

  4. I trust this gift has been declared with the Cartoonists Accounts Committee. There must be no hint of corruption particualrly where nepotism may be suspected 🙂

    That font looks really interesting..never seen one quite like that.

  5. Yes. This book was used in the Church of England “Fresh Expressions – New Ways Of Being Church” campaign of 1932. My research shows that although a lot of books were published and they had some wonderful conferences and conventions, nothing actually changed.

  6. From what I remember (though my memory fades as I descend into middle age) this was a rare example of the sequel being better than the original…

    Much more Ladybird goodness here, priced 2/6, 15p, 18p or maybe even 24p net.

  7. Think I had a similar I-Spy book in the 1970s – remember those? Small, card-bound, pamphlet-style books with black-and-white line drawings mixed with rather poor, grainy photos. You had to check off different items to score points, then eventually (when you’d collected enough) you could (hypothetically) send it off to the Great Scout/Brown Owl/Archdeacon of Collecting (or some such) to get a certificate. I never managed it, but don’t know why. I can see how that happened with, say, the zoo animals version, where it might be tricky to spot just the right lemur, but you’d have thought that fonts, Norman arches and the odd flying buttress would have been generally available to the average 10-year-old. Clearly, I couldn’t tell a lie, which is at least a little encouraging. Anyway, if and when I find said book again, you’d be very welcome to it for inspiration.

    Back to Ladybirds, am I the only one to hear the voice of the harrassed parent in the title of their famous early reader series: ‘Read it Yourself’…?

  8. Thomas – I was thinking much the same. Is there a particular typeface for a stonemason engraving a font? if so, is it a ‘Font font’?

  9. Oh wow – Ladybird books – They really do take you back don’t they? I still have my Childhood copy of the ‘Elves and the Shoemaker’ (not very Christian but I love it the same)
    They don’t make books like they used to!
    It would be great to see a New version of ‘What to Look for in a church’ – I wonder if if would include an OHP!

  10. Wow that’s almost as cool as finding the Dead Sea Scrolls. They just don’t make Ladybird books like they used to; the pictures were fantastic. Ahhh, I remember the old Ladybird Cinderella…*sigh*

  11. I discovered a large pile of ridiculously ancient ladybird books in the history boxes at school (unfortunatly they weren’t supposed to be artefacts themselves). I threw them away. Was that sacrilege?

  12. Well, I still find ‘What to look for Inside a Church’ and ‘What to look for Outside a Church’ invaluable, never been bettered (although the Canterbury Press ‘Be a Church Detective’ is pretty good).

    Funny though – they tell you what to look for, but neither of them mention people. Do you get those in church?

    Anyway – I like the fact that they include a ducking stool, a squint, an aumbry and there is even a picture of a monstrance. No thurible though, but you can’t have everything.

  13. On a quick skim of these comments I just misread the title ‘The Elves and The Shoemaker’ as ‘Elvis and The Shoemaker’. He’s not really dead, he does the nightshift down at the cobbler’s… You could make a ladybird book out of that.

  14. Andy – the Muppets did a version of the Elves and the Shoemaker as The Elvis and the Shomaker. Its on their Muppet Fairy Tale video/DVD. It had three Elvis clones as the Elves.

  15. For fans of old Ladybirds, a friend of mine was given a 2008 calendar featuring Ladybird illustrations from the 60s. It brought fond sighs of reminiscence from the oldies and blank incredulity from our children. Don’t know where to get another copy.

Comments are closed.