drawing of night-sky with some houses and trees silhouetted in black

Starry Nights

cover image of the Ladybird book of the Night sky. Black silhouettes of houses and trees against dark blue night sky

Summer has come early, and the night skies have been quite clear recently – even over London. A chance to have a closer look at a wonderful book for any aspiring star gazer from the golden era of Ladybird books!

The book was first published in 1965. My copy is an early edition – late sixties up to February 1971 (I know, because the price of 2’6 net on the inside marks this time-span). So while it is admittedly over 60 years old, the information is still basically accurate and should help you spot quite a few different stars, constellations and planets. The text by Mary Brück (an ‘Umlaut’ was probably too much to ask for to print in the 1960s?) is easy to understand and does instil or further interest and wonder in the beautiful spectacles of the night sky.

The illustrations are by Robert Ayton who worked on at least 40 volumes for Ladybird Books. More details on his work and life can be found at BearAlley on blogspot (a worthwhile read!). Here are a few of the best images:

excerpt from the Nightsky (a Ladybird book). One page of text, one page illustrating the morning and evening stars
excerpt from the Nightsky (a Ladybird book). One page of text and one page of illustration of Meteorites
excerpt from The Nightsky - one page of text and one page of illustrations of Double Stars
excerpt from The Nightsky (a Ladybird book). One page of text, one page illustrating the sky near Orion
illustration of a girl and a boy in school uniforms of the 1960s using a telescope and binoculars to look at the sky. Presumably from their front garden, as there is a house in the background.

Why not have a look outside tonight?

If you do want to stargaze in earnest, I guess the
BBC’s Sky at Night is as good a place as any to start.
I will ‘just enjoy’ –
I prefer the mystery of it all.


  1. Hi Wibi, great post and you reminded me I need to search what few Ladybird books I still have and make a post. They were a fixture of childhood and always bring back good memories.
    Keep well and safe there,

    1. Thank you, and yes please, do a post or two on your copies! They weren’t part of my childhood but appeal to the child and nostalgic in me 🙂 Take good care of yourself!

  2. Wonderful. I love the page on Venus. I named my first loyal best friend (a dog) Venus. Wishing on those very stars tonight. Thanks Wibi Wonders for being the brightest star for so many of us.

  3. These are so cool. I’ve only came across Ladybird Books in Australia. The secondhand shops where full of them, I should’ve grabbed more! These books are absolutely amazing! Do you have more to share?

    1. Thank you 😊 Yes, I have a few more, so watch this Space… lots still to be had secondhand here but some have become collectors items (unsurprisingly).

  4. I love star-gazing – when they aren’t covered up by clouds or city light-pollution…. Can I get a cheap radio telescope, I wonder ? 🙂 Thanks for another fab post !

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