Wonder Books, Little Picture Book of, My Picture Book of and Modern World Books on CB&M.
Wonder Books
and Modern World Books
Updated 23rd May, 2012. Tidy-up November, 2010 but needs a makeover!
Wonder Books - list of titles
Little Wonder Book, aka My, The, Golden, Rainbow etc, Picture Book of
Modern World Books
Jim Mackenzie's articles
Wonders" found in a Wonder Book | 3 Wonder Books and Westerman
READERS WRITE Comments on individual titles appear under that title.
Other WONDER BOOKS including those from Odham's.
WANTED - NEW!

< Jacket from a 1930s edition.

The term Wonder Book is said to have first been used by Nathaniel Hawthorne of Boston in 1851 with his The Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. Harry Golding of Ward, Lock & Co edited the very first 'Wonder Book', as we know the famous English series of children's books, in 1911. This was The Wonder Book of Railways. Famous for their 'before and after' endpapers, these books were ahead of their time in their use of mostly slick paper and good quality photographs. They were also sturdily constructed (size: crown 4to. 10" x 7"), the proof being in the number that are still to be found in good condition. I hope to provide details of when titles first appeared, how many editions were published of each, which were the most popular and when publication ceased. In order to do this, I need help from you. If you have pre-war (the ones with boxed cover illustrations) or war-time editions or the titles marked below, please send me the edition numbers (if shown) or descriptions of the covers. Please also include your country and if outside Britain or Australia, whether any of your editions have been published outside of Britain. Thanks to Dennis, John, Marguerite, Phil, Andrew and Steve for their additional information. The layout is (still) messy. I hope to improve it (further) one day.

In order to discover what titles were available in which years, I've taken note of Ward Lock ads, usually around Christmas-time, in magazines and story papers, such as John O'London's Weekly and Boys Own Paper. If you find similar ads for different years, please send me the details.

From Anthony Horden & Sons Ltd, Sydney, mail order catalogue, 1923:
Annual, Aircraft, Animals, Children, Empire, Railways, Ships, Soldiers, The Navy, Why & What, Wonders [11 titles, each at 6/6=65c plus postage 11d=9c, advertised as follows: '12 coloured plates, 300 illustrations'.] New: INVENTIONS by Professor A M Low plus Aircraft, Animals, All-Story, Empire, Engineering Wonders, Motors, Nature, Pets, Railways, Ships, Soldiers, The Navy, The Wild, Then & Now, Wonders, Why & What [17 titles, each at 6/-=60c net]

From dust jacket, HOW IT'S DONE, 2nd ed, pre-1944:
Animals, Daring Deeds, Do You Know?, Electricity, Engineering Wonders, How It's Done, Motors, Nature, Pets, Railways, Science, Ships, Soldiers, Story, Tell Me Why?, The Navy, The RAF, Things to Do, Why & What?, Wonders, Would You Believe It? [21 titles, advertised as follows: 'With 8 colour plates, 256 pages, about 300 illustrations, constantly revised and brought up to date.'] The list of titles available on the jacket didn't always agree with the list of titles at the front of the book, indicating that the books were fitted with older (or newer) jackets. The list within this book includes: Aircraft, Empire, Inventions, Machinery, Story and The Wild - but NOT Science, The RAF, Things to Do

WONDER BOOK SUBJECT TITLES.
As with other Ward Lock Children's series, the books were numbered on the base of the dust jackets. These are given where known. Thanks to Paul, Dallas and others for your updates! I've finally moved information from emails into the book headings below but there's still a lot to tidy up to carry out. I hope to sort the page fully later in 2008.

AIRCRAFT
Sample 6th ed is post-1928. No edition specified. End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank (Hooray! It has a publication date - 1927.)
Additional information as supplied by
John. Thanks, John. COVER PICTURE 1st ed: Sopwith Triplane in RAF markings diving to the lower left hand corner. TITLE PAGE: Publish date is 1919, no edition # is shown but I assume it to #1.COVER PICTURE 2nd ed: Sopwith Triplane diving to the bottom left hand corner is a second edition printed in 1919 (my copy is printed by William Clowes and Sons ltd) one of the front pages states that there are seven other wonder books uniform with this volume. They are The Wonder Book of the Navy, of Ships, of Soldiers, of Children, of Empire,of Animals and of Railways. Thanks, Andrew. COVER PICTURE 3rd ed: Airship with ATLANTIC on the nose flying at night(from left to right) and illuminated by a searchlight. TITLE PAGE: No publish date but identified as the THIRD EDITION* [*See following from Steve 17/3/2001: The book is The Wonder Book of Aircraft with the airship named "Atlantic" on the cover, as accurately described on yoursite. However, the title page identifies it as the "FOURTH EDITION - REVISED AND RE-ILLUSTRATED, AND WITH MANY NEW FEATURES". Illustrations by W. Heath Robinson.] COVER PICTURE: 3 engined (biplane)airliner displaying Imperial Airways flying left to right and illuminated by a searchlight. TITLE PAGE: Publish date is 1927, no edition # is shown but I assume it to be #4. COVER PICTURE: 4 engined airliner displaying Atlanta flying from right to left. Reg. # G-ABPI. TITLE PAGE: No Publish date but identified as the EIGHTH EDITION. COVER PICTURE: 2 single engined (monoplane)RAF bombers flying from left to right. TITLE PAGE: No publish date (suspect 1939) but identified as the NINTH EDITION. COVER PICTURE: Airport staff loading cargo in hold of 4 engined (piston) airliner showing 838 on the nose wheel door. TITLE PAGE: No publish date shown but given as a present in 1952. Identified as ENTIRELY NEW EDITION
10 editions? See
below.
6th edition, edited by Harry Golding FRGS, with cover picture of 3 engined Handley Page Argosy biplane airliner displaying Imperial Airways flying left to right and illuminated by a searchlight. A picture inside of the Graf Zeppelin on its 1928 flight around the world indicate this is not the 1927 printing.[Dallas]
"New Edition" (no editor named) with cover picture of Airport staff loading cargo in hold of 4 engined (piston) airliner showing 838 on the nose wheel door, and Stratocruiser in background. Given as a present in 1954. [Dallas]

Also
OUR AIR FORCE Although published by Ward Lock and containing many of the same pictures as the Wonder Book series this seems to be a somewhat cheaper and more hurriedly produced book. The paper is of heavier stock and is rather course. The cover page has an illustration (as does the front and rear of the dustjacket) but the back board is plain. No Before and After cartoon is included inside the front and back boards. COVER PICTURE: Flight of 6 RAF Vickers Wellington twin engined bomber flying from right to left. 16 COLOUR PLATES shown in lower right hand corner. TITLE PAGE: No publish date shown but overleaf shows FIRST PUBLISHED 1940. No edition information provided.
ANIMALS
5th ed edited by Harry Golding with 12 coloured plates and nearly 300 illustrations. I noticed on the website that someone had commented about Thomas Maybank and he has illustrated the inside front and back cover of this book. The picture on the front is of a St Bernard dog. [Rosemary]
13th ed, edited by Harry Golding, with cover picture of St Bernard dog, from an original by JW Allison ARCA. It has 12 colour pates and "nearly 300" other illustrations. [Dallas]
18th ed (no editor named) with cover picture of a golden spaniel. It has 8 colour plates and "nearly 300" other illustrations. [Dallas]
21st ed (several contributors named) with cover picture of 2 giraffe. It has 8 colour plates and "over 200" photographs. [Dallas]
BIBLE STORIES
CHILDREN
Sample 5th ed undated but there's an annotation dated 1927. Back of half-title "Real Dutch" while frontispiece is "By the Zuyder Zee". Cover painting by L Hocknell (?) - four children; American Indian, ?, Dutch girl, British boy in "Valiant" sailor's cap.
Thomas Maybank eps.
From
Marguerite. who has the 6th ed which is subtitled 'The Wonder Book of Children and the people they live with'.
A 1917 edition with a cover title "The Wonder Book of Children of all Nations", but which is subtitled on the title page 'The Wonder Book of Children and the people they live with', and edited by Harry Golding. It has 12 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. An article on Russia shows a pre-revolution approach. The children of the Central Powers get 2 pages. [Dallas]
DARING DEEDS
(No.25, 1940s?) True Stories of Heroism and Adventure Printer: L T A Robinson Ltd, The Botolph Printing Works, London End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS (Which edition this is not stated. The stories are from the 19th century up to 1936, e.g. Jean Batten's England to New Zealand solo air flight.
An edition from the Second World War or later (with a story of the Dam Busters in May 1943). The cover picture is of TE Lawrence attacking Turks. There are 8 colour plates and "numerous" illustrations. [Dallas]
DO YOU KNOW?
Printer: L T A Robinson Ltd, The Botolph Printing Works, London No edition specified. End papers by L B Martin whose signature includes '34', presumably 1934. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS
No edition specified, cover picture of a boy leaning on a book and facing the reader (with a comet, a radio tower and an elephant around him). End papers by L B Martin whose signature includes '34', presumably 1934. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS. It has 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. [Dallas]
ELECTRICITY

Fairly rare to find on 1930s editions; a dust jacket. The only reason I picked this book up (from the UNSW book fair) was - an 80 yo friend had asked me for a copy of 'Empire', which he had owned as a child. So I gave him the book and kept the jacket as my one and only sample. The rear flap advertises 'Little Wonder Books'.

EMPIRE
n.k. Mine has inscription for Xmas Day 1915 so dated as such. Australian pop stated as 4,872,000. Front cover "United We Stand" by Lionel Edwards. [Paul]
4th ed (a Christmas gift in 1918) has a cover picture of 3 mounted soldiers representing Australia, Britain and India, 15 colour plates and over 300 illustrations but is printed on poor paper. 264 pp, end papers by Thomas Maybank, edited by Harry Golding. [Dallas]
Sample 6th ed has 15 colour plates but is printed on poor paper. 264pp, end papers by Thomas Maybank. Tenth Edition End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. (Chapter on Australia says population 'under six millions'. A separate list at the end of the book - probably the last section before printing - of the populations of all dominions, colonies, etc. says Australia 6.6 million. Australia's population was 6.526m in 1931, 6.577m in 1932 and 6.630m in 1933.

10th ed with cover picture of Britannia, airships, a biplane and a 3-funnelled Cunard liner, end papers by Thomas Maybank, edited by Harry Golding, FRGS. It has 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. The New Zealand article is by GH Scholefield, who was Parliamentary Librarian 1926-1948. This copy has its dust jacket which mentions that the price was 5/-. [Dallas]
ENCYCLOPAEDIA
(The Wonder Book Encyclopaedia)
Different style to most other titles. Sample published 1958, corrected and enlarged; publishing history as follows. First published 1956, reprinted same year then 1957. Compiled and edited by Gerald E Speck. Navy blue cloth, guilt markings, endpapers show map of world. 464 pages with 8 colour plates and 17 tables. Two-column layout with full list of contributing writers and companies. My copy lacks a jacket.
ENGINEERING WONDERS
Sample appears to be 1st ed 256pp, Thomas Maybank eps.
2nd edition(? The title page is lost) with cover picture in gold frame of a floating crane carrying a cantilever bridge section. On page 17 a small picture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge "in course of construction" (the pylons look wrong). [Dallas]
3rd ed., with cover picture of a floating crane carrying a cantilever bridge section. On page 17 a small picture of the now supposedly completed Sydney Harbour Bridge as in earlier edition and on p43 the Oakland Bay Bridge under construction. [Dallas]
HOW IT'S DONE
n.k. Inscription to end papers dated 1937. No edition stated. Has boy & girl reading book with postcard type illustratons scattered over cover. Has 8 col.plates. [Paul]
(No.23 early 1940s).
7th ed. with cover picture of 2 children looking at a book, and a deep sea diver in bottom left corner. This copy was a Scripture Union Sunday School prize in 1962. It as 7 colour plates and among the 250 illustrations are John Cobb's Railton Special car (not so named) on p109 and an Avro 707B on p114. [Dallas]
INVENTIONS
First (and only?) edition: 1930 with different eps by W Heath Robinson.
MACHINERY
Sample appears to be 1st ed 256pp, eps by A E Beard. Probably only the one edition.
(8 colour plates) Endpapers: [School metalwork lab] by AE Beard. Printed by Ward Lock and Co. Cover: "A Big Flywheel" by Norman Keene (as on web site) List of Wonder Books with 8 or 12 colour plates: Electricity, Science, Inventions, Animals, Railways, Ships, Soldiers, Empire, The Navy, Aircraft, Why & What?, Wonders, Nature, The Wild, Motors, Engineering Wonders, Pets, The All-Story Wonder Book. From: Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk
MOTORS
Unidentified edition from the 1920s (with pictures relating to the General Strike of 1926) having a cover picture of a family in an open (Alvis?) in a white cliffs sea setting. Edited by Harry Golding FRGS, it has 12 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. [Dallas]
NATURE

7th ed., edited by Harry Golding FRGS, with cover picture of an eagle by Charles Whymper RI. It has 8 colour plates and "nearly" 350 illustrations. The endpapers, showing fairies and spiders, are called "The Four Seasons" and are by Grace Jones. [Dallas]
9th ed., no editor named, with a cover picture of herring gulls by JF Campbell and endpapers as in the 7th, having 8 colour plates and "nearly 350 illustrations". [Dallas]
10th ed. Cover is seagulls. 8 col. plates. Post 1929, pre 1944 from chapter on Vesuvius. [Paul]
11th ed., details and illustrations (including cover) as for 9th. Some new articles but not new contributors.
New format (1961) edition of 192 pages, largely written by Dr Maurice Burton and EW Groves. (Burton had been Deputy Keeper in the Department of Zoology at the Natural History Museum in London in 1949 but I don't know what else he did). [Dallas]
PETS
No edition number, edited by Harry Golding, with end papers by Thomas Maybank. The title on the cover is "The Wonder Book of Pets and How to Keep Them". The cover picture, of a boy in red shirt and tie with an English sheep dog is entitled "He's Mine" and is by Lindsay Cable. There are 12 colour plates and 300 illustrations. [Dallas]
RAILWAYS
5th ed - Revised Printer: Butler & Tanner Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank . Edited by Harry Golding (The chapter 'Railways in Time of War' refers to WWI) Thirteenth Edition- Revised Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank . Edited by Harry Golding Content and illustrations, one captioned 1926, suggest publication in the 1930s.) [From David who picked up what was possibly the first: I think it is a first edition because in the chapter on Express Passenger Engines, there is a specific reference to the GWR's Saints, Ladies, Stars, Kings, and Queens (which appeared in 1910) but not the Princes of 1913. Furthermore, a picture page of LNWR passenger engines has examples from 1835 to the Queen Mary of 1910.]
11th ed edited by Harry Golding, refers to legislation that had come into force in 1923. The cover picture looks forward through the left cab window along a green LNER locomotive towards twin tunnels. It is called "The Tunnel Ahead" by Rene Bull. There are 12 colour plates and "nearly 300 illustrations". [Dallas]
12th ed Revised (12 colour plates) Date: one or two things from 1924 are presented in the text as if new, and I have found no later date mentioned.. Endpapers: [Train crash] by Maybank Printed by Butler and Tanner. Cover. According to the list of colour plates, the cover should be '"Locomotion" (1825) against a LNE "Pacific" locomotive of today' by Rene Bull. Actually, the cover is the same as on your web site - view from cabin of loco about to enter tunnel - but RB's picture appears in monochrome on the title page. (It also appears, not surprisingly, in the WB of Then and Now) List of Wonder Books with 12-16 colour plates: Then and Now,The Wild, Nature, Wonders, Why and What, The Navy, Ships, Children, Empire, Animals, The Wonder Book Annual. From: Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk
18th ed, just post-nationalisation, cover picture of Duchess of Buccleuch in BR blue taking the Scotch Express from Euston to Glasgow. There are 8 colour plates and "nearly 300 illustrations". [Dallas]
19th ed, I have a 19th edition of the Wonder Book of Railways (obtained second-hand in the early 90s for NZ$35), which I thought I'd describe for completeness, seeing it isn't mentioned so far on the site. There is a dust-jacket which has alas suffered rather a lot of damage: several tears; two portions of postage-stamp size missing altogether; plus the bottom-front corner, which would have had the price on, has been snipped off - that infernal habit of present-givers who didn't want you to know how much it cost! The front picture wraps round over the spine and about half an inch of the back. / Cover picture and end-papers are as for the 18th edition; also the number of illustrations, both colour and b/w. / The book itself is in fair condition, apart from a small amount of foxing. / Date can be pinned down fairly closely. A 28-page article near the beginning looks at The Composition of British Railways, and how the (then) six-region structure was related to the territories covered by the former "Big Four". / So the book post-dates the nationalisation that took effect from January 1948. / Then on p58 there is a passing reference to the "Turbomotive" by its former LMS number of 6202, and an implication that it was still in service at the time of writing. But in 1949 it was withdrawn after the turbine became damaged, and didn't return to work - by then rebuilt as a conventional cylinder loco - till 1952. (Shortly after, it was destroyed in the Harrow & Wealdstone disaster.) / So the likely publication date would seem to have been late 1948. [John Clarke, Waikanae, New Zealand]
21st ed, reset, cover picture of a Merchant Navy class locomotive in the Southern Region. There is a section on foreign diesel locomotives and on an experimental British gas turbine locomotive. There are 8 colour plates and "over 200 illustrations". [Dallas]
Comment received 29/01/09 - I recently bought a copy of what appears to be the first edition. The title page doesn't state an edition number, but proclaims that the book has 'twelve coloured plates and nearly 350 illustrations'. / The front cover shows the Rene Bull drawing of 'The Tunnel Ahead' common to the early editions and the frontpiece is a drawing of a Southern Pacific Railway rotary snow plough at Blue Canon, California. / The endpaper 'before and after' cartoons are almost the same as those in a copy of the 13th edition which I have, with the exception that there are some details missing from the 'before' cartoon in the latter: a bowler hat on the left hand edge, the umbrella of the lady with the parrot, the weathervane atop the booking office and the booking office chimmney pots. There has been no disturbance to the paper, and there does not seem to be any reason for these details to have been removed, so it may just be a printing flaw in the later edition. / The latest express passenger engine is represented in a couple of places by a photograph of L&NWR George the Fifth class leader no 2663 built in 1910. There is also a photograph of a monorail displayed at the Japan-British Exhibition held in London in 1910. The printer is identified as 'Butler & Tanner, Frome and London'. / The copy I have carries a prize certificate saying it was awarded to Thomas H. Gregg for regular attendance and good conduct at Christ Church, Willesborough (unattached) during the year 1911, which suggests the book would have been purchased late in 1911 or early in 1912. The certificate was signed by F. Thornton Gregg M.A. Incumbent, so young Thomas probably didn't have a lot of choice in the matter. Willesborough is in Kent, UK, but the book turned up in a second-hand bookshop in northern Victoria in Australia - somewhat the worse for its travels, sad to say, although I guess I wouldn't have got it for $4.50 (Aus) had it been in pristine condition. - Dave Matthews
SCIENCE
n.k. 12 plates suggests earlier than 3rd listed on site. Same cover as 3rd, 12 plates and list of 16 other WB's are all with 12 plates. Weather forecast for June 1931 and colour plate of completion of arch of Sydney Harbour bridge so looks c 1932. [Paul]
3rd ed with 8 colour plates Endpapers: [School science lab.] by AE Beard (I also saw these once in the WB of Electricity) Printed by Butler and Tanner Cover - lamp, prism and lens on Edwardian-looking optical bench, projecting very fuzzy spectrum onto wall. List of Wonder Books with 8 or 12 colour plates: Things to Do, Would You Believe It!, Daring Deeds, How It's Done, Tell Me Why?, Do You Know?, Machinery, Electricity, Animals, Science, Inventions, Railways, Motors, Soldiers, Empire, Engineering Wonders, The Navy, Aircraft, Why and What, Wonders, Nature, The Wild, Ships, Pets, The Story Wonder Book. From: Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk
3rd edition with cover picture of lamp, prism and lens on Edwardian-looking optical bench, projecting spectrum onto wall. Harry Golding described as General Editor. There are 8 colour plates and nearly 300 illustrations, including a 1930s Humber saloon on p253. [Dallas]
4th ed Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by A E Beard. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS (No editor named, perhaps the anonymous "E.S" who wrote the introduction and three short general chapters. My science knowledge is insufficient to find clues to the publication date in the text. However a liner pictured, the "Georgic" was built between the wars and the contributor to the chapter 'Human Physiology', Prof Swale Vincent, 'late Prof of Physiology University of London' was still professor at London in 1924 when his book, 'Introduction to the Study of Secretion' was written.
Unidentified edition (title page lost) with solar flare on cover. It includes on page 20 a picture about radar in black and white that was later used in colour in the post-War RAF volume, but many articles and illustrations are as in the 3rd edition..
"Entirely New Edition" (a gift received in 1955) with a cover picture of 2 children viewing the earth from space, with a rocket and parasol shaped satellites. It has 8 colour plates and nearly 250 illustrations. The dust jacket suggests the New Zealand price was 15/-. [Dallas]
1962 edition, with a new format, designed and illustrated by Dennis Wrigley and written by Walter Shepherd. This was one of the new 192 page ones. [Dallas]
SHIPS
Unidentified edition, perhaps the 1st judging by the introductory text, edited by Harry Golding, with cover picture of a Cunarder (perhaps intended to be Mauritania) and pictures of HMS Orion and Lion (both completed in 1912) and favourable references to the Imperator. There are 12 colour plates and 320 illustrations. [At this stage there seem to have been only 3 other titles: Animals, Railways and the Wonder Book. Dallas]
13th ed I have dated most ship shown or being launched or under construction to 1923-4 so this will be mid 20s at latest. [Paul]
15th ed The Queen Mary is shown complete but still as Cunard 534 so this must be 1934 before she was named. [Paul]
16th ed
Printer: Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS (The ocean liners featured are of between the Wars. Whole chapter devoted to the 'Queen Mary' which was launched in 1936. Nothing about her sister ship the 'Queen Elizabeth' which was completed in 1940.)
19th ed, a present in August 1954, with a cover picture of the Queen Elizabeth, 8 colour plates and nearly 300 illustrations. [Dallas]
SHIPS AND THE SEA
1st ed., 1959, with cover picture of a cruiser, a liner (perhaps Queen Elizabeth) and further vessels on the back of the dust jacket. It combines warship and mercantile ones, has 7 colour plates and nearly 250 illustrations. [Dallas]
SOLDIERS
1st edition(?) edited by Harry Golding, with cover picture of Second Life Guards by Captain Adrian Jones MVO, end papers by Thomas Maybank, 4 double-page and 7 other colour plates and over 300 illustrations. On colour plate is of Boer artillery in retreat. There is an article on the Military service requirements in Australia and New Zealand (introduced in 1910 I think), and very short sections on Continental armies. [Dallas]
3rd ed:
Printer: Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank . Edited by Harry Golding (From its content it is clearly pre-World War 1.) Fourth Edition - Almost entirely new with a Special Article on Boy Scouts and the War by Lieut.-Gen. Sir Robert Baden Powell, K.C.B., Chief Scout. Printer: Butler & Tanner Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank . Edited by Harry Golding (The above description is not mine. It's verbatim from the frontispiece. The book takes in WWI. It was someone's birthday present. The good wishes are dated 23 May, 1917.)

3rd ed (another) with same cover picture and endpapers as before, edited by Harry Golding. From its content it is clearly pre-First World War. On p38 opposite an article "What a Modern Battle is Like" we find a German cyclist corps in a plantation and German infantry on the march, but the article is of fellows on summer manoeuvres. Many articles are repeated from the earlier edition. [Dallas]
5th ed."Almost entirely new with a Special Article on Boy Scouts and the War by Lieut.-Gen. Sir Robert Baden Powell, K.C.B., Chief Scout" (as the 4th said, apparently). Edited by Harry Golding, it has a cover picture of a rather bewildered officer, revolver drawn, standing on a strand of barbed wire, with the Union Jack flying behind him. There are 6 double-page and 4 other colour plates with over 300 illustrations. The Great War is in progress. The Serbs have been ejected from their country, the gallant Russians are our allies, the Americans are not mentioned. [Dallas]
7th ed.- Revised. Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank . Edited by Harry Golding (Definitely after WWI.)
STORY
Originally ANNUAL (as it was published each year) then PICTURES & STORIES and ALL-STORY.
An undated edition (perhaps about 1950?) having a cover picture of a boy helping fit a shoe to his sister's doll in a shoe shop game. The full cover title is "The Story Wonder Book / Pictures & Stories for Boys and Girls". There are 8 colour plates and "hundreds" of other illustrations. [Dallas]
TELL ME WHY?
Undated edition, with Harry Golding FRGS described as Editor in Chief, this copy a gift for Christmas 1939. The cover picture shows a boy reading before the fire, with images of a fast train, a flamingo and Saturn. There are 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. [Dallas]
5th ed (this copy a school prize in 1953 with cover picture of children watching on Television the King and Queen in an open carriage. There are 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. The De Havilland Comet (a colour night picture of the airliner, without any airline markings) is one of the 8 colour plates. [Dallas]
7th ed with cover picture of 3 children watching a home-projected circus film. The illustrations and articles seem close to the 5th edition. [Dallas]
THE ARMY

Sample is 1st ed, 224pp and post - May, 1954.
1st edition with forward by Lord Montgomery, 26 May 1954. This has a cover picture of a mass glider landing in battle conditions, with a vignette of a Household Cavalry officer. There are 8 colour plates and nearly 250 other illustrations. [Dallas]
THE FARM
Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. No edition specified. No editor named. No artist's signature on end papers. (Plainly post-WWII. Includes photo of 1948-50 Land Rover.
THE FARM
No edition specified or editor named. The cover picture (initialled MT) is of 3 children running hand in hand toward the viewer, with mechanically assisted hay stacking going on behind. No artist's signature on end papers. (Plainly post Second World War, with a helicopter spraying for Colorado beetles on p57 and a Landrover on p175). It has 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 photographs. [Dallas]
THE NAVY
4th ed Printer: Butler & Tanner Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank . Edited by Harry Golding (Chapters include WWI. Handwritten good wishes to original recipient is dated Christmas 1925.)
n.k. Entirely new edition. Contents date to 1927 - 1935. Control tower of HMS Nelson on front cover. [Paul]
10th ed
, no date or editor. The cover picture is of the battleship King George V, and HMS Howe of the same class appears several times inside (both were broken up in 1957). A Hawker Sea Hawk suggests at earliest about 1952, while a colour plate shows a Seafire from HMS Indomitable. There are 8 colour plates and "nearly 300 illustrations". [Dallas]
11th ed, with cover and endpapers as for 10th, but with HMS Howe replaced by Vanguard in several places and a Gannet picture replacing the Seafire. This copy was a Christmas present in 1954. [Dallas]
Our Navy' with 16 colour plates (with captions at their feet) and "Over 100 Photographs of British Warships and Naval activities". There is a forward by Admiral Sir ERGR Evans (but I can't recall when he was elevated to Lord Mountevans). I think it may be a 1941 publication as it includes reference to Taranto but also illustrates HMS Repulse and seems not to mention the Hood.
THE RAF
From John as above. COVER PICTURE: Pilot looking upwards with Hampden bomber in the background. TITLE PAGE: No publish date shown but suspect late 1940 or early 1941 due to mention of Battle Of Britain. No edition number provided. COVER PICTURE: De Havilland Venom (I think) jet fighter taking off at night, flying from left to right. TITLE PAGE: No publish date shown but suspect late 1940s or early 1950s. Identified as ENTIRELY NEW EDITION.
Unnumbered edition, with cover picture of Pilot looking upwards with Hampden bomber in the background. Edited by Harry Golding FRGS. No publish date shown but suspect 1941 due to mention of Battle of Britain, favourable references to the Defiant and to the Skua dive bomber, (both of which seems actually to have been a failure) and picture of a Liberator. There are 8 colour plates and about 250 illustrations. [Dallas]
"Entirely new edition" with cover picture of a De Havilland Vampire night fighter taking off from right to left. This copy was a birthday present in August 1955. There are 8 colour plates and "nearly 300 illustrations". [Dallas]
THE WILD
2nd ed End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. (The contributors who tell their own stories tell of adventures in the early 1920s.)
n.k. Elephants on cover which is gold framed. No date or edition but 1920s from Terry's motor car trip across unknown Northern Australia and other stories. Other details as per website. [Paul]
THEN & NOW
(12 colour plates) Given as a present in 1927. Endpapers "Then" and "Not now - but soon" by W Heath Robinson Printed by Butler and Tanner. Cover, "Back to School Then and Now" - in the foreground, a frizzy haired girl makes her goodbye from an open car; in the background, trunks are being lifted onto the roof of an early or mid 19th century travelling coach. List of Wonder Books with 8 or 12 colour plates: The Wild, Nature, Wonders, Why and What?, The Navy, Ships, Children, Empire, Railways, Animals, The Wonder Book Annual. From: Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk
Undated edition (matching that you list as given as a present in 1927) edited by Harry Golding FRGS. Endpapers "Then" and "Not now - but soon" by W Heath Robinson and cover "Back to School Then and Now" - in the foreground, a frizzy haired girl makes her goodbye from an open car; in the background, trunks are lifted onto the roof of an early or mid 19th century travelling coach. The Railway centennial plays a considerable part in the book, and the Aquitania is the exemplar of modern ocean travel. The featured Rolls Royce is a Silver Ghost (not the post-1925 Phantom). [Dallas]
THINGS TO DO
3rd ed, the full cover title being "The Wonder Book of Things to do Indoors & Outdoors". The cover picture shows a boy and girl with a magic Aladdin's lamp from which come a model (electric?) train, camping and swimming activities. The endpapers are by Thomas Maybank. Model aeroplanes include the DH Mosquito and Dragonfly. There are 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 other illustrations. [Dallas]
5th ed very similar to the 3rd, but new endpapers and omitting the last 32 pages (and one colour plate - of boys making a Meccano crane). [Dallas]
WHY & WHAT

4th ed. Cover as 5th. Everything points to post 1921 (Peugeot car not produced until then), pre-1927 (Cinema section is pre talkies). [Paul]
5th ed
: There is no date information that I can see but the dress in photographs suggests early to mid 20's. The cover photograph is of a young boy in a green 'bush' hat and blue pullover. [Thanks, Andrew.] Eighth Edition Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS (The chapter 'How Does the Cinema Work?' refers to "Recently 'talkie' films have been developed..." The first talkie, the Jazz singer' was in 1927. By 1931, the Movietone sound system was established. as the best technology and talkie production was underway.)
8th ed with end papers by Thomas Maybank, edited by Harry Golding, FRGS. The cover picture is as for some earlier editions, a boy in Cub uniform almost framed in a Question mark. There are 12 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations.
15th edition, with endpapers as for 8th, cover picture of 2 gleaming-eyed children looking above reader. The Frontispiece is of the British Railways experimental gas turbine train. On p132 Ford Prefect cars are being assembled. There are 8 colour plates and over 250 illustrations. [Dallas]
9th ed. Cover as 5th. Cinema section obviously (print slightly different) has added paragraph about talkies o/w much the same, but pictures of e.g. cars updated etc. Late 20's, early 30's. [Paul]
11th ed
(No.9) with 8 colour plates. Appears to have been given as a present in 1938. Endpapers "Why?" and "What!" by Maybank. Printed by Butler and Tanner. Cover, "I Wonder Why" by HG Theaker - small boy with large question mark. As I have the dust jacket for this one, I get two lists of other Wonder Books, but only the order is different. These are billed as having "8 or 12" colour plates: Would You Believe it, Daring Deeds, How It's Done, Tell Me Why, Do You Know?, Machinery, Electricity, Science, Inventions, Pets, Engineering Wonders, Motors, The Wild, Nature, Wonders, Why & What, Aircraft, The Navy, Empire, Soldiers, Ships, Railways, Animals, The Story Wonder Book. Note that some lists of titles give this book as "Why and What" and others as "Why & What"
Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk|
1961 edition in revised format, with 192 pages, with a miscellany of topics as before but mostly presented as statements rather than questions. [Dallas]
WARD LOCK & CO'S WONDER BOOK: A PICTURE ANNUAL
May have become STORY, as sample dated 1923 (on title page) contains all children's stories, but also is noted as '18th Year of Issue', meaning it would pre-date the first Ward Lock wonder book published in 1911! Eps by G E Shepheard.
Other example - see CB&M com for scan - 21st Year published 1926.
WONDERS
4th ed, edited by Harry Golding FRGS, cover by GH Davis of diver engaged in underwater salvage, endpapers by Thomas Maybank There is reference to the 1924 Everest expedition (but not to 1933) and the Majestic at 56,551 tons is the largest "British" liner and "the most famous ship in the world" (it was confiscated from the Germans, like the Berengaria and the Leviathan). [Dallas]
7th ed. Cover is deep sea diver. Post 1933 from Everest & Zuider Zee items and from planes etc looks pre-1939. [Paul]
Sample 11th ed is circa 1950s.

13th ed with cover picture of polar bears staring at the aurora. The Perspex car used by the Queen in Australia and the new UN Building are among the 250 illustrations (plus 7 colour plates). Mount Everest has been climbed "on Royal Oak Day" 1953. [Dallas]
Undated edition, by Paul Townend, with 160 pages and colour plates after pp16, 32 and so on. Aviation includes the Stratocruiser, the Brabazon and the Comet (not yet in airline colours). [Dallas]
WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?
Undated edition (perhaps 1st?) Harry Golding FRGS being General Editor, with cover picture of 2 children viewing movie screen with montage of desert scene, Burmese woman, American possums and the world seen from space. The end papers by Crombie are of tropical incidents (but including dinosaurs). There are 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. The articles are of natural history and ethnography, not modern technical topics. [Dallas]
4th ed with endpapers (Goblin Market) by Thomas Maybank. The cover picture shows a girl and boy looking at picture (movie?) of Maori warriors in war canoe. Mount Rushmore, "The Shrine of Democracy" is among the topics covered (completed about 1941?). There are 8 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. [Dallas]
5th ed with 8 colour plates Endpapers: [Goblin Market] by Maybank. Printed by Hollen Street Press. Cover - Girl and boy looking at picture (movie?) of South Sea Islanders (?) in war canoe (?) This edition seems to be quite late because the list of Wonder Books claims only 8 colour plates: Bible Stories, The Farm, The R.A.F., Aircraft, Animals, Railways, Ships, The Navy, Why and What?, Wonders, Nature, Motors, Science, Do You Know?, Tell Me Why?, How It's Done, Would You Believe It?, Things to Do, The Story Wonder Book. From: Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk
8th ed Printed in Great Britain by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London. End papers by Thomas Maybank. Edited by Harry Golding, FRGS (The chapter 'A Wonder Ship: the Queen Mary' suggests book printed after 1936. The chapter 'Wonders of the Air' includes the Hawker Hurricane aircraft which is described as 'new' and makes no reference to its WWII service. So book is immediate pre-WWII. The Hurricane's first flight was in 1935.
Sample is 15th ed pre-February, 1954. 

Total of known titles as at April, 2008 = 33


LITTLE WONDER BOOKS, listed by Ward Lock as GOLDEN PICTURE BOOKS
more commonly known as MY (or THE, or OPAL, or RAINBOW)
PICTURE BOOK OF
This is a separate Ward Lock series for younger children. Often abridged volumes of Wonder Books.
'Railbow': Rear boards will contain a full-page illo of a boy and girl with an umbrella, topped by a railbow.
Updated versions produced and noted as UPDATED on list below. These bear no relation to the earlier series being of all-colour drawings; some are/may be numbered, in djs.

ADVENTURE*
AEROPLANES
, The Picture Book of
AIRCRAFT

COVER PICTURE: Twin engined (Biplane) airliner with open cockpits for the 2 pilots (and G on the fin) flying over idealized countryside. TITLE PAGE: No publish date shown but suspect circa 1928. No edition number provided.
ANIMAL BABIES
My ANIMAL FRIENDS
The ANIMAL ABC
ANIMAL FUN and FROLIC*
The ANIMAL FUN Picture Book
ANIMALS
or THE ANIMAL*
A week or two ago I was given "My Picture Book of Animals". In atrocious condition, falling to bits, and not all there, but the back cover contains an advertisement for Wonder Books, including some reproduced covers. The endpapers (of which I have the lefthand side of the front and the righthand side of the back) are "The House on the Sands and the Incoming Tide" - another before and after pair by Maybank. I would love to see the complete cartoons! List of Wonder Books from the ad. on the back cover (12-16 colour plates): 20th Year of Issue: The Wonder Book Annual; The Wild, Nature, Animals, The Navy, Soldiers, Why & What, Empire. Children, Wonders, Railways, Ships. Unfortunately I have no way of dating it, but the issue number of the annual is undoubtedly significant! Philip.Belben@powertech.co.uk

BIBLES STORIES, Old Testament
BIBLE STORIES, New Testament
BIRDS*
CLEVER ANIMALS*
COWBOYS
CUBS*
DOGS*
FAIRY TALES
FARMYARD FRIENDS or THE FARMYARD*
FIREMEN*
FULL-OF-FUN Picture Book
GAMES, The Picture Book of
HORSES, The Picture Book of (all pictures)
The JOLLY Picture Book
KITTENS*
LIFEBOATS*
MERRY MOMENTS
MOTOR
MOTORS, The Picture Book of (all pictures), 16 colour plates

MY OWN* (all pictures)
NURSERY RHYMES
PETS*
PUNCH and JUDY
PUPPIES*
RAILWAYS*
RAT-TAT-TAT
SAILORS, The Picture Book of
SHIPS*
SOLDIERS*
THE BRAVE DEEDS*
THE CIRCUS*

THE FAIR**
THE FAVOURITE*
THE HOLIDAY*
THE SUNNY DAY*

THE WILD WEST (24 colour plates) UPDATED version is all colour, No.2 (on spine), priced at 6/- (9/- in Australia). Other titles given on dj flap are FAIRY STORIES, ADVENTURES IN SPACE, PANTOMIME STORIES, ROBIN HOOD and TREASURE ISLAND.
TRAINS, The Picture Book of
**Another recent discovery and it's a cracker! Two colour plates, over 60 illustrations, no edition information. Titles listed above (*). Before and after endpapers by Shepheard. Cloth spine. Full colour gloss front board. Frontispiece 'On the Swings' by HGT.

Total of known titles as at November, 2007, not given due to possible duplication.


MODERN WORLD BOOKS
Published by Sampson Low, Marston and Co., London, 1950s

This publisher was more up to date than Ward Lock in its attitude to children's illustrated books. Authors rather than editors were given credit for different titles while the design of the books was improved upon with the use of full-page b/w photos, and occasionally double-page photo spreads. The best artists were used for cover illustrations - and given credit, although the internal colour plates weren't always on a par with those to be found in the earlier editions of the Wonder Books. At least nine titles are known to exist, usually of 160pp. All books came with wraparound dust jackets. It is not yet known if more than one edition of any title was published. [Contents information supplied by Dallas.]

Modern World Book of ANIMALS
Undated edition of 160 pages, edited by John R Gilbert, wrap-around cover picture of children and animals in a farm setting, with Clydesdales rather than tractors. There is a late 1940s American car (at Jasper National Park) on p69. This copy has colour plates at pp16 and 32 and so may have had 8 altogether.
Modern World Book of FLYING
Undated edition of 126 pages, by Richard Haddon, Charles Harvey and ES Wolff, wrap-around cover picture of a helicopter flying over an airport with Avro Vulcan, DH Comet (in PanAm livery), Bristol Britannia (in BOAC colours) and other aircraft. Several of the aircraft inside had been shown at Farnborough in 1952. The Bell X2 and the Viking rocket are also featured. This copy has colour plates at pp32, 48, 64 and 80.
Modern World Book of HOBBIES
Undated edition of 160 pages, no editor named, 25 chapters of hobbies. The wrap-around cover shows a camping and boating scene. On page 35 John Cunningham, a De Havilland test pilot, is named and there are other named people too. George Bernard Shaw is dead (he died in 1950). This copy has colour plates at pp48, 64, 96 and 112.
Modern World Book of MACHINERY
Undated edition of 126 pages, by Charles Harvey and ES Wolff, with wrap-around cover of an oil pipe being laid. Endpapers show Vickers Viscount assembly and the P&O liner Orsova under construction. USS Nautilus is shown on p59. I have 2 copies of this one and there are colour plates at pp32, 48, 64 and 80.
Modern World Book of MOTORS by Laurence Cade, cover by Horton
Undated edition by Laurence H Cade, with wrap-around cover picture of Maserati racing cars (also reproduced after p72) by Hofton and dated 1949. However, the cars illustrated inside include early 1950s models. There are 160 pages, and colour plates at pp48, 64, 72*, 104* (* these 2 are double spread plates), 112 and 128.
Modern World Book of NATURE
Undated edition (this copy a Christmas present in 1953) with Richard Haddon, Charles Harvey and ES Wolff described as General Editors, wrap-around cover picture of thrushes and chicks while fox passes scowling. There are 160 pages and 6 colour plates.
Modern World Book of RAILWAYS by Paul Townend, cover by Terence Cuneo
Undated edition by Paul Townend, this copy a Christmas present in 1952, with wrap-around cover picture of steam engines in a yard by Terence Cuneo (also reproduced following p120). There are 160 pages and 7 colour plates, 2 double (the Cuneo and a Hofton after p80).
Modern World Book of SHIPS by Raymond Blackman, cover by Horton
Undated edition by Raymond Blackman, with a wrap-around cover dated 1950 by Hofton, looking from a warship towards the Queen Elizabeth, with other vessels in the Channel. The edition predates the SS United States and text on p134 was written before the end of 1950. There are 160 pages and 4 colour plates.
Modern World Book of WONDERS

Total of known titles as at February, 2003 = 9


3 Wonder Books and Westerman
from Jim Mackenzie jmackenzie48@yahoo.com (as originally included in the CB&M Yahoogroups newsletter).

Including a sample contents listing; you'll find this and others in Steve Holland's Story Paper Index, which also includes annuals. See the link on the main page or go to Steve's Comprehensive British Story Paper Index.

It's interesting how the credits given to the authors change from book to book. For those of you new readers [on the CB&M list] there are several people on this list interested in the careers of Percy F. Westerman and his son, John. (Well - I am anyway !) Thus it was interesting to find that John F. C. Westerman was responsible for several of the entries in the first book below. Also in "Daring Deeds" is the author Rowland Walker, another writer who was churning out air adventures long before W.E.Johns came on the scene. In fact Rowland Walker was probably the first to come up with the idea of an air police, a concept adopted by Johns in 1945 about 16 years later. Most of the colour illustrations can not be assigned to the artists because their signatures are illegible. I was intrigued to find that "Daring Deeds" appears to be padded out with fiction with a run of short stories appearing near the end.

Is there a special code for railway enthusiasts ? I mean do the real "trainspotters" merely look at "J.F.G." and "W.P." in the author column and nod their heads sagely, understanding at once the pedigree of the different writers ? Who do J. Hartley Knight and Basil Mercer get full credit for their efforts when everyone else is just an initial or "Anonymous" ? These are the mysteries of the universe, akin to why a piece of jammed toast always lands jam side down when dropped.

The Wonder Book of Daring Deeds (Undated)
Ward Lock Price 5/-
General Editor Harry Golding
8 Colour Plates:
Piper Findlater Wins the V.C.
Captain Scott and his party haul their sledge
Colonel Lawrence was always in the hottest of the fight
Lord Roberts winning the V.C.
The "Mystery Ship" sinks the submarine
H.M.S. Vindictive at Zeebrugge
The Boy Legionaire's First Fight
Stemming the Stampede

9 * Smith, B.Webster * The Memorable Tragedy of Captain Scott * ar
21 * Anonymous * Piper Findlater V.C. * ar
27 * Walker, Rowland * Lawrence of Arabia * ar
37 * Sprigg, T. Stanhope * Flying Nine Miles High * ar
48 * Smith, B.Webster * Down in the Deep * ar
51 * Westerman, John F.C. * The Boy V.C. * ar
57 * Anonymous * On Fire at One Hundred Miles Per Hour * ar
64 * Walker, Rowland * The Little Field-Marshal * ar
77 * Smith, B.Webster * The Siege of Mount Everest * ar
87 * Walker, Rowland * Hero of the Mystery Ships * ar
99 * Smith, B.Webster * By Dog and By Sledge Across the Polar Sea * ar
111 * Walker, Rowland * No Surrender – The End of the Raider Squadron * ar
121 * Sprigg, T. Stanhope * Test Pilots * ar
131 * Westerman, John F.C. * Forcing the Narrows * ar
137 * Smith, B.Webster * The Breaker of Rocks – Past Cannibals and
Cataracts with Stanley * ar
145 * Chesmore, Stuart * Crashing Planes for a Living * ar
153 * Sprigg, T. Stanhope * The Zeppelin Fighter * ar
161 * Walker, Rowland * The Man on the Island * ar
169 * Sprigg, T. Stanhope * The Prince of Parchutists * ar
175 * Walker, Rowland * "Fire ! Fire !" * ar
180 * Westerman, John F.C. * Look After Arnold * ar
181 * Westerman, John F.C. * Zeebrugge & ar
193 * Sprigg, T. Stanhope * England to New Zealand in 11 days * ar
198 * Walker, Rowland * The Deathless Story of Rorke's Drift * ar
209 * Walker, Rowland * Richtohofen's Last Fight * ar
216 * Chesmore, Stuart * Under Polar Ice in a Submarine * ar
221 * Chesmore, Stuart * A Boy in the Foreign Legion * ar
226 * Anonymous * Fighting an Oil Well Fire * ar
231 * Chesmore, Stuart * Building a Railway Over the Sea * ar
235 * Chesmore, Stuart * The Elephant Who Refused to be Caught * ss
240 * Chesmore, Stuart * The Range Feud * ss
245 * Sprigg, T. Stanhope * "The Flying Fool" * ar
250 * Anonymous * Four Bells in the Afternoon Watch * ar

Answers :
Railroad in the Florida Keys
Flying Fool was Charles Lindbergh
The ship was the Lusitania.


"Wonders" found in a "Wonder Book"
from Jim Mackenzie jmackenzie48@yahoo.com (11.5.2002)

As I did my weekly wander round my local second-hand bookshop I found myself once more in front of the section which contained all the "Wonder" books. After coughing in the dust from three different copies of "The Wonder Book of the Empire", I finally managed to uncover at the back "The Wonder Book of Aircraft". This was one I hadn't looked at before. Little did I know what treasure awaited me and what a surprise I was going to get.

It's the colour plates that first catch your attention. A quick glance through reassured me that they were all intact. I remember looking at "The Wonder Book of Railways" last Saturday and being disgusted to find that some previous owner had been at work with the scissors. Now to the almost impossible job of establishing when the book had been produced. Well, it was quite easy to find that it was the "Sixth Edition" but there was no date printed anywhere. So, as Mr. Holmes always advised, I looked at the evidence first before I began to formulate my theory. The aeroplanes featured all had a nice 1920s or 1930s look about them. Expert on flying stories I may be, but I am simply no good at recognising types of flying machine. Aha ! There is actually a section at the end called "Notable Records in Aerial History". As usual it starts with 1782 when the Montgolfier brothers invented the hot-air balloon. It mentions Pilcher, an English exponent of gliding, killed while experimenting with his"Hawk" monoplane at Market Harborough in 1899, gives the usual nods to the Wright brothers and Bleriot, and ends with "Commander W. Stultz, W. Gordon and Miss Earhart crossed from Trepassey, Newfoundland, in a seaplane, to Burry Port, South Wales in 1928." It's somehow nice to see Captain C. Lindbergh cut down to size by a mention of all the other aviation achievements listed alongside him. So, I reckon this makes it 1929-30 for a publication date.

Anyway, back to those colour plates. The first is entitled "'Good Morning' on the Continental Airway". In the foreground is a British Handley Page (lovely navy blue fuselage) and in the background a French Farman "Goliath" passing on the fringe of the English Channel. Beneath are the white cliffs of Dover, the slate blue sea and a patchwork quilt of English fields separated by hedges. The next colour plate, entitled "Luxury in Air Travel" is definitely my favourite. It shows the inside of the cabin of a London-Paris airliner where a steward in white uniform (from his cook's hat to his apron) balancing a tray in centre aisle, is talking to a passenger who appears to be ordering his meal. In the foreground two young (and quite attractive looking) flappers, complete with hats and fur stoles, are chatting across the gap between the seats. In the seat in front of the one with the green hat sits an old gentleman with silver hair and a lorgnette who is blithely reading a book and seemingly unaware that he is "rushing through the air at 100 miles-an-hour". Through the cabin window the green fields can be seen again. It's England as you have always visualised it. Ten years later it would be Spitfires, Hurricanes and the Luftwaffe engaged in the Battle of Britain in those same skies.

Francis E. Hiley (It's the first artist's signature I can actually make out) is responsible for colour plate number 3. This shows a British fighter pilot about to climb into his bi-plane. The concentration is on all the equipment that he has to wear. This includes oxygen-breathing apparatus, wireless earphones and a parachute which forms a seat. The term air "field" was never more appropriate for the grass in this picture looks about two foot high. The next picture is quite dramatic for it shows a British fighting plane diving down the beam of a search-light. The title is simply "Speed !" It looks to me (Remember – I admitted I am no good at recognition) like a Sopwith Camel and I can just imagine Biggles on a particularly daring raid.

The R101 airship is the subject of the next plate. It seems both sad and ironic nowadays when I read the list of claims about what it was capable of doing – "70 mph, 100 passengers, 50 crew and 4,000 miles without alighting". In contrast the next plate has those wonderful fields again and this time we can see the mushrooms of parachutes blooming over them in the background. Nearer to us is an R.A.F. pilot lying on his back with his hands together in the recommended falling position before he drifts clear of the plane (Bristol Fighter ?) from which he has jumped on parachute practice.

In the "Biggles" stories Captain W.E. Johns was always having his pilot worrying about taking off in a seaplane or an amphibian. A stretch of water which was too placid would never provide the necessary "kick" to aid take-off. Well, both the author and his creation would have been well-satisfied by the picture of the Blackburn "Iris" Three-Engined Flying Boat which looks like it is ploughing through a surfer's paradise and leaving a wake like the Queen Mary. Similar fun can be had by looking at "The Plane of the Future" which has two wings like the sides of a house facing square on to the oncoming air, or by examining "Flying Over Polar Wastes", where a lonesome polar bear, stranded on a shadowy grey ice-floe in a purple sea, gazes balefully up at a distant red bi-plane as it sails across a pink sky. Still, at least it does mention the Arctic Ocean - unlike W.E. Johns who had those poor creatures in Antarctica in "Biggles' Second Case".

As we move towards the end of the book there are still more delights to find. Francis E. Hiles returns with "The Beauty of Flight" where the painting of the aeroplane is fine but the impression of the many-hued sea and the little river meandering to meet it is simply superb. The idea of launching a fighter plane from an airship is depicted in another plate and, looking like children's toys, there is a representation of an autogiro and a "pterodactyl", another "plane of the future" which doesn't have a tail-section.

Reader, I bought the book.

When I brought it home to make an attempt at reading the different articles I discovered even more gems. There is a description of how air-liners were used to transport gold bullion – it's the plot of "Biggles and Co" laid out before me. There's a section on "Aeroplanes Without Pilots" which were being developed during World War I and which, it seems, has now come true with the U.S.A's spy planes in Afghanistan.

Best of all, however, was when I turned to the last page and found that the previous owner had cut pictures and articles from newspapers and left them inside the book. There are at least twenty of them, mostly of aeroplanes I had never really seen before or planes that I knew in places I didn't expect. For instance there is the "Tail-First Aeroplane", called the "Duck", which is "claimed to be quite fool-proof" being demonstrated near Berlin. Or there is a picture of "Wing Commander Kingsford Smith's Southern Cross Junior on arrival at Karachi". There is the study of the huge German flying-boat Do.X being moored at Calshot and there are various ones of the Prince of Wales (later Duke of Windsor) arriving at various places. He even took the controls of the giant Dornier flying boat – already showing his preference for all things German ? Another exhibit at the Berlin Airshow was the "Flying Car" and we are assured "When the blades of its windmill apparatus are folded the machine can be used on the road." I reckon we are still waiting.

"Do you know that half Europe fears you are dead – that we've been scouring the Alps for you ?"

These are the opening words of a "Daily Mirror" article sent home from Lausanne, by the photographer and observer on board Captain Hope's little aeroplane which was feared missing. The headline read "Captain Hope's Ordeal in the Alps – Night Spent in Shelter of a Barn". This was obviously big news back in 1930. Yes, I turned over several of the cuttings and discovered that most of the cuttings were from that year. I seem to remember the first "Standish" story by Percy F. Westerman has a long section where his hero gets lost in his aeroplane over the high Alps. I've just checked – "The Amir's Ruby" was published in 1932 – wonder where he got his ideas from ?

At a guess most of the cuttings are from the "Daily Mirror" but one or two are from the local Newcastle paper, "The Evening Chronicle". One picture of the Prince of Wales striding onto the massive Do X at Calshot is printed on the back of the entertainment listings for the theatres and cinemas of this fair city in November, 1930. It's fascinating to find that "The Pirates of Penzance" was on at the Theatre Royal and that I could have gone to see Will Fyffe ("Scotland's Famous Character Comedian") at the Hippodrome. On the other hand I might have been attracted towards the Bamboro in Byker where there was "a dramatic all-talking drama, featuring Billie Dove" called "The Other Tomorrow". The second feature was "A Thrilling Sea Drama" called "High Seas". Perhaps I could have waited for the following week to see "The Love Parade". In fact the advent of talking pictures is very well recorded with the West Jesmond Picture House now styling itself as "No Longer Silent". Alas, I must confirm that the cinema in question is silent again and stands a derelict hulk next to the small Metro station in the busy suburb.

Enough of this nostalgia about Newcastle and back to the last find. In "Biggles and the Black Peril", Algy finds himself a little bit shaken by Ginger's familiarity with the aeroplane on his first flight. "How do you know all this ?" he asked.
"Read about it," Ginger told him. "I read everything about flying that I can lay my hands on."
This "Wonder Book of Aircraft" and all its attendant clippings, probably published in 1929-30, is a clear confirmation for me that at least one boy in north-east of England was doing in reality what Ginger (also from Northumberland) was later to do in fiction. Thus the picture of the Westland Wessex "demonstrated at Cramlington today" which I found between the last two pages is an apt way to recall this "air-minded" era that has now faded to a few old photographs of forgotten planes and a lost world. Cramlington, of course, is the aerodrome where Algy and Ginger meet for the first time and from where they set off to search for the missing Biggles.#


STORIES RECEIVED plus DETAILS not yet incorporated into page.
(Most recent at the end)
WONDER BOOK OF AIRCRAFT times 10?
Date: 4/08/03 12:28:07 AUS Eastern Standard Time
I was about 13 years of age when, in 1950, I prised open an old locked cupboard that sat in the rear of my classroom at St Paul's Way Secondary Modern School, Bow, London. Its sole contents turned out to be the dusty remnants of a WBOA, minus its covers and any Title Page. However, it did contain some photos and an article (I remember it well) concerning the Silver Streak aircraft. This was claimed to be the first all-metal aircraft to be built in the UK (or The Empire as they said in those days). Although I promptly lost these remnants their discovery somehow ignited a passion in me. I dearly wished to locate a complete edition of the book containing the Silver Streak article. My first discovery was that many editions of the WBOA existed. Some of the editions displayed an edition number on the Title Page and some didn't. Some of them showed a Print Date and some of them didn't. Some of them had the same cover illustration of another edition and some of them didn't. However, various dated references in each book enabled me to be fairly sure that the publishers put out 10 editions at irregular intervals. As an example of this irregularity at least 3 editions seem to have been published in 1919. I eventually collected an example of each edition, airship with the name of Atlantic shown on the cover. This sounded similar to edition 3, which I already have, so I was about to log off when I noticed that the vendor had been clever enough to display a couple of illustrations from the book. Guess what? One of them was of the Silver Streak! Whatever edition this was it was new to me. I was fairly sure of the edition number of all the other copies I had so this one could only be the missing 4th edition. The end of my 53 year quest was in sight. A bid was put in at the asking price and was accepted. I expect it to arrive by snail mail in a week or two and can hardly wait. I have already gone to the local print shop and fabricated a dust jacket for it. I can now die happy with editions 1 to 10 of the WBOA firmly clasped to my chest! If any killjoy reads this and knows of more than the 10 editions I have PLEASE let me know, I would hate to die in ignorance! John P. Murphy (jogamurf@juno.com).


From: paulembleton@btconnect.com (Paul Embleton)
Date: 23/11/03 10:24:17 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
I've finally posted Paul's details to the list; thanks, Paul. [4.2008]
Hope this helps.
Grateful for any update of titles/editions etc.
Paul Embleton


Date: 23/07/04 5:21:52 AUS Eastern Standard Time
From: b.dmoore@actrix.co.nz (Dallas Moore)
Dear Website Operator
Having decided to try to get used to the Internet I looked for a website relating to Ward Lock's Wonder Books and was shown yours. I found it very interesting. I therefore take this opportunity to thank you for it and to send a list of the Wonder Books and modern World Books that I have. I have followed more or less the framework you used and hope that some of the information may be helpful.
Yours sincerely
Dallas Moore
Thanks, Dallas. Your info is currently being incorporated into the main listing above.[4.2008]

Date: 9/09/06 5:17:53 AUS Eastern Standard Time
I wrote to you in July 2004. I recently revisited your site and congratulate you on the June 2006 update. Among other details I noticed you referred to a publication 'Our Air Force' (I think) and mentioned the inferior paper, but the resemblance to the Wonder Book format.
I have a book, 'Our Navy' with 16 colour plates (with captions at their feet) and "Over 100 Photographs of British Warships and Naval activities". There is a forward by Admiral Sir ERGR Evans (but I can't recall when he was elevated to Lord Mountevans). I think it may be a 1941 publication as it includes reference to Taranto but also illustrates HMS Repulse and seems not to mention the Hood.

Date: 12/09/06 11:58:25 AUS Eastern Standard Time
From: rog@rdennis53.freeserve.co.uk (Rog Dennis)
I found your site quite by accident & was intrigued to find someone else on the same mission! Took me 44 years to get one of each title & only Children sourced thro' the Internet, all the rest un-earthed in jumble sales, book shops, etc. Along the way, I added different editions, some differently titled and one De Luxe edition of Ships (very posh, bevel-edged, full cloth cover). It was this that made me commence the search, nearly 20 years after receiving my first as a Xmas present. Now I've 64 at last count, including Our Air Force and Encyclopaedia. Never seen the Story Books or The Wonder Book, which I assume were annuals.
Very early on, I started to examine the published titles inside the books/on dust jackets, feeling I ought to be able to work out an order. I set-to to examine all photos & to attempt a no earlier than/no later than bracket. Great fun to do, as I knew just two numbers then, so it was an act of faith! This I did & had great satisfaction in confirming those I've listed, only two of which required the numbers transposing. The full analysis is still only a large sheet of manuscript & the attached is as far as I'd got in transcribing it. A wonderful series of books......

Date: 31/03/07 3:53:10 AUS Eastern Standard Time
From: dwedmunds@tinyworld.co.uk (David W Edmunds)
I'd just like to say ‘thank you’ for posting all the info. On the ‘Wonder Books’ series, I have a few copies (various editions) & find them most fascinating, even though I’m now 58 years old! Whilst the covers are a bit worn the contents pages are almost as new, which for me as a collector is great but in a way it’s sad as I guess most, if not all the books were given as presents to youngsters but they do not give the impression ever to have been read, that’s sad.

However, I’d just like to mention three other books I have that are similar in content to the Wonder Books but cover a variety of subjects in one volume. Firstly there is ‘Marvels of the Modern World’, edited by Harold Wheeler, HON.D.LITT; F.R.HIST.S. There is no edition date shown but I would imagine it was printed just after the 1939-45 war. Secondly, there is ‘The Wonder Encyclopaedia for Children’, edited by John R Crossland & J M Parrish, printed in 1933 & lastly ‘Wonders of the World’, no editor shown but foreword by Sir Philip Gibbs, K.B.E, again no date of edition but I’d estimate C.1935. Odhams Press Ltd of Long Acre, London published each of these three books.

There books really are a mine of information (plus numerous photographs) & any child possessing them at that time would have been a lucky boy or girl.

Kind regards,
David W Edmunds.
See David's article below.

Date: 10/04/08 2:04:38 AUS Eastern Standard Time
From: rosemary.evans@talk21.com (rosemary evans)
Re: The Wonder Book of Animals for Boys and Girls.
I bought it for 5 in a shop that sells all sorts of old things. Written inside is 'To Barbara and George with love Uncle Charlie Xmas 1914'
Inside it records that it is a Fifth Edition edited by Harry Golding with 12 coloured plates and nearly 300 illustrations.
I noticed on the website that someone had commented about Thomas Maybank and he has illustrated the inside front and back cover of this book.
The picture on the front is of a St Bernard dog.
Let me know if there is anything else that you specifically would like to know.
I hope this is of interest.
Rosemary
Thanks, Rosemary. I'll incorporate your info on the page.

Date: 1/11/08 6:01:01 AUS Eastern Daylight Time
From: dwedmunds@tinyworld.co.uk (David W Edmunds)
I thought you may be interested in the following. I've just purchased a copy of The Wonder Book of Do You Know? & although the copyright date is given as 1960 I would think it was produced later than this as it differs so much from the well known editions produced up until at least 1961 as I have a copy of Bible Stories Re-told by David Kyles, M.A. (reprinted 1961) that follows the old format, black & gold rear cover etc but no mention of Harry Golding as editor. When this was printed these were the other titles still published, Wonders, Tell Me Why?, How It's Done, Would You Believe It?, Things To Do, The Farm, Ships & The Sea, Aircraft, The Army, The Navy, The RAF & The Story Wonder Book.

When this 'new' version of Do You Know? was published the other titles had been reduced to two - Animals & Adventure (with others in preparation). They were described as, quote ' The New Wonder Book Series is a series of wonderful new information books for go-ahead young people'. The front cover features a full colour picture of Mt Palomar Telescope & the rear cover features five colour pictures of a Radio Telescope, a Space Rocket, Fingals Cave, a Prehistoric Animal & an Insect. There are 192 pages as opposed to well over 200 pages in the 'old' Wonder Book series & whilst there are some colour drawings most are monochrome photos & drawings. In its self the book is fine, a typical product of the mid 60's but compared to the original Wonder Books, well I know what I'd prefer!

As I stated earlier the copyright date is 1960 but this does not mean that was the date this edition was published. By the style of drawing, layout etc I'd guess mid to late 60's. It must have been prior to 1971 as the price is pre-decimal.

Thought this might be of interest to you & any other collectors.

All the best,
David W Edmunds.

Date: 5/05/09 4:11:50 AUS Eastern Standard Time
From: dallas.moore@paradise.net.nz (Dallas Moore)
Current prices in Wellington tend to be $NZ15-20, but in Woodville a chap wanted $65 less 20% for a Railways 15th. It rests still in Woodville!
Kind regards
Dallas Moore
Thanks, Dallas. As usual I'm snowed under so have posted your details in below for now.
Cheers, John

ADVENTURE
The first of the new series, this copy dated 1960, of 192 pages, many illustrated, stories by David Irish, design by Denis Wrigley MSIA, illustrations by Kenneth Symonds, N. Battershill MSIA and Rita Parsons. Other titles available are Animals and Do You Know.
BIBLE STORIES
3rd printing (1955, the earlier 2 being both in 1953), edited by David Kyles with a cover picture of Jesus with 3 children. It has 33 colour plates by Henry Coller and 80 line illustrations by Paul Dessau.
NATURE
Unnumbered (1st ?) edition, edited by Harry Golding FRGS, with cover picture of an eagle by Charles Whymper RI. It has 8 colour plates and "nearly" 350 illustrations. The endpapers, showing fairies in settings related to "The Four Seasons" are by Grace Jones. This copy was a Christmas gift in 1920 (but probably predates 1919 being listed in a copy of Animals given that year). Volumes available are Wonders, Why and What, Aircraft, Navy, Ships, Soldiers, Children, Empire, Railways, and Animals, as well as the Annual.
PETS
No edition number, edited by Harry Golding, with end papers by Thomas Maybank. The title on the cover is "The Wonder Book of Pets and How to Keep Them". The cover picture, of a child in yellow shirt with a puppy is entitled "He's Mine" and is by Lindsay Cable. There are 12 colour plates and 300 illustrations. Current volumes are Navy, Engineering Wonders, Aircraft, Motors, Then & Now, the Wild, Nature, Why & What, Ships, Children, Empire, Railways, Animals and Wonders; (no Soldiers). No edition number, edited by Harry Golding, with end papers by Thomas Maybank. The title on the cover is "The Wonder Book of Pets and How to Keep Them". The cover picture, of a boy in red shirt and tie with an English sheep dog is entitled "He's Mine" and is by Lindsay Cable (the earlier characters a little older?). There are 12 colour plates and 300 illustrations. Same list of titles as above.
RAILWAYS
Unnumbered edition (1st?), edited by Harry Golding. The cover picture looks forward through the left cab window along a green LNER locomotive towards twin tunnels. It is called "The Tunnel Ahead" by Rene Bull. In referring to railways in wartime, the book refers to the South African War of 1900-2. There are 12 colour plates and "nearly 350 illustrations". [The frontispiece of this copy is missing]. There is no list of available titles.
SHIPS
17th edition, with cover picture of Queen Mary (from painting by William McDowell) 8 colour plates and "nearly 300 illustrations". The frontispiece is of the Aquitania and this copy seems to be before the Queen Elizabeth was completed. 17th edition, with cover picture of Queen Mary (from painting by William McDowell) 8 colour plates and "nearly 300 illustrations". This copy has a frontispiece of the Queen Mary and a black and white illustration of the Queen Elizabeth. Other details also differ from the previous item.
SOLDIERS
4th edition "Almost entirely new with a Special Article on Boy Scouts and the War by Lieut.-Gen. Sir Robert Baden Powell, K.C.B., Chief Scout" Edited by Harry Golding, it has a cover picture of a rather bewildered officer, revolver drawn, standing on a strand of barbed wire, with the Union Jack flying behind him. There are 6 double-page and 4 other colour plates with over 300 illustrations. The Great War is in progress. The Serbs have been ejected from their country, the gallant Russians are our allies, the Americans are not mentioned.
THE FARM
2nd edition, no editor named. "with seven plates in full colour and two hundred photographs" it lacks 2 chapters of the one above and a plate of a girl with goats, "Isn't it my turn now?" The cover shows livestock, a tractor and a farm house but no people. End papers are as before.
THE NAVY
12th edition, with cover and endpapers as for 10th, but further changes since 11th in some other respects.
THE RAF
Sixth edition (of the new format) with cover picture of a De Havilland Vampire night fighter taking off from right to left. Endpapers offer on blue background white drawings of aircraft, including the English Electric P1 (of which a photo appears on page 169). This copy was a Christmas present in 1962. There are 7 colour plates and "over 200 illustrations".
THINGS TO DO
4th edition similar to the 3rd but with 250 black and white illustrations and omitting the last 32 pages.
WHY & WHAT
7th edition with end papers by Thomas Maybank, edited by Harry Golding, FRGS. The cover picture is as for some earlier editions, a boy in Cub uniform almost framed in a Question mark. There are 12 colour plates and "nearly" 300 illustrations. 15th edition, with endpapers as for 8th, cover picture of 2 gleaming-eyed children looking above reader. The Frontispiece is of the British Railways experimental gas turbine train. On p132 Ford Prefect cars are being assembled. There are 8 colour plates and over 250 illustrations. 16th edition, with new red endpapers, cover picture of a diver cutting into a steel panel. Same 8 colour plates as for 15th but now 225 other illustrations and several new articles. 1961 edition in revised format, with 192 pages, with a miscellany of topics as before but mostly presented as statements rather than questions.
WONDERS
Undated (first?) edition, edited by Harry Golding FRGS, cover 'The Wonder Girl' by Harry G Theaker, endpapers by GE Shepheard. There is reference to the 1922 Everest expedition (but not to 1924) and the Majestic at 56,551 tons is the largest "British" liner and "the most famous ship in the world" (it was confiscated from the Germans, like the Berengaria and the Leviathan). There are 12 colour plates and 'nearly 300' illustrations.


Other WONDER BOOKS including those from Odham's. - David W Edmunds

I have two books produced by Oldham's Press of Long Acre, London. The Wonder Encyclopaedia for Children dated 1933 & edited by John R Crossland and J M Parrish and Wonders of the World, foreword by Sir Philip Gibbs, K.B.E., undated but I reckon also mid -1930's.

They differ from the Ward Lock series of Wonder Books in that they cover a number of subjects whereas the Ward Lock Books were specific subjects per volume and produced from WW1 to the early 1960's I believe.

The Encyclopaedia has 756 pages (including index), numerous B&W photographs and diagrams and a few colour plates. Subjects covered are The Universe, Peoples of the World, Flora & Fauna, How things works e.g. How does a Vacuum Cleaner work, How our Bodies Work, Folk Stories of the World, Literature, Natural & Man-made 'Wonders' e.g. Mount Everest, Empire State Building, etc, etc. Literally everything you needed to know (in the 1930's).

Wonders of the World has 744 pages (including index) and covers just Natural & Man-made Wonders and each chapter is of a particular continent and country. This book has again numerous B&W photos and a frontispiece in colour.

Although the Encyclopaedia is obviously aimed at the younger reader the text is adult so both books would be of interest to adults.

They really are very interesting and I expect many of the original photographs have now been lost so it is interesting to see things from a 1930's viewpoint, especially peoples of the world, at that time.

I find this type of book a mine of information and a really good read but I suppose growing up in the 1950/60's there were similar types of books around then. I've always been interested in finding out about things, places etc. It amazes me how some people even of my age (59) have no idea where certain towns and cities in the UK are located, they couldn't place them on a blank map of the UK!

In closing I'll mention another book I have Marvels of the Modern World, again an Oldham's book, edited by Harold Wheeler in, I reckon, the late 1930's. A similar book to the 'Wonders' but covering man-made marvels, Ships, Planes, Cars, Bridge Building, Astronomy etc. 320 pages (including index) with many B&W photos.

'Marvels' & 'Wonders seemed to be favourite words seventy-odd years ago as each new development in technology truly was a marvel and without many people having the opportunity of travel abroad, pictures were their only access to natural wonders. Now I can drive to London Airport, park my car, buy my ticket and be in Australia in half a day. As we've 'progressed' we've lost some of the wonder of the Universe etc. and are we really any the better for it?


WANTED

My Father had his Fathers from just before the first World war, my Father then had his & I collected a bunch in the 80's from a second hand book store in Oxford for probably a couple of quid each, since then bought them occasionally. Unfortunately my Father died & as my collection was at his house I had to ship everything which is about 30 books from very early to the 50's but including some of the rarer ones home to NYC.

What to do now? They mean nothing over here but I've decided to fill in the gaps in the collection & try to get earlier editions on the popular ones (army, navy, ships, railways etc) and stick them on a shelf in my office. My Father passed the collecting bug onto me & to the despair of my wife I just can't help myself. My worry is not cost as I don't need to buy that many but when will I say to myself the collection is complete. If anyone has first editions & either wants to sell then direct or list them on a auction please let me know at xtophersell@aol.com . Thanks to the hosts for an informative website and re igniting the Wonder book collecting bug.

Chris Sell
Brooklyn NY (ex-Rugby)
May 2012


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Anthony Horden's George Street Sydney department store was the greatest in Australia. The gigantic book department was situated through the entrance on George Street and up a flight of stairs, by all accounts. A history of this store may be compiled elsewhere on this site when time permits. I am interested in hearing from any ex-employees. Please email me at chiefchook@gmail.com