the publishers' offerings for the year
characteristic illustration - the Bulging Bag




Children's Annuals

In the Autumn of most years, publishers would send out a flier to newsagents and some booksellers advertising their range of children's annuals for the Christmas market. There were books for boys, girls, tots, and miscellaneous - divided into Adventure, Things To Do, and a range of slightly garish comic character annuals. Even further down market in the period between the two World Wars were the true comic annuals - Pip, Squeak and Wilfred, Comic Cuts etc.

This range of adventure and general knowledge books has a fixed format -

heavy card cover with full cover illustration

perhaps a single colour frontispiece

a sudden transfer to poor quality yellowed paper

acres of big letter text with shouting headlines

to the back cover which was often a repeat of the front

considerable visual invention high standards of highly sytlied drawing.

They lie unloved in secondhand book shops because

1. they rarely have an interesting spine design,

2. book dealers price them too high thinking they can stress the nostagia factor .

The quality of the Annual in colour and design evaporated in the mid fifties when glacine/cellophane surfaces were introduced, and the design standards of the Holiday Camp brochure supervened. The coloured covers are probably the best feature anyway.