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.