13 March 2012
In 1951, BBC Schools's Radio launched the music appreciation program Time and Tune for primary school children ages 7 through 9. The program offered children an opportunity to listen to and sing along with the musical selections that appeared in companion guidebooks. Although the initial illustrations are quite basic, the Time and Tune books soon began to feature some quite good illustrations which colorfully hinted at the theme for each program. At least three booklets were produced for every school year and between the bright covers were the words and tunes of several songs, each accompanied by more illustrations from the cover artist.
Time and Tune is still broadcast today and the booklets are still produced, although my feeling is that the illustrations appearing from the 50's until the early 70's are the most appealing. While the use of color is still restrained, the illustrations from the 80's begin to seem frenetic. After that, it's all lots of colors, bold outlines and a slickness that does not necessarily inspire esthetic delight.
I'm going to take this in parts. Today, it's the 1950's, when these booklets featured some of the most inventive design. I have a few from 1969 and 1970 - I'll share those later this week.
I love the absurd, mildly surreal nature of this image even thought I'm not entirely sure what's happening here. Nor can I quite imagine what might have been going on in the minds of seven year olds who saw this. Perhaps the pigs have been scrimping and saving and have decided to pool their resources to start up a bakery, but something tells me things are not going to end well for our porcine chums.