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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 06:22 GMT
Relaunch for Topsy and Tim
Jean Adamson with her creations Topsy and Tim. Copyright: Ladybird
Jean Adamson with her creations Topsy and Tim

The adventures of twins Topsy and Tim have captivated children for generations.

Now the books, written by Cambridgeshire author Jean Adamson, and her late husband Gareth, are being relaunched in new editions.

Jean, 74, who has lived in Stretham, near Ely, since 1968, saw the first Topsy and Tim story published in 1960.

At the time most of the books aimed at children included magical characters such as Noddy, Andy Pandy or Thomas the Tank Engine.

Tim and Topsy riding a tractor. Copyright: Ladybird
Topsy and Tim ride a tractor at the farm

But Jean felt that children created there own magic.

"We don't need magic because all the world is magic to children.

"I said: 'Let's do something for the modern world with real-life children'."

She said the decision to make them twins was so the boy and the girl could have "an equal place".

"I would do the basic subject research and layout and I would sketch out the bare bones of the plot," she said.

Topsy and Tim have a birthday party. Copyright: Ladybird
The twins celebrate their birthday

"Gareth would then take over and produce a beautifully crafted storyline. I would then do the illustrations.

"We made a very good team."

As the series developed Gareth and Jean had three children who influenced the books.

When the family went to a safari park Jean would see how the children reacted to the animals and her observations would be mirrored in the book.

"When we started we didn't have any children and then we had our own three children in quick succession and the children almost wrote the books for us," she said.

Jean now has four grandchildren who also love the books.

"I have watched them, before they were speaking, looking at a Topsy and Tim book and they were sat glued to the books," she said.

Topsy and Tim with a rabbit. Copyright: Ladybird
The twins help feed their pet rabbits

Jean thinks children today have a much greater variety of books to choose from.

"I think they have got an amazing choice," she said.

"In the 1950s the books were not in full colour.

"When Topsy and Tim came out it was so colourful. We really started this."

Since 1960 more than 130 Topsy and Tim titles have been published with sales of more than 21 million copies.

The series has never been out of print in one form or another.

"We did not really know at first how many people were reading them, but when we found out it was so gratifying," said Jean.


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See also:

21 Jan 03 | Entertainment
15 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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