Once famous for its earnest, wholesome books that introduced British children to topics such as space travel, nuclear power and the gunpowder plot, the publisher Ladybird is launching a series of guides to help cynical adults make sense of modern life, from hipsters to hangovers.
Embracing the trend for spoof Ladybird editions that juxtapose the twee and genteel imagery with captions rewritten for comic effect, the companysaid its â€œkidultâ€ range is intended to â€œenable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to copeâ€.
The eight new books â€“ penned by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, the writers of the BBC comedy show Miranda â€“ will be published next month as part of Ladybird Booksâ€™ centenary celebrations.
Illustrations of bearded, pipe-smoking men and women with immaculate hair appear alongside the large, simple script, which Hazeley has described as â€œlight and silly and funnyâ€.
One passage in the Ladybird Book of the Hipster explains:
This is a hipster.
He is childless, unaccountably wealthy, and always well turned out.
He likes art, porridge, scarves, anything reclaimed from French factories, like this dog rack.
The Ladybird Book of the Mid-Life Crisis, another of the titles, begins with:
When weâ€™re young we wonder if weâ€™ll be a surgeon or an astronaut. We can be anything we want to be. Then one day we canâ€™t.
Morris said: â€œThat bit makes me cry. Itâ€™s too close to the bone.â€
He told the Independent he wanted to help adults make sense of the world, just as the classic books had helped children through the decades understand how locomotives and computers work.
Hazeley and Morris said they decided to use original illustrations of previous Ladybird books and to â€œwrite as if we were time travellers from the 1960s looking at stuff such as online dating and nightclubsâ€.
Going through Penguinâ€™s vast archive of Ladybird artwork they realised that pictures depicting first dates and binge drinking were hard to come by: in the classic books, â€œmum is at home with the kids and dad is at work fixing a Lancaster bomberâ€, said Morris.
â€œItâ€™s hard to find images that have men and women in the same picture. Luckily, thatâ€™s become part of the joke.â€
Other titles in the new series include The Ladybird Book of Dating, and Mindfulness.
Although the trend for spoof Ladybird books has been appropriated by the publisher, a search online reveals parody Ladybird artwork for titles such as Hot Dads, MÃ©nage Ã trois, and The Futility of Existence.
Last year, Miriam Elia, an artist and comedian, was ordered by publisher Penguin to stop selling her satirical work in which Ladybird characters Peter and Jane were mashed with Tracey Emin-style conceptual art. She was told her art book breached Ladybird copyright. After publishing a brief run of 1,000 privately printed books â€“ selling them for Â£20 each â€“ Elia was told that if she continued to sell copies, the courts would be rule that the books be seized.