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on 23 September 2007
As a child of the 60s, the second comic my parents regularly bought me was 'Treasure'. (The first was 'Bimbo', believe it or not.) As far as I can recall, 'Treasure' was about 90% cartoons and captioned picture stories, and 10% big, offputting chunks of text.

On the other hand, my next-door neighbour Peter Whitfield subscribed to 'Look and Learn', which seemed to be pretty much the opposite: 90% text, and a token 10% cartoons. Whenever I was round at his place, I only ever bothered to read the cartoons. He eventually won a place at Cambridge, by the way, and I might reluctantly admit that 'Look and Learn' might have sown the seeds of his eventual academic success.

But now, 40 years on, I'm going to get my own back. Forget the kids -- this book's for me! Brilliant illustrations, bite-size chunks of information, and the truth as it was viewed in the 1960s. Now where's that university entrance form?
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2007
Look and Learn was one of the most contradictory children's weeklys ever to appear. Launched in 1962 as the brain child of then editor Leonard Matthews, a man whose post war career had been steeped in creating some of the most successful children's comics in UK publishing, it's aim was simply to inform and educate it's readership whilst not losing the essential ingredient of entertaining it's potentially fickle audience.

Not an easy task; the concept of creating a magazine that parents would happily endorse and children would equally happily read had few successful precedents. Matthews solution was to employ the best writers and artists, including some of the greatest comic strip artists of the day to create stories, strips and articles that would present the worlds of science, history, wildlife, literature and travel in as vivid and entertaining a way as possible.

Hence was born Look and Learn and this fabulous book with very little pre-amble represents some of the most visually arresting pages from Look and Learn's twenty year history. Suprisingly the pages still retain the freshness that the images held when they were first published, this is in part due to the editor's wise decision to concentrate much of the collection on Look and Learn's unerring ability to present history as if it has just happened. This was always one of the great strengths of the magazine and the fact that illustrators of the stature of Ron Embleton, Peter Jackson, Frank Bellamy Septimus Scott, Fortunino Matania, James McConnell and John Millar Watt were able to have free reign to illustrate texts vividly recreating some of the most seminal moments from times past provided it's youthful audience with the ability to engage with events that had hitherto been largely the provenance of the comparatively dry and dusty world of school text books.

The fact that the information presented could be argued to have an unashamedly Anglocentric slant is in no way an impediment to the coverage presented in these pages. Never has the Great Fire of London, the Battle of Agincourt or the Romans landing in Britain been presented with so much conviction, there have been a slew of publications in the wake of Look and Learn attempting to carry the baton but the literacy and artistry that this volume so guilelessly represents has yet to be equaled, let alone bettered.

There were also opportunities for whimsy and a delight in classics of children's literature and the inclusion of such icons of childhood lore as the Pied Piper, Robin Hood or Dick Turpin sit quite comfortably with the science-fiction fantasy of Don Lawrence's Trigan Empire, which again manages to retain a freshness which belies it's age.

The energies of the team that has put together this superb volume have to be admired, not only have they sifted through some twenty years worth of of magazines but in many cases they have managed to source the original artwork, so that many of the illustrations are now printed at their optimum best.

All in all this book is a must have, a great book to dip into, a great resource for creatives seeking visual references, the most palatable aid to homwork conceivable and a beautiful book to have on your shelves.
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on 16 September 2007
Yes this was the bees knees for all us kids in the 60s and 70s. Great history, great facts all written to enthrall us. This was my introduction to history, dinosaurs etc.

I have now bought this for my 10 year old and I know it will enthrall him as much as it did me. Great to see some of the old publications coming back. Much better than the mind numbing rubbish on the TV or the inane computer games.
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on 4 October 2007
I cannot express enough excitement about this book.I thought at first this would be a soso look back book as other weekly comic books have been.This is so much better than all the other nostalgia only books.
Look and learn was always more varied than most comics.Where else would you find actor,Edmund Kean alongside castles and historical figures like Dick Turpin and literary figures like Robin Hood.An entire story of the Trigan Empire comic strip is spread across this lovely large book.
If only the Victor or Tiger comic books could be so thorough.Outstanding.Theres no other word for this marvelous book.Alan J.Butcher.
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on 28 November 2010
As a child of the 70s, Look & Learn was one of my regular weekly comics, replacing the earlier World of Wonder and eventually joining Speed & Power. I particularly liked the superb cover art and the Trigan Empire sci-fi strip by Don Lawrence et al. This large (and I do mean LARGE) format, HB compilation collects many illustrated articles and features a wide range of artists, particularly Ron Embleton and Angus McBride. There is also a complete Trigan story by Don. On the down side, it seems to focus on the 60s at the expense of the 70s, hence I didn't recognise much of the content, despite being a regular reader. Superior, IMO, artists such as Frank Bellamy and Wilf Hardy are under-represented, occupying the last few pages only and there are no captions telling us which artists did which pictures - you have to look at the signatures and do some research. Neither does there appear to be a chronological development through the book nor any captions to tell us which editions the articles came from. The overall result, therefore, is a mish-mash of styles and periods, apparently thrown together, which you have to enjoy selectively and which would have been so much better presented if the points I raise had been addressed. End of term report: "Could do better".
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on 12 May 2011
I also grew up with these. Bought the Trigan Empire collecton from Ebay and both my sons enjoyed it enough that I thought i would take a gamble with this. It is a mish mash of eras but it is interesting enough for my 18 year old to pick up for casual reading. Me too actually.

Then again, my kids also enjoy follyfoot, Anne of Green Gables, I love Lucy, Get Smart, Thunderbirds etc, so it depends on whether your own kids are broad minded or not. BTW mine also love youtube and MTV so we are not Luddites :-)

Nice to pick up and read when you have 5 minutes to kill
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on 21 October 2012
Brilliant value for money for this used book. The bargains you get on the Amazon used book section is quite startling.

If you remember Look & Learn from the 60s/70s, you will definitely like this book. High quality illustrations throughout.
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on 1 May 2009
This is the best christmas present I've ever had and I'm 46 years young! The superb illustrations make this book a winner. My eyes popped out of my head on Christmas Day.
The topics cover mainly English & Scottish history with a bit of Arts & Culture thrown in for good measure.
Can't wait for volume 2 Mr Pickles?
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on 7 August 2010
I can't add too much to the other excellent reviews on this site, however if you're buying this off amazon, I'd recommend you pick a book that's labelled 'Very Good', that means spending around a tenner. I got a cheaper version, it's ex-library and a bit knarled and cardboard around the base of the spine. So it doesn't look cutely retro, but rather like it's been hanging around since the 1960s, the sort of book I turn up in the junk room of my parents' home during a clear out. There's a thin line between cool retro and that icy distaste one feels for items actually from that era... aka junk.

Otherwise, turn the page and there's a marvellous illustration of Robin Hood poised with bow and arrow, like straight out of Errol Flynn. It makes the heart sing. Oddly, there's also stuff that makes the heart droop, the sort of 'educational' stuff that would have bored me at the time.

There's a glib review on this site about how it's not for the digital age, which has plenty of negative votes. But you see, turn to 'Repel the Danes' the chapter on the Vikings. It begins: 'Half the island fortress was lost. The eastern bastions were gone. East Anglia had been surrendered without a fight. Northumbria had been conquered by savagery and trickery. Half of Mercia had been betrayed...' Eh? It's okay, but would lose many kids who don't know where Northumbria is, or what Mercia was. (I'm not even too sure myself). Later they talk of a boundary 'from London, followed the River Lea to near Bedford... to the Roman built Watling Street.' Again, no simple map to illustrate it and make it clearer, cf The Penguin Atlas Guide to the Vikings, which is all glossy and colourful. So when you read it there may be that nagging sense of inadequacy that may have dogged you as a child!

Otherwise there's a huge amount of info in this book, they really do pack it in.
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on 2 June 2015
The thing I loved about Look and Learn magerzine was the brilliant art work and illustrations. My favourite was Trigonian Empire .A cross between the Romans and the British Empire cartoon ( graphic art) series. It was sci-fi set in another galaxy on the planet called Election with two suns, one a dwarf star. A series that should have had it own spin off comic but as I found out later failed as the artist died. I meet his very talented artist
daughter. I have been trying to get the books since as they are really great fro young children who want to learn and read.
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