The Wonder Books were a series of books published by Ward Lock & Co. aimed at older children and were issued on a regular basis between 1905 and 1981.
While covering all manner of subjects likely to be of interest to young people of the era, they included a large transport component made up of Railways, Aircraft, Ships, Motors, the Army and Navy as well as industrial themes such as 'Engineering Wonders,' Science, Machinery and Inventions.
The First series comprised thirty two titles and ran from 1905 until around 1959 although there were some later reprints stretching into the 1960s. Apart from the 'Wonder Book Annuals' (a few of which have been proven to have included DJs), this series all included Dust Jackets with the exception of the Deluxe Ornate editions.
The Second series 'The New Wonder Books' comprised seven titles and these were published between 1960 and 1967 but again a couple of reprints took these into the early Seventies. These were also issued with Dust Jackets matching the hardback covers.
The final wonderbook series consisting of eight Portrait Laminated Pictorial Hardbacks was aimed at slightly younger children and was published in 1980 and 1981. By this time jackets had fallen from favour.
This series of books gives the reader a fascinating insight into the fashions and ethics of the United Kingdom and it's Empire (later the Commonwealth) during the first half of the twentieth century and many titles cover what older children did in their spare time before mass social media took hold.
I highly recommend this series to collecters although finding examples with well preserved Dust Jackets can be challenging!
Please scroll down for the collection of front cover (front board) images.
Not every edition ever published is included here but to the extent of my research to date, I believe every picture cover variation is shown.
Wonder Book Numbers 19 to 31 and information on the un-numbered volumes and the later series can be found in the 'Ward Lock Wonder Books 2' section.
The Wonder Book A Picture Annual First Edition 1905 Cover Design A
The Wonder Book of Animals Seventeenth Edition published 1941
The Wonder Book of Railways First Edition (Deluxe version) published 1911
The Wonder Book of Ships First Edition published 1914
The Wonder Book of Soldiers Third Edition Deluxe version published 1915
The Wonder Book of Empire First Edition published 1916
The Wonder Book of Children and the people they live with Fourth Edition published 1923
The Wonder Book of the Navy First Edition published 1917
The Wonder Book of Aircraft First Edition published 1919
The Wonder Book of Why & What? Tenth Edition published 1938
The Wonder Book of Wonders Second Edition published 1925
The Wonder Book of Nature First Edition published 1924
The Wonder Book of the Wild Fourth Edition published 1934
The Wonder Book of Then & Now First Edition published 1927
The Wonder Book or Motors Second Edition published 1930
The Wonder Book of Engineering Wonders Second Edition Revised published 1930
The Wonder Book of Pets First Edition - Cover Version One published 1929
The Wonder Book of Inventions First Edition published 1931
The Wonder Book of Science First Edition published 1931