Picture Story Library

The Picture Story Library was a series of books that had all the drama, fun, mystery and adventure of a weekly comic strip crammed into one small 62 page digest.  They were a monthly treat to go along with your weekly issues. The stories were complete so no waiting around for the next issue to find out what would happen to the characters.  Sometimes the stories did feature familiar characters in new stories, regular characters like “The Four Marys”, “Wee Slavey” or “The Comp” popped up a lot in these books. The rest of the books were just new stories with new characters, though they did have familiar themes. Sometimes an issue had several stories tied under one theme for example ”Chill Out” that told 4 spooky stories.

The Bunty books lasted 455 books, the Mandy books finished at the same time but because they started later than the Bunty there were only 277 books.  Judy finished with 375 books and Debbie with 197 books. Particularly towards the end of the run it was common to reprint earlier stories, despite this throughout their long run there was some entertaining original stories.

Click on the links below for a list of the Picture Library Books published.






29 thoughts on “Picture Story Library

  1. This is a fabulous site. I have browsed the titles of the Picture Story Library and had a good old reminisce about my childhood. I remember holidays on the south coast Devon/Dorset/Cornwall and the local shop would have these. I would run to spend my holiday spending money on these and would buy several at a time. Any new titles were eagerly awaited, through the adverts on the inside back cover. I especially loved anything with “The Mystery of…” or “The Secret of…” and was thrilled to find anything spooky, ghostly or unusual. The ones I remember fondly are: My Model Sister, Dorcas and The Dark Lady, Scream and Chill Out (collections of spooky tales!!
    I longed to be one of those pony riding, ballet dancing, little girls – I had no concept of the class divide – how innocent!
    Thanks for some amazing memories. I have got my collection out of the attic for a good rummage!

    1. “I longed to be one of those pony riding, ballet dancing, little girls – I had no concept of the class divide – how innocent!”

      Some of my pals had sisters so when we had finished all the boys comics we would read the girls Bunty/Judy ones. I also remember thinking woulddn’t it be good to go to boarding school, there always seemed to be a boarding school or pony club in them. Great days letting out imaginations run wild reading these. Pity that times have moved on and kids no longer seem to have these. The summer specials were a highlight and treat for me, when we went on the train. Happy days and good memories of a childhood in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

    2. I loved Mandy and Bunty so much that I decided to write them some scripts. ‘Model Sister’ and ‘Scream’ (five short spooky stories) were my creation. I didn’t do the artwork but explained to the artist what to draw. I was in my early 20’s when I wrote them. I also wrote for the weekly comic. So pleased Karen mentioned two of my library stories. Shame they finished. I loved writing the scripts.
      Anne Bulcraig.

  2. It is far from a complete overview, but I have come across a number of picture libraries that I intend to index in the following weeks:

    Debbie Picture Story Library (D.C. Thomson & Co., Ltd.)
    Hospital Nurse Picture Library (C.A. Pearson)
    June And Schoolfriend Picture Library (I.P.C. Magazines)
    Love Story Picture Library (I.P.C. Magazines)
    Princess Picture Library (I.P.C. Magazines)

    There is already a near-complete listing for Emergency – Ward 10 (I need to fill in the issue specific details though), and there are plans to start adding in more images when I get the time. The information to hand regarding C.A. Pearson and Famepress titles is very limited, but I figure if I keep bugging people then someone is likely to know of their titles.

  3. I am a guy and my favourite comics growing up in 1970’s Zambia was Battle Picture Library, Combat Picture Library, etc. My Dad always took me to town, Lusaka, when he went to the bank on weekends and we would always pass through the only local bookshop, Kingstons, where I would be spoilt with magazines and books on cars, aeroplanes and rockets and of things in between including comics. My four sisters got their annuals, etc. There is a particular comic my sister had that haunts me to this day of a romantic story set in ancient Egypt. I remember one particular sketch of the lead man being chased and running across what I must think is the river Nile in the reeds with crocs snapping at him. Would anyone have an idea on this particular comic so I could buy it for my collection…? Please get back to me on email: ngoma.patrick@gmail.com

  4. I would read Mandy comics and would love them.I am looking for the story of twins sisters,one who lived in an attic and the other down in the house.

    1. If it’s Bonnie and Belinda you’re after, I do have that serial, acquired during the course of another Mandy serial I was after.

  5. Does anyone recall a story from the late 60s possibly in Mandy about a girl from 200 or so years ago who ends up in the 20 th century? She used cobwebs to help with staunching the blood from a cut! What was it called?

  6. The serial you are looking for, Nicky, is The Long Sleep. It appeared in Mandy 76 (June 29 1968) – 85 (August 31 1968). It is an updated version of Sleeping Beauty.

    In the summer of 1668, fourteen-year-old Trudy Wain sets out from her country home to take a legal document to a lawyer in Chesterton. She gets lost and goes into a cottage that turns out to be unoccupied. She pricks her finger on a spinning wheel there and goes to sleep for 300 years, waking up in a very different Chesterton in 1968. Her clothes and the way she expresses herself surprise adults and children alike, and she is upset to see the gravestone where her parents are buried. She is taken in by Mr and Mrs George Carr, and proves helpful to George in auctions by identifying genuine coins and other valuable artefacts from the 1600s.

    It turns out that the document Trudy was taking to the lawyer proved her father’s ownership of a certain piece of land, which coincidentally just happens to be the property that the Carrs are now renting from nasty landlord Mr Hamble, who is hell bent on evicting them. Lawyers accept the legality of the old document so nominally Trudy becomes their landlady but she just wants them to have the property. They ask Trudy to become a member of their family. All’s well that ends well.

  7. I have been racking my brains for years to try and remember what mag/comic I used to have as a child in the 80s….it was actual photographs that told the stories and the one I remember was about the ‘girl in the picture’ a real girl used to go stay at her aunts or something and there was a picture if a girl dressed in red in a picture on the wall….the girl staying at her aunts used to enter the picture….
    Another story was one about a girl in a wheelchair who was actually a mermaid…and the other girl in the story was trying to help her get back into the sea….she pushed her off the pier in her wheelchair to do it after outrunning whoever it was that was after the mermaid…..any ideas????????

    1. I’m more familiar with magazines that had picture stories. Certainly the plots sound like some stories that were picture stories, but that’s not uncommon! Some comics like Debbie and Suzy both had a lot of photo stories as well as picture stories.

      Blue Jeans had small photo novel digests, though they usually centered around romance. I believe My Guy and Oh Boy were a magazine that had all photo stories, not sure if the stories you mention show up.

    2. Maybe you read Girl series 2, which was a photo story comic. I do recall a story about a mermaid from that title.

  8. Ahhh Debbie rings a bell….I gonna go on a google hunt!!! It’s just one of those distant memories that have always bugged me as I cannot remember. Thanks for replying

  9. I have been clearing out my loft and I have a box of almost 200 of these. I’ve contacted 30th century comics but they don’t need any more. I’m reluctant to bin them or give them to a charity shop. I’ve not used Ebay before and don’t have the time to sell them on there, although I noticed that a collection of 8 issues were sold recently for £24.
    EDIT: Lucy no longer has these picture story books to sell.

    1. If anyone is interested I’m happy to act as go between. If you are not interested in ebay I would also say gumtree is an option that might be easier.

    2. Would you be interested in donating them to somewhere where children could read them, or are you more interested in getting some money for them if possible? I am in Oxford and there is at least one comics club that would potentially be interested. I could potentially pay for postage if you were intereted in donating them for that purpose. But if you are more interested in selling them then of course I understand.

      1. Rakhshanda I assume that you were referring to Lucy’s offer. I will email her and see if she has any available.

        EDIT: I’ve been in contact with Lucy and she no longer has the picture story libraries, I’ve ammended her comment to reflect this.

  10. Hi can anyone help I’m after the Phantom swimmer, I think that’s what it’s cslled and one about a girl who discovers and old sweet shop ???

    1. The sweet shop one might be Uncle Herbert’s Sherbet, Judy PSL #273. Uncle Herbert invents a sherbet that has strange, hilarious effects on people, much to the chagrin of his bossy wife. Another possibility is the Bunty photo story, Sandie’s Sweets.

    2. Another possibility is “Sweet Sue”, which started in Debbie #20. Sue Dawson joins her Aunt Maud’s sweet shop business. The greedy Mr Hale wants to buy them out and will resort to any means to do so, but they get help from Gran’s ghost.

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