Whitcombe's Story Books were a series of children's readers published between 1908 and 1962 and used in Australian and New Zealand schools . They were, however, much more than school books and were often given to children as birthday or Christmas presents (thus the title Whitcombe's Story Books replaced the earlier Southern Cross Continuous Reader ). Today they are collector's items. Ian F. McLaren in his Whitcombe's Story Books: A Trans-Tasman Survey comments that they often did not conform to the rigid requirements of the education authorities and were intended 'as an aid to reading, for leisure time occupation, and to introduce young readers...to the works of major 19th century classical authors, as well as to popular writers of children's fiction' . He adds that WSBs 'represent a large children's library [and are] an important contribution to Australasian children's literature'. Apart from famous overseas authors such as Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain, a number of Australian and New Zealand authors are represented, including Mary Grant Bruce (Rossiter's Farm and A Cousin from Town) and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (qq.v.) There are a number of other Whitcombe's series such as Whitcombe's Austral Primers and Whitcombe's Human Geography Readers, but these are just school text books.