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The Ladybird Books Story: The Bugs that Got Britain Reading

Episode 5 of 7

Timeshift documentary about Ladybird books, which once informed people on such diverse subjects as how magnets work and what to look for in winter, but also helped to teach many to read.

To millions of people, Ladybird books were as much a part of childhood as battery-powered torches and warm school milk. These now iconic pocket-sized books once informed us on such diverse subjects as how magnets work, what to look for in winter and how to make decorations out of old eggshells. But they also helped to teach many of us to read via a unique literacy scheme known as 'key words'. Ladybird books were also a visual treat - some of the best-known contemporary illustrators were recruited to provide images which today provide a perfect snapshot of the lost world of Ladybirdland: a place that is forever the gloriously ordinary, orderly 1950s.

59 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:15

    Seth Lakeman

    Ghost of You

  • 00:17

    Hans Zimmer

    Driving Miss Daisy (End Titles)

  • 00:48

    Josh Ritter


Read the TV Blog

Read the TV Blog
"As a collector and a teacher, there’s nothing more likely to make me wax lyrical than inviting me to expound on my specialism"


Role Contributor
Narrator Miles Jupp
Director Merryn Threadgould
Producer Merryn Threadgould
Series Producer William Naylor