Ladybird Books release satirical children’s books for grown-ups

TO celebrate their centenary, Ladybird Books have released some hilarious new reads - with a tongue-in-cheek twist on childhood classics. Kate Whiting heads to the book corner
The Ladybird Book Of The Mid-Life Crisis, published in hardback by Ladybird Books Ltd. Picture: PAThe Ladybird Book Of The Mid-Life Crisis, published in hardback by Ladybird Books Ltd. Picture: PA
The Ladybird Book Of The Mid-Life Crisis, published in hardback by Ladybird Books Ltd. Picture: PA

You can’t beat a good read or a bedtime story, whatever your age, and no-one knows that better than Ladybird Books. Hence why they’ve just put together a brand new, witty series, just for grown-ups.

To celebrate the iconic publisher’s centenary, they’ve teamed up with comedy writers Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, to issue a brand new tongue-firmly-in-cheek series that uses original Ladybird artwork. With eight titles, including How It Works: The Husband and The Ladybird Book Of The Shed, the series encapsulates a perfect combination of nostalgia and satire.

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They’ve already won praise from cult actor-director Richard Ayoade and broadcaster Charlie Brooker - and have had us laughing out loud, too.

The original Ladybird Books have informed generations of children about everything from colours to computers - and interest has spiked again, now those who grew up reading them are buying them for their children and grandchildren.

The originals are highly sought-after collector’s items - once sold for two shillings and sixpence, pristine first editions now sell for as much as £300.

For £6.99 you can buy a hardback piece of Ladybird history as the new adult titles hit the shelves - and here’s a little look inside.


• He’s simple to maintain: “He runs on sausages and beer.”

• He’s handy: “The husband likes to do simple repairs, like changing the washer on a tap. Afterwards he likes to talk at great length about what a struggle it was, and will want to be treated as if he has invented a machine that turns farts into gold.”

• He has a big memory: “He can remember football scores, all his old car number plates and most of the film Withnail & I. But he cannot remember what his wife asked him to bring back from the shops. This is because his brain is full up, not because he was not listening.”

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• He makes odd noises: “As the husband grows older, he starts to make lots of funny little noises. He sighs as he gets out of a chair... He also pom-pom-poms as he goes from room to room. This is to remind himself that he’s still there.”


• Time speeds by: “Mid-lifers like to count how fast time is passing because it helps them to panic. “It’s incredible,” says Vivian. “The gap between now and the first Beastie Boys album is roughly the same as the gap between that album and Elvis’s first LP.” “Help me, please,” sobs Vivian. “Somebody make it stop.”

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• Bodies fail: “Joe’s body used to agree with him. It used to agree that his shirt fitted, that he could manage another pint, that he would be awake when the train reached his station, and that he had finished weeing. Now Joe’s body disagrees with him on all these things.”

• Growing up brings responsibilities: “For example, having a family to support can be very expensive. Fortunately, by mid-life, most people find they are earning a little more money than they did when they were younger. Which can also be spent on bigger versions of all the toys they wanted when they were six.” [i.e. sports cars]


• She likes to be right: “Sara has been waiting for her husband Tom to arrive. He is half an hour late. Sara is delighted. She knew this would happen.”

• She likes planning ahead: “She measures out her life in meals. Even at breakfast, she is only three mealtimes from her first glass of wine.”

• Chocolate makes her happy: “When a wife feels sad, she eats chocolate... But eating chocolate makes her worry about her weight and her skin, which makes her feel sad. Still, there’s always chocolate.”

• She likes surprises: “Her favourite sort is a surprise birthday party. It is the husband’s job to organise this surprise for her, and to keep her informed of every detail about it.”


The Ladybird Book Of Mindfulness

The Ladybird Book Of Dating

The Ladybird Book Of The Shed

The Ladybird Book Of The Hipster

The Ladybird Book Of The Hangover

The Ladybird Book Of The Mid-life Crisis

How It Works: The Wife

How It Works: The Husband

• All 8 titles are published in hardback by Ladybird Books Ltd, priced £6.99. Available now