A guide to the What the Ladybird Heard books

With bright, bold illustrations and fun rhyming stories, the What the Ladybird Heard books by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks are perfect for children of all ages. 

Take a trip to the seaside, the farm and the bustling streets of London with the best-loved What The Ladybird Heard books, starring a crime-fighting little ladybird as she embarks on a series of daring adventures. The What The Ladybird Heard books are written by Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and The Tales from Acorn Wood series, and illustrated by Lydia Monks. 

First published in 2009, 2024 marks fifteen years since the first What the Ladybird Heard book was published, cementing it's status as a beloved children's classic. Read on for our guide to the best picture and activity books from the series for children at every age and stage. 

The original What the Ladybird Heard books

What the Ladybird Heard

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are two crafty robbers with a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But little do they know that the tiniest, quietest creature of all has overhead their plot, and she has a plan of her own . . . This is a fantastically funny story from the picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks.

What the Ladybird Heard 15th Anniversary Edition

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard 15th Anniversary Edition

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

Celebrate fifteen years of farmyard fun with this special anniversary edition of the original story, which comes with a shiny blue foiled cover and bonus material, including a letter from author Julia Donaldson and pictures from the illustrator Lydia Monks' sketchbook.

What the Ladybird Heard Next

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard Next

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

Head back to the farm in What the Ladybird Heard Next. In this fantastically funny follow-up, dastardly duo Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are out of jail and back to their usual antics. Young readers are guaranteed to giggle at the capers of the ladybird and her cast of critters as they convince the robbers to go after the extremely elusive Snuggly Snerd.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

Go on an adventure from the comfort of your own home with Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’s third What the Ladybird Heard book. The little ladybird is heading to the city on holiday just as Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh have hatched a plan to steal the Queen’s crown. With beautifully illustrated cityscape scenes and a whole new cast of animals to meet at the zoo, this story is a firm favourite with young animal lovers.

What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside

Paperback: 3 - 7 years

Summer is on its way, and the clever little ladybird is off for a day out at the beach. Join the ladybird as she meets a cast of sea creatures and stops Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh from getting up to their usual tricks. Animal-mad little ones will love spotting the story’s seaside inhabitants in this glittery seaside adventure.

What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

In this fun illustrated story for the festive season, the little ladybird is ready to enjoy her holidays until she hears Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len plotting to steal the children’s stockings and ruin Christmas morning for everyone! Will she stop their dastardly plot and save Christmas? This story would make a fabulous addition to a book-themed advent calendar.

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More What the Ladybird Heard books for babies & toddlers

What the Ladybird Heard: A Push, Pull and Slide Board Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard: A Push, Pull and Slide Board Book

Board book: 0 - 3 years

This board book edition features the full What The Ladybird Heard story, plus lots of push, pull and slide mechanisms for little hands to explore. A fantastic way for babies, toddlers and young children to develop their fine motor skills, this interactive story is perfect for little ones to enjoy alone or to read together with a grown-up.

Who's on the Farm? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Who's on the Farm? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

Board book: 0 - 3 years

With a glittery cover, large flaps and bright colours, Who's on the Farm? is sure to delight. Babies and toddlers (and parents too!) will love lifting the flaps to meet the inhabitants of the farm throughout the story. Can you find where the ladybird is hiding?

Who’s at the Zoo? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Who’s at the Zoo? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

Board book: 0 - 3 years

Take a trip to the zoo with this interactive picture book based on What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday. With bold, bright animals for children to recognise and lift-the-flap mechanisms for little fingers to explore on every page, this story gives preschool children lots of chances to practice naming their favourite zoo animals as they read the book with a grown-up. 

Who's at the Seaside? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Who's at the Seaside? A What the Ladybird Heard Book

Board book: 0 - 3 years

Pack your bucket and spade for a day at the seaside with the little ladybird and her friends in this interactive story, inspired by What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside. Featuring Julia Donaldson’s rhyming story and Lydia Monks’ bold, brilliant illustrations, this sturdy board book will help children expand their vocabulary and learn the names of different seaside creatures as they lift the flaps and discover who is hiding at the beach. 

All of the classic What the Ladybird Heard books are also available in board book versions for babies and toddlers: 

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard

What the Ladybird Heard

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard Next

What the Ladybird Heard Next

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside

What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside

What the Ladybird Heard sticker & activity books

What the Ladybird Heard Make and Do

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard Make and Do

Paperback: 3 - 7 years

If you’re looking for activities for school holidays and rainy days, this would make a fantastic addition to your child’s bookshelf. With creative craft ideas, pages to colour, puzzles to solve and over 200 stickers, this activity book will provide hours of fun. The clear, full-colour instructions and templates have everything you and your little one need to make the characters from What the Ladybird Heard, including a ladybird dress-up outfit and a farmyard play set. 

The What the Ladybird Heard Play

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The What the Ladybird Heard Play

Paperback: 3 - 8 years

Lights, camera, action! Put on a show to remember with The What the Ladybird Heard Play. Perfect for group performances, the script has been designed with colour coding to help children learn and rehearse their lines. With twelve speaking parts (which can be shared) and lots of animals for non-speaking parts, this play best suits Upper Key Stage One or Lower Key Stage Two classes. The book also includes advice on staging, props and templates to make animal masks.

The What the Ladybird Heard Next Play

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The What the Ladybird Heard Next Play

Paperback: 3 - 8 years

Raise the curtain for an encore with The What the Ladybird Heard Next Play. Starring the little ladybird, her cast of curious critters and dastardly crooks Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, this play has been designed for children to learn and perform. Ideal for an end-of-term performance or class assembly for children in Upper Key Stage One or Lower Key Stage Two, this book includes everything you need to put on a show at home, school or a theatre group. 

The What the Ladybird Heard Sticker Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The What the Ladybird Heard Sticker Book

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

Children will have hours of creative fun with the What the Ladybird Heard Sticker Book. This full-colour activity book is packed with puzzles and scenes to recreate, with over 400 stickers inspired by the book’s cast of creatures.

What the Ladybird Heard Next Sticker Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard Next Sticker Book

Paperback: 3 - 6 years

Packed with fun activities that will keep kids entertained on a rainy day, this sticker and activity book is based on the bestselling story by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. Suitable for children or toddlers to enjoy with an adult or for older children to read on their own, it will make a great addition to the shelf of any fan of What the Ladybird Heard Next.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday Sticker Book

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday Sticker Book

Paperback: 3 - 7 years

Help the ladybird stop Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh from stealing the Queen’s crown in this sticker and activity book. With action-packed city scenes to recreate with over 400 stickers, children will love spotting London landmarks, finding the animals in the zoo and helping the ladybird to foil Len and Hugh’s criminal plans.

The What the Ladybird Heard Cookbook

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The What the Ladybird Heard Cookbook

Hardback: 5 - 11 years

This recipe book has twenty-four child-friendly recipes for healthy snacks, sweet treats and family favourites, all inspired by the stories and characters in the What the Ladybird Heard books. Roll up your sleeves and get into the kitchen with your little ones to whip up a batch of ladybird pizzas, fine prize cowpat cookies or even a showstopping ladybird cake. With simple step-by-step instructions, this cookbook is an excellent introduction to baking and cooking for children.

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The Tooth Fairy and the Crocodile

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Tooth Fairy and the Crocodile

Hardback: 3 -7 years

From the author and illustrator partnership that brought us the What the Ladybird Heard books comes a brand new toothy tale. Ruth Mary the tooth fairy is used to collecting teeth from little girls and boys, so when she heads to the jungle to meet a hungry little crocodile, she’s in for a big surprise! Will Ruth Mary make it back from the jungle in one piece? A fun rhyming adventure to read with little ones experiencing the excitement of having wobbly teeth, The Tooth Fairy and the Crocodile is sure to become a firm favourite.