Tiger Aspect Kids and Family, part of Banijay Kids and Family, has secured a development deal for bestselling picture book series What the Ladybird Heard.

The books are created by award-winning partnership Julia Donaldson (author) and Lydia Monks (illustrator).

The deal covers the option to create a pre-school animated series and is the first animated series development for Donaldson and Monks whose books have sold over 10 million copies.

What the Ladybird Heard is published in the UK by Macmillan Children’s Books and is the first of four titles.

The series has sold over 4 million copies and has been translated into 24 languages worldwide. The latest book,  What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside was released in paperback in 2021 and spent 3 weeks at the top of the Pre-school and Picture Book Nielsen bestseller charts.

First published in 2009, the stories feature a clever ladybird who said never a word, but the ladybird saw, and the ladybird heard. With her animal friends on the farm, the Ladybird always manages to out-fox the crafty duo, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len and their cunning plans.

The What the Ladybird Heard series is the third bestselling picture book brand in the UK this year (Nielsen, 2021), after Peppa Pig and Donaldson’s The Gruffalo.

What the Ladybird Heard was Live on stage this summer at the Palace Theatre, London and is now on a nationwide tour.

The development of the series will be overseen by Tom Beattie, MD of Tiger Aspect Kids and Family, who will also executive produce.

Tiger Aspect Kids and Family credits include Danny & Mick (CBBC), Aliens Love Underpants (Sky Kids) and  Tinga Tinga Tales (CBeebies/Disney Jnr).

Julia Donaldson was Children’s Laureate 2011-2013. Her books with illustrator Axel Scheffler, including The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, have been successfully adapted for TV.

Tom Beattie, MD of Tiger Aspect Kids and Family, said: “Having read these books to my kids, with the brilliant rhyming verse and following the bumpy trail across every page looking for the ladybird, time and time again, I’m honoured to be working with Julia and Lydia to bring this brilliant story to screen.”

Julia Donaldson added:“I am thrilled that my What The Ladybird Heard series of books is to be adapted for screen by Tiger Aspect Kids & Family. I’m sure that Lydia Monks’s characterful pictures of the clever little ladybird, the farmyard animals and the comical thieves will translate brilliantly into animation, and I can’t wait to see them all on my television.”

Rights were acquired for Julia Donaldson from Emily Hayward-Whitlock of the Artists Partnership in association with the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and for Lydia Monks from and for Lydia Monks by Hilary Delamere and Tanya Tillett at The Agency.

All distribution will be handled by Zodiak Kids & Family Distribution.


Jon Creamer

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