You’ve seen the TV programme, now read the book!

If your child loves a certain TV or film character, it will probably mean that books featuring these characters are the first ones they reach for. With this in mind, we sat down with Rebecca, Editor for Media and Entertainment at Ladybird to have a chat about the appeal and impact of well loved TV characters featuring in children's publishing.

Many children love books based on their favourite  characters – Ladybird Peppa Pig books are bestsellers. Why do you think this  is?
I think Peppa’s success is partly down to the fact that there’s as much to enjoy about the series for grown-ups as there is for children. Grown-ups hold the purse strings, so appealing to them is key. There’s also a universal truth to the dynamics of the Pig family and their experiences that huge numbers of people, young and old, identify with. Oh, and they’re really, really funny and colourful  too!

    Peppa sleepover     Peppa goes to hospital

How do you think books featuring popular tv/film  characters can encourage children to read?
I think books like these can provide a springboard. Young children respond well to familiarity and repetition, so starting out with books based on familiar characters helps to build their confidence, encouraging them to then broaden their horizons. They can be a great way in for reluctant readers too.

Do you  think character books can replace classic books (eg fairy tales) or should  they sit together on a bookshelf to give children a rounded experience of  reading?
I think both have their place and that they should sit together, although I do think it’s very subjective; building a rounded experience of reading is as much about  discovering personal ‘classics’ as the more traditional ones. Children’s  reading should be about enjoyment not enforcing a reading list on them, which can really take the magic out of it.

Do you think a  child has to be a fan of the TV character in order to enjoy the books? 
That’s an interesting question. No, I’m sure it doesn’t always necessarily follow, although I do think that it probably helps for the child to be familiar with the TV programme (or indeed film/computer game). Perhaps that’s truer of the  younger readers than the older ones though, who are a bit more confident about deviating from what they know.

             Hello kitty           Little charley bear

How do (publishing)  editors go about choosing which TV characters would crossover to books? 
In character publishing, this decision probably lies less with the editor than the publisher/director. However, essentially the criteria applied are similar to those in traditional fiction publishing: the central characters need to be appealing and strong, likewise the stories, and there needs to be a unique selling point (USP). The difference is that a character book’s success is dependent on its associated brand’s popularity. Sometimes this is a safer litmus test than you often have in fiction, unless you’re talking big-hitting, established authors. However, in character books you have to move fast and strike while the zeitgeist is hot. There aren’t many evergreens – Peppa Pig, the Mr Men, Thomas the Tank Engine and Hello Kitty being the notable exceptions that spring to mind.

Are there any new children's TV characters  that Ladybird is planning on publishing soon?

Our first titles for Raa Raa the Noisy Lion publish this month and are already causing quite a stir.  Raa Raa is the exciting new pre-school series from the creators of Fifi, Roary the Racing Car and Bob the Builder and we are launching with some really cute board storybooks, a Little Library and a sticker activity book.

Raa Raa                 Raa Raa quiet time



Ladybird have recently published two new Peppa Pig books and we've got three copies of ' Peppa's First Sleepover' to give away to our blog readers.  We'd love to know what your child/grandchild's favourite TV character is – whether they appear in a book or not – so just leave  a comment below and we'll put all the names into a hat and pull out three winners.

T&Cs apply. Leave your comment by midnight 12th March 2012. Winners will be selected at random and notified by 15th March 2012.

39 thoughts on “You’ve seen the TV programme, now read the book!

  1. Emma J says:

    My niece loves Thomas the tank engine, Chuggington and Dorothy the Dinosaur. Hannah watches them on the Television and DVD’s and reads the books.
    I’m not sure if this is a international competition but my niece loves all this kids BBC/ABC programs.

  2. Lynne OConnor says:

    My son loves quite a few. Scooby Doo and Tom & Jerry have been long standing favourites but his current top three would be Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly and Horrid Henry, Peppa probably just edging it.

  3. Christine Dixon says:

    My grandson”s loves Dora the explorer.
    Thomas the tank engine.wonder pets.
    Bob the Builder.Rory The Racing Car.
    Fireman Sam S.O.S Chuggington.

  4. sarah keen says:

    My daughter loves Ben and Holly, Dora the explorer, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam and Mister Maker…at the moment 🙂

  5. Antonia Vollet says:

    My daughter loves Peppa Pig and I equally love Peppa too as we live abroad and the language and vocabulary are perfect for her age and in reinforcing her English skills!!!

  6. Cat Friess says:

    Peppa Pig is definitely my daughter’s favourite. Charley and Lola come a close second but she also loves curling up with Grandpa and Grandma on the sofa to watch Upsy Daisy and all her friends in The Night Garden.

  7. Carina Rodrigues says:

    My two year old son loves Peppa Pig and Super Why!!!
    He can spend hours watching Peppa Pig episodes… And he also loves the book “Peppa goes to the library”.

  8. Jon Williams says:

    My daughter loves Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly. She often hands us the TV remote and says ‘Piiiig’ to get us to turn it on. Luckily we have Peppa Pig DVDs for times when Peppa’s not showing on the TV!

  9. katie walters says:

    at the moment my 2 year olds sons favourite tv characters are george from peppa pig and thomas the tank engine 🙂

  10. Tamsin FERRIER says:

    My 3 year old daughter loves Peppa Pig and Fireman Sam and the Gruffalo oh and Meg & Mog! Thinking about it most things that capture her imagination feature quite highly!

  11. sinead says:

    my daugher really loves peppa pig, she would watch the dvd from morning until night if she was let
    Shed really love the book too!

  12. layo says:

    My daugther loves peppa pig, she can watch it for hours non stop even to the extent of me having to buy her all peppa pig stuffs like clothes, vest, underwear, wellies and the likes.

  13. Janine brook says:

    My 2 and 5 year old love peppa, little princess, angelina, barney, ben and hollys little kingdom, octanouts, postman pat….most things really. The books they are read go down better if they are popular characters although my eldest who is learning to read will try and read any book. I believe its how the books are read to them which helps their imagination. The key is to give them a really good variety of books to read and be read and they will hopefully grow up loving books. I never enjoyed reading as a child and unfortunately dont enjoy reading as an adult. I love chikdrens books though and often make up stories for my children. Im determined for my children to continue enjoying books forever which is why i give them such a variety and help them imagine things without images to help them do so.

  14. Donna Clark says:

    My Godsons favourite charactor is Fireman Sam, as soon as it comes on thats it you can no longer have a conversation with him, lol.

  15. My daughter’s firmly in the running to be Peppa Pig’s biggest fan! Upsy Daisy is still a firm favourite, and Koko from Chuggington, and Olive the Ostrich when we change channels!

  16. Julie Waby says:

    My grand daughter loves In the Night Garden (especially Igglepiggle)She also loves Baby Jake,Mr Bloom’s Nursery(my favourite!)Peppa Pig and Zingzilla’s

  17. LILY GALLAGHER says:

    It’s all about Peppa Pig and her Little brother George in my house, My liitle girl just adores her !!
    Excellent prize xx

  18. Teresa Gibbs says:

    My son loves Gormiti at the moment, especially Nick – he’s got a set of 6 books which we read over and over again – with silly voices!
    My daughter loves Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer

  19. hayley pemberton says:

    Poppys favourite character is hello kitty and any Disney princess.
    Scarlett loves waybaloo and minnie mouse.
    Poppy still loves peppa pig and charlie and lola but pretends she is too grown up for them!
    I am just happy for them to read anything.

  20. Grace Martin says:

    My daughter has loved books from an early age. She is now 3 and attends our local library regularly where she enjoys choosing from the large selection of books. She especially enjoys Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly which she identifies with from having watched them on TV. I feel that reading has really helped broaden her understanding of life and helped with her vocabulary.

  21. Susan Hill says:

    All of my kids love the Octonauts, and spend a lot of time discussing who is which character – the girls like anyone who is wearing pink and my son loves Kwazii as he is a pirate!

  22. Lindsey says:

    After being an avid reader of preschool books with my children from the early days I now find myself in a bit of a void of good reading material. My eldest son is now 6 and a fledgling independant reader which I am keen to encourage. However finding good ‘wholesome’ material to capture his interest but with the easy type and vocabulary he needs, is proving to be a challenge. There seems to be a big jump from Fireman Sam, Peppa Pig and the like to Horrid Henry (which I am not as keen on as my son is!). Any ideas on what can fill this gap?

  23. Paula Smith says:

    My little girl loves Raa Raa, she has a cuddly talking one that we have to take with us everywhere and loves joining in with the program, shouting at the T.V when its on 🙂

  24. Steph Marr says:

    my 10 month old daughter Ellie, loves minnie mouse and peppa pigs. She is often nowhere to be seen, but can be heard babblign away to herself as she is pulling books of the shelf in her room, she points to peppa and shouts pi!!!!! She is really clever and loves looking at the books, and colourfull pictures. We read a peppa and a disney story before bed every night.
    She is now pointing to the tv, for peppa pig, she also likes ben and holly’s little kingdom and olive the ostrich!
    Books are certainly great fun for all ages!!

  25. Anne-Marie says:

    My son’s favourite TV character is Brum. We went to the museum to see him last year and he was over the moon.

  26. Charlotte Bernard says:

    My 23 month old daughter absolutely loves Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly & Everything’s Rosie. She loves the “Little Library” books as they handy for looking at in her buggy when she is out and about!

  27. Thank you to everyone who has commented – it’s been great to read about all the characters your children/grandchildren are enjoying both on television and in books. Three people have been chosen at random and a copy of Peppa’s First Sleepover will be on it’s way to them shortly.

  28. Hi Lindsey – in response to your question about books for your 6 year old boy, it sounds like he is ready to progress onto first chapter books. We have a fantastic new series of fiction books out in April called Genie Street which lots of our 6 and 7 year old reviewers loved and he might enjoy.,,Genie%20Street,00.html?id=Genie%20Street
    Also, have you tried books from authors such as Roald Dahl or Jeremy Strong? Take a look at the Puffin site for some ideas

  29. valerie slatter says:

    My Grandchildren love Peppa Pig but their favourite characters apart from Peppa herself are Daddy Pig and Madame Gazelle.
    They love Julia Donaldson books especially the Gruffalo and Stick Man and Room on the Broom

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