Tiger Aspect Kids & Family has signed a development deal for bestselling picture book series What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks.
The deal covers the option to create a pre-school animated series and is the first for of its kind for the author and illustrator duo. Rights were acquired for Donaldson from Emily Hayward-Whitlock of the Artists Partnership in association with the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and for Monks from Hilary Delamere and Tanya Tillett at The Agency.
First released in 2009, 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 more than four million copies and been translated into 24 languages worldwide, according to the publisher. The latest book, What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside, was released in paperback in 2021 and spent three weeks at the top of the Pre-school and Picture Book bestseller charts.
Development of the series will be overseen by Tom Beattie, m.d. of Tiger Aspect Kids & Family, who will also executive produce. He 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.”
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' 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.”
Monks commented: “Lots of Tiger Aspect Kids & Family’s programmes are family favourites in my house, so I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with Tom and the team. I’m sure our little ladybird will be in safe hands, and I can’t wait to see what she sees and hears next!”
Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, m.d. of Macmillan Children's Books, added: "We launched the first What the Ladybird Heard adventure at Macmillan Children's Books in 2009 and from the beginning we knew that Julia's clever ladybird and her brilliant story, combined with Lydia's characterful and bright artwork, would be a story that families would take to their hearts. The continued sales and growth of the brand since then has been testament to this. We couldn't be more pleased that Tiger Aspect Kids & Family is now going to develop the ladybird and bring her adventures in a new way to children and families."