The Lit Review |58| Ladybird Books Top Christmas Wishlists

Satirical Pastiche of Ladybird Books Top Sales Charts

A series of satirical Ladybird books, based on the series for children, has reached the bestsellers list this festive season. 600,000 copies of these mini-hardbacks sold out in less than two months. Penguin originally printed 15,000 copies of each title. By mid-November, it had 1 million copies in print, and that number has now grown to 1.5m.

Writers Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris have delivered witty, cynical text for the eight book series, from How it Works: The Husband to The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness. Here’s a short extract from the latter:  ‘Leanne has been staring at this beautiful tree for five hours. She was meant to be in the office. Tomorrow she will be fired. In this way, mindfulness has solved her work-related stress.’

Some controversy arose over these books earlier this year. Last May, Penguin threatened artist Ladybir with legal action for breach of copyright, when she produced We Go to the Gallery, in the style of the Peter and Jane Ladybird stories from the 1960s and 1970s.  Following her withdrawal of the books from sale, Penguin proceeded to produce their own pastiche. This palaver doesn’t seem to have affected shoppers this year, eager to fill their Christmas stockings.


One Book Title Only


With thousands of books published every year, bookshops are spoiled for choice when it comes to stocking their shelves. A bookseller in Tokyo, however, has decided to avoid making these tricky decisions by opening a bookshop that sells just one title to its customers. Bookshop owner, Yoshiyuki Morioka, stocks multiple copies of just one title in the eponymous bookshop, Morioka Shoten, selecting new titles from week to week.


Since May the shop has sold 2,100 books, and has featured titles such as Tove Jansson’s novel The True Deceiver, in which a young woman fakes a burglary of an elderly artist’s house, and Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.

Morioka explains his motives; “This bookstore that sells only one book could also be described as ‘a bookstore that organises an exhibition derived from a single book’. This is an attempt to make the two-dimensional book into three-dimensional ambience and experience. I believe that the customers, or readers, should feel as though they are entering ‘inside a book’.”


 Noma Dumezweni to Play Adult Hermione Granger


JK Rowling has welcomed the casting of black actress Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger in the upcoming London stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

She tweeted once she heard the news saying: ‘Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione.’

The forthcoming stage production of Potter is written by Skins and This is England (’86 and ’88) writer Jack Thorne. It is based on a story Thorne wrote with director John Tiffany and Rowling.

Dumezweni will star alongside Jamie Parker as an adult Harry Potter and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley. The two-part play is set 19 years after the seven-part book series ended, and casts Potter as an ‘overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and a father of three school-age children’, according to the pottermore website.


Men Criticised at Jeddah International Book Fair

Two Saudi Men were faced with criticism at a recent reading by Ashjan Al Hindi, a female Saudi poet, at the Jeddah International Book Fair. The pair insisted she should not be allowed to address the hall and asked the question ‘Are you satisfied with what is happening?’ to which the audience replied ‘yes’. The two men were escorted from the hall, allowing Ashjan Al Hindi to continue with her quiet reading. This signifies another small but significant step for Saudi women who were allowed to vote and run in the country’s elections for the first time this year.

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