Are you sure?

You still have in your basket

If you continue to our gift website, these items will not be present in your new Utility Gift basket.s in your basket won't carry over to the gift site.

However, your Utility Design shopping basket will be saved here for 30 days should you wish to return to it.

Sign Up To The Utility Newsletter For 10% OFF Your First Order

  1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Retro Ladybird Books Are Given A Modern Twist

Retro Ladybird Books Are Given A Modern Twist

Originally conceived in 1915, Ladybird Education books were wholesome publications that introduced generations of children to everything from fairy tales to The Gunpowder Plot to oil and nuclear power.

Fast-forward 100 years, and adults who were given the originals as a way of teaching them to read will be pleased to know that Peter and Jane are back. This time however, they’ve got a drinking problem. Not to mention a wry and weary view of the world around them.

In October this year, to celebrate the Ladybird centenary, Penguin launched a new series of self-satirical Ladybird books for grown-ups, giving the original copies an adult makeover. Written by comedy duo Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, whose credits include writing for Charlie Brooker’s Screen Wipe, 8 new titles have been published as guides to help grown-ups make sense of modern life. Their topics include dating, hangovers, mid-life crisis’ and hipster culture- all stocked here at Utility.



The books offer a dry (and often laugh-out-loud) critique on modern trends. The Book Of The Hipster pokes fun at those people with a purposeless obsession with obscure music, artisanal food and vintage objects, whilst The Book of Mindfulness satirises a modern-obsession with finding fulfilment and ‘self-realisation’.

From The Ladybird Book Of The Hipster


The books also draw on the fears we experience as adults: The fear of getting old, of not fulfilling our ambitions, and of being alone. The Book of the Midlife Crisis opens with the bleak beginning: “When we’re young we wonder if we’ll be a surgeon or an astronaut. We can be anything we wan’t to be. Then one day we can’t”.  

It's an opening line that even makes co-author Morris cry for being "too close to the bone”. Yet it's the darkly funny use of weary tongue-in-cheek text and relatable scenarios, alongside original Ladybird artwork,  that has allowed the books to fly to the top of the charts whilst convincing cynical adults they’ve learnt to cope with their modern problems.


From the Ladybird Book of Dating


From The Ladybird Book Of The Midlife crisis


Ladybird spoof books aren’t a new idea- the juxtaposition of genteel imagery with comical captions has long gathered trend on the Internet, with unofficial titles including "The Book of Hot Dads".  Last year comedian and writer Miriam Elia was threatened with legal action over her brilliantly funny book We Go To The Gallery- in which Peter and Jane (renamed John and Susan) discover that real meaning does not exist and that death is final as they try  to make sense of modern art.


Bloggalleryimage From We Go To The Gallery


However, Morris and Hazeley's  series is the first to be authorised by Penguin, and truly gets deadpan, witty pastiche spot on. 100,000 copies have been sold already, and one million more are being printed for Christmas to meet an overwhelming demand.

A spokesperson for Penguin said “Jason and Joel proposed a series of new books using the original Ladybird artwork and brand new text and we thought it was brilliant idea – partly because the sample pages they produced for The Ladybird Book of the Hipster had us crying with laughter, but also because in Ladybird’s hundredth year, it presented a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the beautiful original Ladybird artwork and bring it to the attention of and appreciation of a whole new readership.”

Mr Morris acknowledges that he and he co-author have been given a unique opportunity. “It’s like being allowed to mess about with a national treasure" he said. “It’s like repainting St Paul's”.

View our full collection of Ladybird spook books here.


Next Working Day Delivery

View UK delivery options

Delivering to 150 Countries

View delivery options

Thank You Messages

I have rarely experienced such excellent quality advice, support and reliability. Your staff communicate effectively and helpfully. I am a truly satisfied customer. I love my String Shelving and I will not hesitate to return to Utility for my next purchase. Thank you!

Oct 24th 2019 | Sarah

Your customer service has been fantastic. I'm seriously impressed. Really pleased to be able to place the bigger order and make your time worthwhile. I think I need to send you a medal!

May 19th 2019 | Jason

I just wanted to express my thanks again for your great customer service. I ordered my items less than 24 hours ago and I’ve amended my order- yet I still have my order here with me now. You went out of your way to deliver my order and I’m very grateful. I wish more places had people like you :-)

May 14th 2019 | Louise

Thanks so much for your extraordinary service. -

Jun 19th 2019 | Maria (US)

Thanks again for such amazing customer service - I have honestly been so impressed by everything! Thank you for doing such a wonderful job

Jun 19th 2019 | Amber

Excellent customer service and immediate response to enquiry (live chat). Very happy every time used Utility both online and on high street.

Jun 28th 2019 | Jo

I couldn't be happier with the custom made sofa bought through the online store. It is perfect and made all the more enjoyable by buying it through the guys at utility. Ben and Paul who delivered the sofa were amazing, kind and really helpful in a difficult situation (of course the lift broke when I was getting something delivered). Would highly recommend!

Aug 13th 2019 | Holly

Just wanted to message and say that I'm a big fan of the Utility Stores and the types of products you guys sell. I work close by to the Manchester store at University Green, so I'm popping in a fair bit generally for cards, gifts, etc. I just nipped in again this afternoon about one product I'd bought earlier and the staff were super helpful and attentive. It made it really easy, and I was in and out in no time.

Aug 13th 2019 | Richard

Just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to say how happy I am with the service I have had. Especially the two guys who delivered/carried into an awkward space/built/then took away the packaging, not to mention then gave me a lift into town. Thank you. Plus the sofa looks amazing. I will definitely be using you guys more in the future and will highly recommend you to anyone who will listen.

Sep 13th 2019 | Luke

Thank you for all your help and customer service, the Eames Lounge Chair arrived yesterday and I love it.

Nov 1st 2019 | Ross

Comment: I just wanted to say that Esther on the checkout in the L1 store made my day today she was so friendly

Dec 9th 2019 | Katy