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Bookaboo logo.png
Bookaboo logo
Genre Children's
Created by Lucy Goodman
Written by Lucy Goodman, Alex Williams (writer)
Directed by Lucy Goodman & Ian Emes
Narrated by Various
Composer(s) Mark Dyson
Country of origin United Kingdom, Canada
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 64
Executive producer(s) Emma Tennant & Martyn Freeman
Producer(s) Lucy Goodman
Location(s) London
Cinematography Trevor Forrest (series 1), Dom Kersey (series 2)
Editor(s) Matthew Tabern
Running time 11 minutes
Production company(s) Happy Films
Sinking Ship Entertainment
Distributor FremantleMedia
Picture format 16:9 HD
Original release United Kingdom:
2 March 2009 – 4 June 2010 Canada:
11 February 2013 (2013-02-11) United States:
27 October 2016 (2016-10-27) – present
External links

Bookaboo is a British children's television series produced by Lucy Goodman of Happy Films and co-directed by Ian Emes. The show features puppets, celebrities, picture books, songs and animation. Lucy Goodman created the show after researching the current global decline in parental reading in the home. Bookaboo is carefully crafted to inspire more children and grown ups to have fun sharing books together. Bookaboo is broadcast on CITV and Amazon Video in the United Kingdom, ABC2 in Australia, and Amazon Video in the United States.


"A story a day or I just can't play!" says world-famous, drum-playing rock puppy, Bookaboo as he flounces off stage. The rest of the band (Growler on Bass Guitar, Paws on Keyboards) find Bookaboo on the Bookabus, ignoring all stage calls and engaged in the most extraordinary stage avoidance schemes (comedy sketches & songs).

Despite their best efforts the band fail to persuade the rock pup back to the stadium. Luckily, a celebrity fan arrives with a picture book filled 'Bookabag' and settles down to share it. Bookaboo is mesmerised and enthralled by the story. It appears to cure his little 'problem'. As the book finishes, Bookaboo gets his rhythm (he calls it his 'Bojo') back.

With the celebrity fan cheering him on from the wings, Bookaboo delights the crowds with a stellar canine drum solo. As the episode draws to an end, an electrified stage sign behind Bookaboo lets the grown up audience know: "1000 books per episode are donated to children who need them most"

Featured Books[edit]

Books featured in the show are carefully selected from approximately 500 that are submitted each series by top publishers across the UK. Selection criteria are simple – books must be truly enjoyable to share aloud for both children and adults.

Producer Goodman looks for quality of writing and illustration together with variety across the books featured in the series.[citation needed] Funny books, silly books, slightly scary books, books that rhyme and books that challenge difficult issues. All books selected are intended to appeal to boys and girls.

Goodman also looks to offer celebrities books they will enjoy sharing and that they feel some 'fit' with, for example:

  • Meat Loaf shares an truly adventurous book, called The Lamb Who Came For Dinner
  • David Roberts shares an funny book about farting, called Pooh! Is That You Bertie?
  • A very pregnant Melanie C shared an beautiful book about unconditional love, called No Matter What

Books are available in all good book stores and stickered with Bookaboo's 'Share A Book Today' campaign sticker.


A wide variety of celebrities are invited to take part in the show to encourage grown ups from the broadest areas of society to share books with children. Celebrities have included pop stars (Melanie C., Meat Loaf, Alesha Dixon) and Grime star Lethal Bizzle. Sportsmen and women have also supported Bookaboo's campaign to get more grown ups sharing books, including former manager for England (Steve McClaren), former Deputy Prime Minister (John Prescott) and talk show host Conan O'Brien.

Actors and Actresses (Tamsin Egerton, Marc Wootton, Simon Lowe), Presenters (Hugh Dennis, Tiff Needell, Harry Hill) and comedians (Sinbad, Rowan Atkinson, Stephen K Amos) have all shared a book with Bookaboo. Celebrities are both young and old, such as EastEnders young star Maisie Smith (nine years old), and Bernard Cribbins (eighty two years). All celebrities become in effect, Storytime Ambassadors for Bookaboo's "Share A Book Today" campaign and have taken part as a result of their desire to help more children and grown ups share books together.

Bookaboo Share A Book Today Campaign[edit]

By 2011, 26,000 books had been donated to disadvantaged children across the United Kingdom, on behalf of Bookaboo and the publishers and celebrities taking part. In 2009, Bookaboo partnered with Booktrust and The Book People, to enable 13,000 books to be distributed to under six year old children in care.

In 2011, Bookaboo partnered with The Pre School Learning Alliance and a further 13,000 books are being distributed to nurseries in areas of disadvantage in the UK. Many children attending these nurseries do not have any books in the home and will be able to borrow the donated books as well as enjoying them in the nursery.

The books are also to be used in adult literacy classes held in some nurseries, enabling more parents to be able to share books with their children. 1,000 books per episode will continue to be donated to children who need them most on behalf of Bookaboo.


The Story behind the band[edit]

All current members of Bookaboo's band met in the dog rescue centre as orphaned puppies. Their talent for music was uncovered by the centre owner and as a result they entered and won canine talent contest 'Pup Idol'. The puppy band set out to tour the globe on their tourbus, a converted library truck called the Bookabus and play to packed out stadiums around the world.

The band constantly feature on the front page in a number of popular canine music and celebrity magazines such as 'Rolling Bone' 'Gerowl' and 'Woof'. They have also won a number of music awards including the Golden Bone award and the Little Puppy Pound Life Time Achievement award. This band is permanently on tour. The band don't have homes, the road and the Bookabus has become their home and the three pups are friends for life. Four further band members will eventually join the band to be revealed in later series.[citation needed]


Bookaboo is a world-famous rock puppy and legendary canine drummer. But Bookaboo has a little problem. Bookaboo loses his 'bojo' (his rhythm) and can not play unless he's been able to share a book with someone, hence his famous line "A Story a day or I just can't play".

Marcus Clarke is the puppeteer. The Bookaboo puppet was designed by Paul Andrejco and was built by Puppet Heap in Hoboken, NJ.[1]


Growler is an American hound and talented bass guitarist. Whilst cooped up in an English dog pound (there's a backstory to this), he was fed a cumberland sausage and since then can't stop eating them. Growler has a particularly low voice and oddly pitched howl and growl. A backstory to be released reveals why he got called Growler. Growler was introduced in Series 2 United Kingdom. He was designed and built by Puppet Heap and is puppeteered by Paul Andrecjo.


Paws is a talented and extremely dexterous Dachshund keyboard player. To date, we have seen Paws play keyboards and get retro with an keytar solo. But Paws can turn his canine digits to a number of instruments has been begging Management to add an saxophone number to the set list. Paws was designed and built by Puppet Heap, and is puppeteered in the United Kingdom by Brian Herring.


The titles music, all of the songs and the majority of the incidental music is written, composed and mostly played by Mark Dyson. Mark Dyson and Lucy Goodman met at the age of 17 and have worked together on a variety of children's programmes ever since.

Bookaboo's drum solo is performed by Alex Toff who also puppeteered Bookaboo's arms for his drum solo. Alex Toff whilst dressed up in a lycra chromakey green body fitting suit, described the job as 'the weirdest session he'd ever done'.

Songs to date include:

  • 'Bookaboos Book Blues' – Bookaboo sings the Blues
  • 'Sausages' – Growler rocks about his love of sausages
  • 'Hey You Make Some Noise' – Anthem includes the line "if you rock with the pups then you're part of the band"
  • 'Life on the Road'- ballad


A pop-up book complete with sound chip called 'Pup Idol' is published by Walker Books in the United Kingdom and Australia. Two stories about their life on the road, "Puppies in the Pound" and "Dogs in Disguise" are published by Walker Books in the United Kingdom and Australia together with two activity books. DVD's of the show are available in the United Kingdom (Abbey Media) and Australia (Fremantle).

Bookaboo Goes Global[edit]

Bookaboo is available to overseas broadcasters both as an acquisition (26 x 11 mins) and/or as a format enabling each territory to profile their own celebrities, authors and illustrators and help children achieve literacy in their own country. Bookaboo has already sold to ABC2 Australia and is being distributed by Fremantle Media Enterprises. Bookaboo is also produced in English and French by CBC/Radio-Canada for broadcast in Canada.


In November 2008, ITV announced their commission of a part live action, and part animated series, to promote child and adult literacy in the United Kingdom, in support of the National Year of Reading 2008.[2] Bookaboo was commissioned by Emma Tennant, Controller of CITV and ITV3. The series, created and produced by Lucy Goodman will be directed by Lucy Goodman and Ian Emes for Happy Films. Tennant also acts as the executive producer for ITV.

The thirteen part CITV series launched on Monday 2 March 2009, on the CITV channel and originally aired three times a day, broadcast every weekday at 12:15, 15:20 and 17:45. The central character is a drum playing rock puppy called Bookaboo, who is inspired by picture books, so much so says "I just can't play without a story a day!". In each eleven minute episode, one of Bookaboo's celebrity fans goes back stage to the rock puppy's tour bus, the 'Bookabus', to see if they can tempt him back to stage, by sharing a picture book with him.[3]

In January 2009 ITV announced the list of celebrities who will be sharing a story with Bookaboo.[4] Alongside the series there will an online Bookaboo Book Club, live events and in store promotions. The show won the Preschool Live Action BAFTA, for the 2009 British Academy Children's Awards.[5][6][7] A second series began airing from 1 November 2010, airing on both the CITV digital channel and ITV.[8] It also introduces Bookaboo's bandmates, Growler and Paws.[9]

Stories and celebrity readers[edit]

Series 1 (2009)[10][edit]

Book[11] Author/Illustrator Guest Occupation Plot[12]
The Lamb Who Came for Dinner Steve Smallman and Joelle Dreidemy Meat Loaf Actor An innocent lamb shows up at the house of a hungry wolf.
That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton Sherrié Austin Actress The Silly Queen wants Emily Brown's toy rabbit whose name is not Bunnywunny, but Stanley.
Pooh! Is That You Bertie? David Roberts Rowan Atkinson Comedian Bertie keeps farting in front of his mother, father, grandma, sister, and in the cafe.
No Matter What Debi Gliori Mel C Singer Big and Small talk about their love.
The Cow That Laid An Egg Andy Cutbill and illustrated by Russel Ayto Kym Marsh Actress, currently in Coronation Street Marjorie lays an egg. The farmer tells the farmer's wife to ring the local press. The other cows say they think that Marjorie didn't lay the egg, the chickens did.
More Pants Giles Andreae and illustrated by Nick Sharratt Marc Wootton Actor A rhyming story in which a variety of people and animals show their pants.
Splat the Cat Rob Scotton Sinbad Comedian Splat nervously starts school.
A Mummy for Owen Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John Butler Jim Carrey Actor Owen and his family get split up by waves, will they get back together?
Norma Snows Paula Metcalf Simon Lowe Actor Norma has just been born and she starts school.
The Hairy Toe Daniel Postgate Julian Clary Comedian Old Woman finds a Hairy Toe which, she later learns, belongs to a monster.
Class Two at the Zoo Julia Jarman and illustrated by Lynne Chapman Robson Green Actor Class 2 see lots of animals at the zoo, but not the anaconda.
The Night Pirates Peter Harris and illustrated by Deborah Allwright Michael Rosen Author A Boy discovers girl pirates borrowing the front of his house and goes along for an adventure with them.
Whatever William Bee John Prescott Politician A boy is shown exciting things but always replies "...whatever".

Series 2 (2010)[13][edit]

Book[14] Author/Illustrator Guest Occupation Plot[15]
Burger Boy Alan Durant and Mei Matsuoka Steve McClaren Football Manager Boy turns into burger after a burger overdose.
Don't Wake The Bear, Hare! Steve Smallman and Caroline Pedler Myleene Klass Singer, Model and Actress Animals try to throw a party without waking a bear.
Wolf's Magnificent Master Plan Melanie Williamson Adam Garcia Actor and Dancer Toothless Wolf tricks lambs into helping with moneymaking scheme to get replacement teeth, allowing the wolf to eat the lambs.
A Visitor For Bear Bonny Becker and Kady Macdonald Denton Samia Smith Actress Bear doesn't allow visitors in his place, until some time after a mouse stops by.
The Wolf's Story - What Really Happened To Little Red Riding Hood Toby Forward and Izhar Cohe Hugh Dennis Actor The Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood explains the events of the classic story from how he saw it all.
Grill Pan Eddy Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross Stephen K. Amos Comedian Mouse causes trouble for family. Family try to stop him, but end up adopting him as a pet.
Mom And Dad Glue Kes Gray and Lee Wildsmith Will Smith Comedian Boy's parents are breaking up, so boy tries to get some parent glue to resolve the issue.
The Bears in the Bed & The Great Big Storm Paul Bright and Jane Chapman Tiff Needell Presenter Bears have trouble sleeping on a stormy night due to presence of what is thought to be a monster.
Dogs Don't Do Ballet Anna Kemp and Sara Oglivie Tamsin Egerton Actress Girl's pet dog is a talented ballerina, but everyone other than the girl doubts about dogs doing ballet.
The Spider and The Fly Tony DiTerlizzi Emilia Fox Actress Fly visits Spider's place, yet resists Spider's temptations, until eventually...
Kisses Are Yuk! Julia Jarman and E. Waters Sting Singer Boy expresses his disdain for kisses.
Stinky!: Or How the Beautiful Smelly Warthog Found a Friend Ian Whybrow and Lynne Chapman Carla Bruni First Lady of France Smelly Warthog has trouble making friends due to his foul odor.
Tortoise vs Hare: The Rematch Preston Rutt and Ben Redlich Conan O'Brien Comedian The Tortoise and The Hare have another race as a rematch from the one before.

Series 3 (2013) (Canada)[16][edit]

Book[17] Author/Illustrator Guest Occupation Plot[18]
Warduff and the Corn Cob Caper Mat Head Jason Priestley Actor Farm animals are under threat of attack so a cat is called in to help
The Great Snortle Hunt Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley Adam Beach Actor Animals dare each other to infiltrate the house of a scary-sounding creature called the Snortle
Walter and the No Need to Worry Suit Rachel Bright Sheila McCarthy Actress Walter worries a lot so his friends make him a suit intended to protect him from his worries
Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice Chris Wormell Gordon Pinsent Actor Scruffy Bear protects Six White Mice from other animals while escorting them through a forest
The Worst Princess Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie Kate Nash singer, actress Knight saves a princess who turns out to be badly behaved
Ping and Pong are Best Friends...Mostly Tim Hopgood James Keylon Clown Ping and Pong are friends, yet Pong is better at doing things than Ping
Good Little Wolf Nadia Shireen Dave Gorman Comedian Wolf is good and well behaved, but things go wrong when he meets a big, bad wolf
Drumheller Dinosaur Dance Robert Heidbreder, Bill Salvin and Esperance Melo Fefe Dobson Musician Dinosaur skeletons come to life at night and dance
Aliens Love Underpants Claire Freeman and Ben Cort Julie Payette Astronaut Aliens invade Earth to steal underpants from Earthlings
The Great Sheep Shenanigans Peter Bently and Mei Matsuoka Seán Cullen Comedian
Leave Me Alone Kes Gray and Lee Wildish Georges Laraque Hockey player Boy is being bullied by a giant so animals stick up for him
The Subway Mouse Barbara Reid Jian Ghomeshi Broadcaster, Writer, Musician Mouse has courage to go to a place outside the subway in which he resides
The Talent Show Amy Jo Johnson Actress, Singer Animals put together a musical act to enter a talent show, but don't let a bird join them until they discover the bird's singing talent
Toads on Toast Linda Bailey Jacob Hoggard Singer Fox attempts to cook toads but one of the toads puts him off with a toad-free recipe
Whiffy Wilson, The Wolf Who Wouldn't Wash Caryl Hart, Leonie Lord Zaib Shaikh Whiffy Wilson is a wolf who doesn't wash, but gets taught by a friend that he should
Scaredy Squirrel Mélanie Watt Peter Mansbridge News Anchor Scaredy Squirrel never leaves his tree and lives by the same routine every day but one day he falls from his tree and ventures into the unknown
Grandma Bendy Izy Penguin Tara Spencer-Nairn Actress Grandma Bendy has bendy arms and legs, and recalls the story of how she turned from thief to hero
Mr King's Things Joannie Rochette Mr King keeps replacing his existing things with new ones, but is then taught how he can find new uses for his old things
A Bedtime for Bear Melinda Shankar Bear is trying to get to sleep, while at the same time having a guest
Stanley's Party Nico Archambault Stanley, a dog, is left at home by owners so occupies himself and eventually invites other dogs over for a party
My Think-a-ma-jink Jeff Stinco Musician Boy gets given a toy which runs on his imagination
The Busy Beaver Cathy Jones Beaver is busy yet careless and doesn't realize how careless he is until he gets injured
The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear David Bruins and Hilary Leung Anthony Calvillo Football player Three good friends learn to appreciate their differences
Larf Bret Hart Pro Wrestler Larf hears word of their being another creature of his species
Cookiebot Hugh Dillon Musician Boy builds a robot to allow him to reach for the cookie jar

School special (2013)[edit]

Book[19] Author/Illustrator Guest Occupation Plot[20]
Pigeon Poo Elizabeth Baguley and Mark Chambers Des Hegarty Teacher Pigeon poos on everyone and everything in town while flying

Christmas special (2013)[edit]

Book[21] Author/Illustrator Guest Occupation Plot[22]
Grumpy Badger's Christmas Paul Bright and Jane Chapman Jim Carter Actor, Downton Abbey
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton Simon Gregson Actor, Coronation Street
Dustbin Dad Peter Bently and Russell Ayto Warwick Davis Actor

Awards and nominations[edit]

The first series won the Children's BAFTA Award for 'Best Pre-School Live Action' programme in 2009. The second series received the same award title in 2011. In 2009, Lucy Goodman and Ian Emes received an RTS nomination. Bookaboo has since gone onto win the 2010 Broadcast Award for Best Children's Programme, and the 2010 International Prix Jeunesse Award, in Munich. In 2012, Bookaboo was awarded a British Animation Award, in the mixed media category, and was finalist in Children's Choice category.


  1. ^ "Puppet Heap". Retrieved 2 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "ITV Backs Literacy Campaign with Bookaboo". ITV. 23 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Celebrities scramble to catch a glimpse of a new rock sensation on CITV". ITV. 28 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Meat Loaf joins reading campaign". Associated Press. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  5. ^
  6. ^,879,BA.html
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  16. ^ [3]
  17. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  19. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  20. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  21. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 
  22. ^ "Bookaboo – New TV Series Will Encourage A Love Of Books". eParenting. 24 November 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2009. 

External links[edit]