Burglar Bill

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Burglar Bill was written in 1888 by Thomas Anstey Guthrie using the pseudonym F. Anstey, as a recitation. "Burglar Bill of Pentonville, etc."

Children's story[edit]

It was adapted as a children's book by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg. They coined the catchphrase "I'll 'ave that".


Burglar Bill is a thief and all of his possessions are stolen items, including the bed he goes to sleep in. On a typical night of thievery, Burglar Bill comes across a box with holes in, and takes it. Upon arriving home, he discovers that within the box is a baby. The baby and Burglar Bill end up spending a day together, but when Bill is putting the baby to bed, he hears an intruder downstairs. He confronts the burglar, who he discovers is Burglar Betty, and they talk to one another to find they have much in common. Bill mentions his new infant friend that he found the night before. He introduces Betty to the baby, only for them both to discover that the baby belongs to Betty. They both decide to give thievery up and return everything they stole to live happily together as a family.


Janet Ahlberg, winner of two Greenaway Medals, received runner-up for Burglar Bill (1977).[1] The book has received positive reviews on various online bookstores and websites.[2] Some readers loved the book's charm and unique story, while others did not see it as being morally acceptable for a young child to read, as the subject of burglary is taken fairly light-heartedly without serious conscequences.[3]

Media Platforms[edit]

Due to the book's relative success and fan base, the story was made into a digital copy available for purchase as an ebook on online stores like Amazon.com or the iTunes Store.

Fan Adaptations[edit]

A university project that instructed the recreation of a children's book as a short animated film used Burglar Bill as it's subject. It was uploaded to YouTube by user Mgcmodels and titled "Burglar Bill Animation.avi". The video has attracted nearly 30,000 views since its upload on April 10 of 2011.


  1. ^ Curriculum Lab (CCSU) - "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-16. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  2. ^ books.google.ca - https://books.google.com/books/about/Burglar_Bill.html?id=xsXQ2nsPKqcC&redir_esc=y
  3. ^ goodreads.com - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1208468.Burglar_Bill


  • "Kate Greenaway Medal". Curriculum Lab (CCSU Burritt Library). Central Connecticut State University. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  • Burglar Bill "(Picture Puffin)". goodreads.com. Goodreads Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  • Burglar Bill (Google eBook)". books.google.ca. Google. Retrieved 4 April 2014.