Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Letterland Bedtime Stories by Louis Fidge got a rare run-out yesterday evening. An old favourite, both kids were mildly amused by "Clever Cat's Cafe" and enjoyed pointing out the alliteration that is shame-facedly shoehorned into every story. Letterland Bedtime Stories was picked up from a charity shop circa 2007. It joined the key work in the oeuvre, Letterland ABC and the lesser known works Quarrelsome Queen's Quiz and Ten Cakes.

Letterland holds a very special place in my heart. It's a phonics system where each letter of the alphabet has a pictogram of a person or creature associated with the letter (E is Eddy elephant, R used to be Robber Red, but is now something more PC). When I was a very teeny child, growing up in a suburb of Southampton, which used to look brand-new and spangly, and now looks a teeny bit dog-eared (in an accurate reflection of my own looks), my school trialled the Letterland phonics system. There were posters (amazing), books (OK), worksheets (again, amazing, but then I was a kid who used to make my Mum set me extra homework) and some songs. The songs were immense. One day my brother came home from school, having learnt a new sound and a new song (I don't remember this bit but the tale has gone down in family legend). Apparently, when asked for a rendition of the new song, my brother lustily sang "Fireman Fred says f-in words, f-in words, f-in words" and was slightly crestfallen when my Mum's reaction was horror and then hilarity! I think they changed that particular song after the pilot.

Anyway, Letterland taught A her letters before she started school. C only learnt X and Z, both of which he became slightly obsessed with. (Two things the avid reader will have learnt from this blog so far: 1) I like buying high quality books at bargain prices from charity shops and 2) my son is particularly prone to becoming obsessed by items as wide ranging as a 17th century Catholic terrorist and the letter x). Both have really enjoyed the books though, so I haven't quite got round to giving them away yet, despite the fact that neither of them now need the Letterland folk to remind them that Fireman Fred says f'in words.


  1. Charlie loves Letterland at nursery - she knows the songs and dances off by heart. It transpires that she can actually read all of the alphabet already, but I hadn't realised she was even learning it until she demonstrated her new-found skill. Whoops.

  2. You should teach her Fireman Fred says F***in words, to impress her keyworker.

  3. If you're ever down that way you *must* go to Babbacombe Model village in Devon. As well as the Where's Wally characters hidden around, they've got all the Letterland characters hidden around the place. My girls *loved* it!