March 9, 2022

Animal magic: zoo offers book bundles for World Book Day


Twycross Zoo: encouraging green readers this World Book Day. (, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Happy World Book Day to one and all!

WBD is traditionally a time when dressing up and school visits rule the day – but one unusual organisation is getting in on the act this year, too: Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, UK.

A charming report in Worcester News from Wednesday details the zoo’s involvement, which will see local primary schools given the chance to win a bundle of environmentally-themed books:

The Leicestershire-based zoo and conservation charity is giving away 500 books to primary schools across the UK to help encourage children’s understanding of nature and conservation… It is also publicising the launch of The Gruffalo Discovery Land, a multi-million pound exhibit at the zoo that features characters from the best-selling children’s book.

Books listed in the bundle include the classic Ladybird title What to Look For in Spring; Diane Muldrow’s We Planted a Tree and, perhaps unsurprisingly, The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

The report also cites research by the zoo which found that “only 16 per cent of children have a strong understanding of how conservation efforts could help tackle climate change”, and that “85 per cent of parents feel that imaginary characters from books, such as The Gruffalo, have a positive impact on children’s understanding of conservation.”

Twycross Zoo is also involved in many conservation projects outside of the book world including a mobile phone recycling scheme, which reduces the need to source fresh supplies of the material coltan (crucial in electronic manufacture) from locations such as the wildlife-rich forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Dr. Rebecca Biddle, head of life sciences at the zoo, is also quoted in the Worcester News report, saying of the book scheme:

Reading is one of life’s great joys and books can educate and inspire us in equal measure. We hope this reading list is a useful tool for all and we’d encourage schools to send in their nominations to win their very own book bundle.

Find out more about Twycross Zoo’s work here.




In other Gruffalo-related news this week, co-creator Axel Scheffler was spotted holding two specially designed placards at a pro-Ukraine rally in London.



Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.