Guest post and Giveaway: Nick Butterworth

In today’s guest blog author Nick Butterworth shares his tips and advice on how to make reading fun and exciting for children. We also have a fab giveaway to win loads of Q Pootle 5 goodies.


Nick Butterworth - headshot

 Walker Books will be releasing two new picture books Q Pootle 5: The Great Space Race and Q Pootle 5: Groobie’s Spacewash – based on the series on 6 November and to coincide with this, Nick has written a piece discussing the importance of reading.

He also offers some tips and advice on how to make reading fun and engaging.

Pootle Flying Space - LR


Reading is such an important life skill. But simply telling children how important reading is, is not the best way to engage them. That’s like the importance of cleaning your teeth! The beauty of reading with children is that it introduces them to the idea of reading for themselves in a way that makes them want to do it.

There’s nothing like a story to grab a child’s attention. Sometimes when I was little, my mum would just start reading and I would abandon whatever I was doing and climb onto her lap, all ears!

I’m sometimes asked if I have any tips for those not used to reading with children. Well, I’m not an expert, but I do have a few . . .

Choose the right book. A two year old won’t get much out of The Wind in the Willows and a five year old would probably like more of a storybook than Miffy.

Spontaneous story times are great but no substitute for a regular time every day. Not for nothing are children’s books often called bedtime stories. It’s the perfect time to share a book. Evening family routines can sometimes make it hard to find the time but it’s so worth it.


Find a comfortable spot away from other distractions. (Having the TV blaring away in the background isn’t ideal!) OK, now we’re set . . . which story shall we have? Mr Potter’s Pigeon? Again?! Alright. Are you ready? Here we go . . .

‘Mr Potter lived quietly by himself at 35 Station Road, near the railway line . . .’

Enjoy reading. Some people are a bit embarrassed by the sound of their own voice. It can be a bit like singing in front of people when you’re not used to it. You needn’t be with children. They won’t be critical. They’ll love to hear you read out loud. As you become more comfortable, you can experiment with expression. Give a mouse a little voice. A lion might have a growly voice. How about accents? Could your giraffe be a Brummie?

It’s fun to pause and explore the pictures. ‘Look! Who’s that creeping through the grass? A cat, yes. Can you remember his name? Lupin. Yes, it’s Lupin the cat. What’s he after? Yes, he’s after Mr Potter’s pigeon. Let’s see what happens . . .’

As the storyteller, you’re definitely in charge. There’s a wonderful, time-honoured relationship between storyteller and listener where the listener willingly subordinates him or herself in order to get the most out of a story as it unfolds. (This is one reservation I have about the rise of interactive books where the reader can actually set the agenda and dictate what happens in a story. It sounds like a natty idea, but it does nothing to enhance suspense or surprise.)

Don’t be too strict as the storyteller. There might be times when it’s vital that you take a break to hear a joke. Or there may be a new dance move that just has to be demonstrated right now! And, oh dear, sometimes it can be hard to get through a whole story without needing a wee. Don’t get huffy. Calmly redirect attention back to where you left off and away you go again.

Time spent with a book can often lead to a very special kind of sharing. Something achieved at school. Or maybe an unpleasant experience that is better for being aired. Such times are priceless.

Children grow up so fast. I heartily recommend that you take advantage of that all too brief period in children’s young lives, to share books, stories – and so much more. I guarantee you’ll be the richer for it.

Ode To A Book

I was not very old,

Or so I’ve been told,

Just a few months, no more.

But I meant to find out,

What life was about. . .

I started right there on the floor.


I could see a fat cat,

(Sat there on a mat)

And a ball and an old felt-tip pen.

And a Jack-in-a-box

And one of my socks

And a couple called Barbie and Ken.


A thing called a book

Seemed worth a look. . .

The front opened just like a door.

It’s hard to think that

Something so flat,

Could have so much to explore.


I turned over pages

For ages and ages.

From pictures to puzzles and games.

I learnt about creatures

With curious features

And unpronounceable names.


My book seemed to grow

(Just how, I don’t know)

Into two, then three, then ten!

Of practical cats

And pied piper rats,

Another, of mice and men.


Ships with great sails

And maps and white whales

Mysterious wardrobes and rings,

Six pine trees,

Wind and willows, all these,

Are a few of my favourite things!


I visited places

With wide open spaces.

I learnt about stars and machines.

And I learnt why

At least you should try,

Sometimes, to eat up your greens!


I’ll never forget

The people I’ve met.

Three witches, a farmer, a king.

And the man who spent days

Walking round in a maze,

Because of a problem with string.


I’ve hitch-hiked through space

With a grin on my face.

If I get the chance I know I’m

Going travelling with wizards

And battling through blizzards.

I may be gone some time.


I wonder if you

Feel at all like I do,

Caught on a papery hook?

For me, it’s exciting,

My reading. . .and writing. . .

It’s all been Owed To A Book!


. . .well, maybe not quite all. . .

By way of P.S.

I’d like to confess:

As a boy I had such a good chum.

I loved to be near her

Especially to hear her

Reading to me. . .thanks Mum!



 QP5 competition product - group image

To celebrate the launch of a fantastic range of new Q Pootle 5 products this autumn, we are offering you the chance to win one of four bundles, each including two DVDs – Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special: Pootle All The Way! and Q Pootle 5: The Great Space Race And Other Adventures! from Proper Distribution; Q Pootle 5 giant playing cards, 4in1 shaped puzzles, and a 35pc puzzle from Jumbo Games; two picture books courtesy of Walker Books and a copy of Q Pootle 5 Magazine from Egmont Publishing.

To enter simple leave a comment on this blog post -. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply. We will pick 4 lucky winners from all the comments received by midnight on Sunday 9th November.

You can keep up-to-date on the latest Q Pootle 5 news via the Facebook page:

Nick Butterworth is the multi-million selling, award-winning author and illustrator of Q Pootle 5Percy The Park KeeperTigerAlbert Le Blanc and The Whisperer. He has sold over 15 million books worldwide and his books have been published in more than 30 languages. He is also executive producer, production designer and writer of hit CBeebies animated series Q Pootle 5.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in Authors, Books and reading, Competition and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to Guest post and Giveaway: Nick Butterworth

  1. deel says:

    We love books.

  2. Sally says:

    I love to read and hope my 4 year old grows to enjoy reading as much as I do.
    We read together everyday. I would love to win one of the Q Pootle bundles x

  3. sharon says:

    my Little man loves books, on choosing a book for his bedtime story he always returns with three or four books… decisions decisions, then we spend another 10 minutes deciding on one… Would love to be a lucky winner of a Q Pootle Bundle, what a fab prize 🙂

  4. Ana-Maria says:

    Hello!I would love to win,my little boy loves the stories,the books and the puzzles as well.Thanks

  5. I LOVE your Ode to a Book! Now that my 9yo devours books by himself I truly miss reading aloud to him. It’s not something you appreciate totally at the time, as a first time parent, I think. But, I now treasure the reading time with my 5yo, knowing that the time will come he won’t need me 😦 , because I will have given him the love of books 🙂 Thank you for this :))

  6. Alison Wright says:

    I adore reading, as does my partner and it makes me so happy sitting watching my almost three year old getting excited by books. She loves watching the TV show and will adore being read the stories and relating it to what she has already seen. Keep it coming

  7. Laura says:

    Q Pootle is one of my four year old son’s favourite programmes – I would love to win this bundle for him.

  8. Natasha Gandy says:

    I have read to all my children and love the time spent doing this. Really opens up some important chats about what is happening in life and lets them tell you any issues they have. Loads of time for cuddles too – everyone should read with their children x

  9. Hannah walker says:

    My little boy is 4 years old and can’t sit still for a minute whilst I read to him, but I’m sure this collection would keep him interested enough to park his bottom for a few minutes he he x

  10. I agree with you totally that reading to your child is one of the best things to do for both the parent and the child. From as young as 1 I started reading to both of my children. They were enrolled in our local library before they were 2. My eldest son is now 16 and has come out with A’s and A*’s in all his GCSE’s. My other little boy is only 4. He has complex special needs but for the past year has been obsessed with reading, spelling etc. We have our special time every night, where we turn the tv, ipad etc off and sit down together for story time. Due to his amazing ability to pick things up very quickly, he is now able to sound out many words himself in a book. Even though he has started to become an independent reader in some aspects, I will still share our reading time together , for many years to come and treasure it.

  11. Kerryn Newton-Edwards says:

    ❤ Would be a super bumper Christmas pressie: )

  12. jojoka1963 says:

    My 3 year old loves books, whether it’s reading with us, by herself (making up stories from the pictures) or taking one of our books and trying to recognise words from the pages!
    She happens to love watching Q Pootle 5, and I have to say did not know there was any merchandise too. We shall be looking to buying her something for Christmas, or at least encourage her to add some to her Christmas wishlist to Father Christmas 🙂

  13. Ellen Gordon says:

    This would light up my children’s eyes, we all love reading

  14. Jennifer Bradley says:

    My 5 year old would love these goodies 🙂 x

  15. Tanja says:

    I’ve always loved books which resulted my son having books from very early on- I have to confess though that sometimes I get and read him books just because I want to know what the book is about!!

  16. Diane Barber says:

    My son would love this as his birthday is on the 9th. He loves books and space.

  17. Maya says:

    I love to read to my little boy!We read together and after we talk.He loves books about spaceship. We’ve created together a nice poem about a moon :Moon shed a tear
    Moon give me fear
    Moon light my way
    Moon after day .
    He was so thrilled!! He would love to win Q Pootle bundles ,he watches it every day!!!x

  18. Swazi says:

    My boy loves Q Pootle 5 and I really enjoy hearing the aliens with familiar voices like Stacey and Mr Carson in particular 🙂

  19. Alison Turnnidge says:

    My almost 4yr old loves sounding out words and reading along with me, thank you for the chance to win a great birthday gift and christmas stocking filler 🙂

  20. Rebecca squires says:

    i struggled to read up until I got introduced to Harry Potter I now love reading and cannot wait until my boys are bigger to introduce then to the wizarding world I think it would of definitely helped if my parents had made more of an effort to read to me as a child and so encourage my boys to love books as much as I do xx

  21. Leia Baldock says:

    We absolutely love Q Pootle 5 and all other Nick Butterworth stories. I really look forward to story time and don’t mind if i have to read his stories again and again and again……which can’t be said for all stories we have!

  22. louise evans says:

    My son has a bookcase full of books in his bedroom & we read every day. Fuel for the imagination xx

  23. Karen Adie says:

    I loved reading as a child, and I’m so pleased that my two daughters (4 and 2 years old) love books too. They’d be thrilled with the Q Pootle 5 goodies; although my 4 year old insists it’s called “Cute Little 5”.

  24. I loved reading this! My two children are total bookworms, just like me!

  25. Nell Pink says:

    I was pleasantly surprised when I realised Q Pootle 5 was by Nick Butterworth. I have enjoyed reading his Percy The Park Keeper set to pre school children. I have tried to get my own young kids into them but they are not quite ready for the longer stories. However, Q Pootle 5 is a highlight in the morning on Cbeebies, and I do hope to get them into Percy soon.

  26. Rosemary Wright says:

    What a lovely prize to win, there is nothing better than books that capture the imagination of a child.

  27. My three year old daughter loves to read and is amazing at memorizing her favourite books already! We would love to win the Q Pootle bundle as it’s one of the childrens programmes i don;t mind watching with her!

  28. Rachel Barnes says:

    Totally agree with this fab blog, reading with kids is, in my opinion, thr most important thing we can do as parents. I’ve read every day eith my boy from a wee age and now at 3 he is reading simple sentences independently and should, I hope, be reading books by the time he starts school. Some fab advice here too; thabk you!

  29. Jen says:

    I swear my 18 month old can secretly read. Will find him in a corner “reading” books and chuckling to himself if I leave the room for a second… There’s nothing he loves more than wacky and weird characters!

  30. What a great poem! My daughter is 19 months and already loves books. I hope it continues…

  31. Wow ! Amazing prize and also amazing blog post . Reading is SO important! At the moment i am in an in-between phase with my four year old and we are trying to find books that captivate him! He is all about facts and figures oh and Superheroes!

  32. We would love to win this prize, my daughter is a big fan of Pootle, her favourite character is Ray and she also loves books so this prize would be perfect!

  33. Jo Sumner says:

    My son has Down Syndrome and doesn’t speak very clearly but gets so animated with books and story time as he is a visual learner. He uses makaton signs and signs what he sees and has learnt so many action words from looking at books. Its lovely reading a story with him as well as watching him look at books independently. It really helps me to understand what he knows as well.

  34. Beverley Ley says:

    Love reading with my son. He is already well ahead in his reading levels at school, we are very proud of him, Bedtime just wouldn’t be the same without a story!

  35. Sarah Walsh says:

    Fantastic blog! The ability to read really does open up the whole world and beyond. My 6yo daughter is lucky enough to be a fluent reader. I think because we share a passion for books. We love the routine of our bedtime stories, she has a great understanding of the world around us and the fantasy one that resides in her head thanks to all the books we have read and most importantly when we read together I’m no longer moaning mummy, nagging mummy, tired mummy, got no time mummy but I get to be cool voice storytelling mummy 😃! It’s our special time every day (sometimes several times when she can’t make up her mind which book to read haha) and I hope she remembers it fondly when I’m no longer here as I remember so well with my own mum… Q Pootle 5 is also a regular fixture in our house and we’d love to win the giveaway to donate to her school as they are in the process of raising funds to improve their library. We’ve just read “Ode to a book”. All the things you describe we have just felt reading together, the funny voices, the conversation going off on a tangent and stopping to show me a picture of her favourite fictional character…. All that being said I could just repeat my daughter’s words “that was awesome mum”… 😃👍

  36. Laura Churchill says:

    My favourite time of the day is story time with my little lady 🙂


    What a great way to introduce your children to the joy of reading for pure pleasure!

  38. Mel Reynolds says:

    A story (or 2,3,4…..) with my little ones is part of their bedtime routine since they were tiny. Something we all look forward to (and us parents secretly enjoy putting on different voices for each character!!)

  39. Toni Austin says:

    I love reading books to my boys, i have always done so ever since my eldest was a baby, he’s 10 now, even though 3 out of 4 are very capable readers they still love it when i read to them at night. We had the first Q pootle 5 book when it first came out, they’ve all loved it

  40. Katy says:

    An ode to mums – love it. Trying to inspire my son with books at the moment. Seems to be working 🙂

  41. danibella2000 says:

    I loved reading so much as a child that my mum couldn’t ground me as I would happily curl up with a book. She had to threatened to make me play out! I can’t wait to start reading to my little one when they arrive.

  42. marva says:

    My sons will complain that their life is quite boring, when doing their duties and things they call ‘chore-ing’,
    But when that’s all done and they’re ready for bed, a “happy ever after” keeps them smiling instead.

  43. Michele says:

    My 4 yr old son loves books and reading, he has loads of books many are his favourites and some are mine handed down!

  44. stephanie coffell says:

    me and my daughter love q pootle 5 its a lovely cartoon and really interesting brilliant prize good luck everyone xxx

  45. Miss Kayleigh Parker says:

    These stories look brilliant, they sound like they would really capture my childrens imagination and transport them into space so they could act out their own space adventure after reading them. Ive found the books that do this are the best instaed of reading them a book and that be he end, actually carrying on playing the stoy afterwards gives them so much more. And who wouldnt love the chracters they are super cute, cool amd just how you imagine friendly aliens to be ! My kids would love to collect these.

  46. Pippa McCabe says:

    Q-pootle’s a fav in our house 🙂

  47. Karen says:

    My 6 yr old daughter gets so into her stories she wants to read the whole book in 1 go to find out what happens, she loves Q Pootle 5; my 4 year old is just starting her learning to read journey she loves being read to so I reckon that’s a great start.

  48. olivia280177 says:

    A lovely prize – I have a 3 and 5 year old, and they both love books.

  49. Keryna Marcus says:

    My little boy adooores Q Pootle 5 xx

  50. abi says:

    My 2 year old son loves books hes always bringing me them to read we spend hours each day reading books are the firdt thing he goes to in a shop not toys, I enjoyed reading the ode to a book love to win the q pootle 5 sent for my son x

  51. Louisa says:

    My 4 year old loves reading and we both love watching this snuggled up together

  52. Faye Edwards says:

    Reading for some kids doesn’t come easy. As a parent of a severely dyslexic child I am constantly trying to find any book that will engage and inspire. Any book such as this, that makes the huge climb of reading feel more like a Sunday stroll is gold dust!

  53. Alana Troup says:

    Just started reading to my little one before her bedtime. She’s 4 months old. I started getting Disney books before she was born so I could read her all the classics 🙂 xx

  54. Suzy says:

    I love a poorly 5!

    Urm, I mean my daughter, of course…!

  55. Suzy says:

    Ok, so my spell check doesn’t get q pootle 5!

  56. Lisa says:

    My little five year old girl loves Qpootle5, to win this bundle for her would be fantastic!

  57. Alison Walsh says:

    Wee one would love these

  58. jenni shoreman says:

    My little one loves Percys and Pootles adventures, the current time on cbeebies gets the day off to a great start!

  59. Gill Winter says:

    Fantastic programme when on I can’t take my eyes off it

  60. Gill Winter says:

    Our family love q pootle and would love the chance to win this fantastic prize

  61. ying Ma says:

    This is the only TV program that can keep my little one quiet in the morning while i feed and dress her. She would be over the moon with this gift.

  62. Sally says:

    i used to have a chicken called pootlewhich my daughter, who loves this programme, is quite impressed by! They all love nick butterworths books, as do I!

  63. clare kendle says:

    Q pootle is amazing and has encouraged my 3yr old to want bedtime stories read every night . Thank you Nick,great author!

  64. Lora Massey says:

    Just like everyone else on here, my 3 children love Q Pootle, Nick Butterwort’s books and reading in general. There is nothing better a child can do with their spare time than to immerse themselves in some wonderful book. And there are, thankfully, so many wonderful books out there!

  65. daniella diffin says:

    Would love to win this for my son!

  66. lisa cook says:

    We love books and my children absolutely love q pootle x

  67. Mel Ashman says:

    We love Q Pootle 5 and all his friends 😉

  68. Kirsty Handley says:

    i love reading and my boys love a bedtime story. My eldest has started to read and often wants to take over and read to his brothers.

  69. Kirsty Handley says:

    i love reading. My now 6 year old enjoys reading books to his baby brother already and good I can utilise all of our books again as the 8 week old grows.

  70. Sally Kirkpatrick says:

    Not entirely sure who loves QPootle5 the most, my son or Daddy? Always no it’s on when they start shouting ‘Upsy wait!’ With the opening titles!

  71. pauline says:

    quiet moments are made for the magic mums when the little ones are engrossed watching q pootle

  72. Neil Gile says:

    Fantastic show 😀

  73. Kimberley Clarke says:

    I’ve been reading to my little boy since he was 2 weeks old! He’s 4 and a half months old now and he gets so excited when we read a book! He also likes to watch q pootle 5 in the morning so this would be perfect!

  74. Michelle Rennie says:

    good luck everyone x

  75. Gemma says:

    My little girl loves Pootle, It’s a favourite in our house. Great blog as well

  76. Louise stewart says:

    My 7 and 3 year old both love this show and both love to read books. They like to read the book then go back to the beggining and make up their own version with the pictures

  77. Heather Wright says:

    Wow! Fantastic article!

    My two year old loves Q Pootle 5 and she loves books!!

    I’ve shared this article on my school’s social media (I’m a primary school teacher). It endorses our current push on reading for enjoyment 🙂


    District Reader: Lifetime Achiever!

  78. Summerbloom says:

    My 3 year old loves Q Pootle and all of Nick Butterworth’s books – I love reading them to her.

  79. Kelly says:

    We love books and story time cuddles
    We love mud and jumping in puddles
    We love doing things together
    Like watching Q Pootle in really bad weather!

  80. helen anderson says:

    Love love Q pootle 5……♡♡♡♡

  81. Tracey Liveley says:

    My three year old loves Q pootle 5, everything we go to a leisure complex near to us, he always says “looks there is planet Dave!”

  82. c hall says:

    Love bedtime stories 🙂

  83. Emma Salisbury says:

    I love to read and seem to have passed this on to my children. My 3 eldest love reading especially my eldest who reads a variety of genres. My youngest is only 16 months but loves touch and feel books – his favourite story book is Dear Zoo at the moment.

  84. 2point5children says:

    My daughter absolutely adores books and reading – she’d love these!

  85. maxine m partridge says:

    super giveaway thanks

  86. Karen Johnstone says:

    We are a family that loves to read! Our daughter (now 11) said her first word at 9 months….”book” 🙂

  87. Reading to my four ids has always been a massive priority, everyone loves the closeness just reading a book together can bring, and q Pootle is brilliant, who wouldn’t love this! Thanks so much for the giveaway! Much luck everyone! 😉

  88. Jen says:

    I love nick butterworths books, he talks about engaging a child and his story’s do just that! I would say he is the 2nd most popular author in our house (sorry but Julia Donaldson comes first, with the gruffalo).

  89. angela says:

    My 10 year old loves reading, preferably funny stories! The funnier the better!

  90. Nicole Beauchamp says:

    My daughter loves us reading to her and knows some by heart.

  91. sharon dickson says:

    I love your tips on reading to children. My two year old loves books but I really need to make more of a story time routine. Thanks for the motivation.

  92. Amy Mills says:

    Love your books!!!

  93. Heather says:

    My little boy is 18 months and loves reading books with me. He regularly brings me book after book to read together. It’s the only time I can keep him still!

  94. lynne collins says:

    Heartily agree, I love reading to my 2 year old Grand daughter,Edie and it is Quality time spent together,Hopefully she will inherit her nannies love of reading!!

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