My Blog


One of my earliest memories is of Dad popping a tiny round pebble into my hand. It was grey, with stripes radiating out from the centre – odd-looking but not very exciting.

“Watch!” said Dad. And if he hadn’t held my hand steady I’d have dropped it. All of a sudden, it uncurled, put out lots of little legs and marched confidently across my palm. “It’s a pill-bug!”

“Wow!” Surprise turned to wonder, and I’ve been fascinated by woodlice ever since. There are a few different species, all with hard, segmented bodies and seven pairs of legs. The Pill Woodlice that roll up into such perfect tight balls, go by the zoological name Armadillidium, and they really are the minibeast equivalent of the armoured armadillo.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is woodlouse-uncurled.jpg

We have many wonderful common names for woodlice too – assorted regional names like slaters, roly polies, chuggy pigs, sowbugs and monkey-peas, reflecting how widespread they are. Now, with the soil still damp and summer just around the corner, is the perfect time to find one. Just turn over a stone or log, or lift a plantpot, and see what’s underneath. If the ground is pebbly, look extra carefully. One of those tiny pebbles might have fourteen legs.

Woodlice are one of the stars of the RSPB’s My First Book of Garden Bugs by Mike Unwin and Tony Sanchez (A&C Black, 2009), which is still one of the best available introductions to garden minibeasts.


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7 thoughts on “My Blog

  1. I love your books!! I only have the answer to one of these about the spiders. The second picture: Night, Light, Sleep Tight on the page where Jack with the other ducklings are sleeping in their little nest with the beautiful stars around them! – no page numbers, but the second last page of your book. I love the bug on the opposite page too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Nikita, and well done for spotting the spider in the nest in Night, Light, Sleep Tight. I was just about to close this competition, so I am very happy to declare you the sharp-eyed winner! If you would like to send me your mailing address via my ‘Contact’ page, I’ll post a copy of the My Little Star boardbook to you.


  2. Dear Janet, I have received your LOVELY books today and the very special card! Thank you for the second book, it’s very special! I will definitely look out for that elusive second spider! 🙂 Thank you very much!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have spiders in my class and the children are always so scared of them – I tell them why they are there and now we have spider pets in our class. 🙂 I showed them the books today, they were over the moon and loved your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

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