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Burglar Bill

burglar billJanet and Allan Ahlberg
Age 5-7

Burglar Bill is a modern classic with a likeable villain who can’t resist stealing. But one day he takes a box containing a big surprise – a baby! When Bill himself is burgled he meets Burglar Betty, the woman of his dreams who happens to be the mother of the baby. There’s a happy ending when they decide to live an honest life – together!


Share the story

Read aloud
Read the story aloud and leave space for your child to join in with the repeated phrases, such as “I’ll have that!” Stop now and again to talk about it together, commenting on the pictures or what is happening in the story.

Talk about the story
Ask children to choose their favourite page and tell you what they like about it. Is there anything they don’t like?

Tell the story
Children can tell the story as Bill, with a torch, a swag-bag over their shoulders and a cardboard box with a toy baby inside.

Watch the story


Things to make and do

Make a wanted poster
Using paper, pens and crayons, children can make a wanted poster for Burglar Bill. What does he look like? They can draw him, write a description of him and maybe offer a reward for his capture.

Write a letter to say sorry
Burglar Bill decides to lead an honest life and wants to write to apologise to all the people he has stolen from. Children can write a letter, as Bill, to say sorry and suggest what he can do to make amends, or you can scribe it for them.

Play a memory game
On a tray, put five small objects from around the house ‘stolen’ by Burglar Bill.

Give children a few minutes to look at them and remember them. Then hide the tray and ask them to recall the stolen objects for the ‘police report’. Add another object and let them try again. Alternatively, remove one object and see if children can identify the missing article. You can repeat this, removing a different object each time.


Find out more

See an animated extract of Burglar Bill:


Read more books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg:

The Boyhood of Burglar Bill (for age 8+)

Cops and Robbers


The Baby’s Catalogue

Each Peach Pear Plum

The Jolly Postman

The Jolly Christmas Postman


Buy online