Marvin: Hello, I’m Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol. And today, for Read a Book Day, I’m reading First Day at Bug School with Councillor Ellie King, who is the cabinet member for libraries – including Bristol’s Central Library, where we are today.

Ellie: Just like you, the bugs in Miss Bumblebee’s class are back to school this week. In Bristol, we know that bees and pollinators like her are very important for our parks, allotments, and green spaces, helping our flowers and food to grow.

Marvin: So, we have a fantastic book, and all of that is why we’re filling the Bearpit and other parts of our city with more wildflowers and trees, and adding green roofs on bus stops and green walls to buildings, to really help make Bristol even friendlier for all bugs and insects that live here.

Ellie: We want to thank Bristol Libraries, which are home to more than 700,000 books in 27 libraries across the city. We’ve borrowed this book from them, and we’re grateful to Vicky, Josie, Frances, and Kate for opening Central Library a little early for us to read it to you.

Marvin: And it is a little bit early! And, of course, we also want to thank the author and the illustrator, Sam Lloyd, for these fantastic pictures; Bloomsbury Children’s Books; and Book Trust for sharing First Day at Bug School with us for Read a Book Day 2022. So let’s get started. But before we do, Ellie, we’ve got some fantastic bugs here. Which is your favourite?

Ellie: I quite like the yellow slug.

Marvin: The yellow slug? Okay. I think I like this green… I’m not sure what he is… but he’s got two big pincers at the top.

So, let’s get started.

Ellie: I should have chosen the spider with glasses!

Marvin: You should have chosen the spider, okay, well we can re-visit.

[First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd]

At the bottom of the garden, where no one really sees, a secret school is hidden amongst the grass and weeds. Listen… can you hear it? A tiny school bell rings…

Ellie: “Welcome,” smiles Miss Bumblebee, “to all you creepy, slimy things.” “It’s your first day at bug school, but don’t be scared or shy. You’ll have the best time ever, so wave mummy and daddy bye-bye.”

Marvin: It’s time to take the register. Miss Bumblebee puts on her glasses. Then when that’s done, the time has come, to take everyone to their classes.

Ellie: In Spider Class little Sid learns to creep about. But Mr Wincey warns him, “Don’t go up a water spout!”

Marvin: That would be dangerous. Rain comes down, and all sorts of things! In Music Class, Chloe Cricket sings loudly through the day. She’s learning a new song for the Bug School summer play.

Ellie: Lucy Ladybird is learning maths by counting her friend’s spots. It’s so very lucky that he’s got lots and lots!

Marvin: With a fantastic picture of ladybirds. Yummy! It’s time for Bug School lunch. The ants will help you with your tray. And when it’s all been eaten up, you can go outside and play.

Ellie: There are things to climb on, things to slide on, things to squash and mend. And little Daisy Dragonfly has made a brand new friend.

Marvin: In the toilets Sylvester Snail is being oh so slow! Billy Beetle bangs on the door. “Be quick! I need to go!” Fergus Fly mucks about, tickling Stink Bug’s belly. “Poo! Let’s get out of here – bug toilets are so smelly!”

Ellie: Freddie Flea is so excited – it’s time to do P.E. “Hopping, skipping, jumping. It’s the perfect class for me!”

Marvin: Gosh – it’s story time already, about a super little slug. Hurry now, Kevin Caterpillar, and settle quietly on the rug. Then, listen, can you hear it? A tiny school bell rings…

Ellie: … It’s time to say bye-bye to these clever little things. All the bugs at Bug School have had such a lot of fun. “Can we come again tomorrow?” shouts out everyone.

Marvin: And we finish with a fantastic picture of the Bug School, and all the bugs in their different classes. And, I’ve just learned that my favourite bug from the cover was actually a beetle.

Ellie: Good choice.

Marvin: Did you want to re-visit, to see which was your favourite, because you chose a slug?

Ellie: I do like the orange spider.

Marvin: Yep, I think I also like what looks like a grasshopper as well – just here.

So it sounds like the bugs had an amazing first day at school. We hope that your first day at school was fantastic, and the year to come is really enjoyable for you.


Mayor Marvin reads First Day at Bug School

To celebrate Read a Book Day today – and mark the start of a new term – Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees and Councillor Ellie King read First Day at Bug School.

The children’s book, by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Sam Lloyd, is one of 700,000 books available across Bristol’s 27 libraries.

From First Day at Bug School

Published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Text and Illustrations by © Sam Lloyd, 2016