Keep the kids quiet this half-term with Julia Donaldson’s classic books on BBC iPlayer

Much loved children's stories The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man and Zog are just a few of the magical animations available to watch for free.

Julia Donaldson reading a book with the Gruffalo sat beside her
(Image credit: Getty)

Julia Donaldson's classic children's books the The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man and Zog are just some of the magical animations and are available to watch on iPlayer - perfect for keeping the kids quiet this May half-term.

If you're looking for ways to keep the children entertained as you head away for a half-term break and want to stay clear of the fake Bluey episodes on YouTube then check out the nine offerings BBC iPlayer has - with magical animations of Julia Donaldson's much-loved stories.

Whether your child is a fan of The Gruffalo, Stick Man, Zog, Room on the Broom, Superworm, The Highway Rat, or The Snail and the Whale, there is something for all. With programmes running from 25 to 27 minutes each, watching all nine will give you approximately 3.8 hours worth of screen time for your youngsters - enabling you to get on with vital tasks or to binge watch your own Netflix series.

As we look at all you need to know about the free magical animations...

Julia Donaldson BBC iPlayer

(Image credit: BBC iPlayer)

Simply log on to BBC iPlayer and search for Julia Donaldson and you will see all her best works, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, come to life.

Julia Donaldson's animations:

  • The Gruffalo - The magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut when he meets three predators who all wish to eat him - a fox, an owl and a snake - the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive. He announces that he is meeting a monster with terrible features, a 'gruffalo'. Featuring the voices of Robbie Coltrane (The Gruffalo), James Corden (Mouse), Helena Bonham Carter (Squirrel), Rob Brydon (Snake), John Hurt (Owl), Tom Wilkinson (Fox), Sam Lewis (First Small Squirrel) and Phoebe Givron-Taylor (Second Small Squirrel)
  • The Gruffalo's child - One wild and windy night, the Gruffalo's child ignores her father's warnings and bravely tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse. She meets Snake, Owl and Fox, but there is no sign of the fabled Mouse. He doesn't really exist... or does he? Featuring the voices of Helena Bonham Carter (Mother Squirrel), Rob Brydon (Snake), Robbie Coltrane (Gruffalo), James Corden (Mouse), Shirley Henderson (Gruffalo's Child), John Hurt (Owl), Tom Wilkinson (Fox), Sam Lewis (First Little Squirrel) and Phoebe Givron-Taylor (Second Little Squirrel).

The Gruffalo and Edith Bowman

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Room on the Broom - A kind witch invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat. The gang ultimately saves the witch from a fearsome dragon, and in gratitude she rewards them with a magnificent new broom which has room for everyone. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson (Witch), Rob Brydon (Cat), Martin Clunes (Dog), Sally Hawkins (Bird), Simon Pegg (Narrator), Timothy Spall (Dragon) and David Walliams (Frog). 
  • Stick Man - Stick Man tells the tale of a happy-go-lucky father's epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas. Join Stick Man on an incredible adventure across the seasons as he runs from a playful dog, gets thrown in a river, escapes from a swan's nest and even ends up on top of a fire. Will he get back to his family in time for Christmas? Featuring the voices of Hugh Bonneville (Santa), Rob Brydon (Snail, Park-keeper, Swan Dad, Frog, Beach Dad, Crab and Cat), Martin Freeman (Stick Man), Sally Hawkins (Stick Lady, Pigeon, Swan Mum, Robin), Jennifer Saunders (Narrator), Russell Tovey (Dog). Plus Anouska White (Pooh Bridge Girl), Eve Bentley (Pooh Bridge Girlfriend/Firewood Girl), Ben Jenkinson (Pooh Bridge Boy/Stick Boy), Elliot Kelly (Beach Boy/Snowman Boy), Ella Sutton (Beach Girl), Isabel Ainsworth (Stick Girl) and Eden Muckle (Stick Toddler.
  • Zog - The story of a keen young dragon who wants to learn how to fly, roar and breathe fire in his first years at Dragon School. He is desperate to impress his teacher and win a golden star, but he is accident-prone, and each year he has to be helped by a kind young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises. In year four, he has to capture a princess - can the young girl help him with his trickiest challenge yet? Featuring the voices of Sir Lenny Henry as the narrator, Hugh Skinner as Zog, Tracey Ullman as Madame Dragon, Patsy Ferran as Princess Pearl, Kit Harington as Sir Gadabout and some added vocals by Rob Brydon.
  • Zog and the Flying Doctors - Zog and Gadabout try to rescue Princess Pearl, who has been locked up in her uncle's castle.
  • Superworm - Superworm is a long, strong worm with amazing skills and a big heart, who keeps on saving the day. But what happens when he gets too full of himself and starts to ignore his friends?
  • The Snail and the Whale - A beautiful tale of an unlikely friendship, a tour of the world and a heroic rescue.
  • The Highway Rat - The Highway Rat tells the tale of a ravenous rat who craves buns, biscuits and all sweet things. Tearing along the highway, he searches for sugary treats to steal, until his sweet tooth leads him to a sticky end. Featuring the voices of David Tennant (Highway Rat), Rob Brydon (Narrator), Frances de la Tour (Rabbit), Tom Hollander (Squirrel), Nina Sosanya (Duck) and Husaam Kiani (Kitten).

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)