Category Archives: School & Library Visits

World Book Day Costumes

Is World Book Day is out of control? I know some schools think so and are not going along with it anymore. Certainly parents are driven to distraction by it. The getting of costumes is now a regular joke in TV sitcoms.

My attention was drawn to a post on the Birmingham Mail website about World Book Day. Most of the post is about costumes and where to buy them.

World Book Day is supposed to promote literacy, but the costumes are often far removed from books. Supermarkets pile up costumes for WBD, knowing that frazzled parents will buy them to stop the kids nagging and not to lose face at the school gate. Never mind that the costume probably promotes a movie, sport or computer game.

When I’m asked to judge a fancy dress at a school, I immediately eliminate anything that has come from ASDA. The kids with amazing, shop-bought costumes look confused when I choose some kid wrapped up in bin bags and granny’s old hat. That’s what I call dressing up.

Image from the Birmingham Mail web post. Great Trump costume, but what is the book the child is celebrating – Fire and Fury or The Art of the Deal? Not Primary school books either way!

World Book Day is supposed to be about celebrating books and promoting literacy. Many children come dressed as footballers, superheroes, princesses in bridesmaid dresses or other famous movie or computer game characters, in off-the-shelf costumes. I’m always asking them, “Yes, but what book are you supposed to be?”

Schools – It’s okay to NOT dress up on World Book Day.

Leave dressing up to a special end of term dressing-up day or Halloween, when it doesn’t really matter what anyone dresses up as or how.

Celebrate the book on World Book Day, not football or Disney.

Learn to draw Cat and Dog – Big Cat Series

I am so thrilled to finally have copies of How to Draw Cat and Dog.

I’ve been using the Cat and Dog books in reception and nurseries for some time and I’m always amazed – sometimes almost moved to tears – by the quality of the drawing the very young children draw along with me.

I’ve wanted to make this book for a while and finally convinced Big Cat to let me do it. It’s also a phonics book, which made it hard choosing the right words to describe key words for explaining drawing, that I couldn’t use because of the language levels. For circles – I used rings.

I am so proud of how it came out. Many thanks to my editor, Catherine Coe, for helping to squeeze it all into the phonics box.

Cat and Dog teach you how to draw cat and dog in a story – yes, there is a story too! Learn also how to draw a tree so Cat has somewhere to hide when Dog starts chasing. With all that drawing, you have everything you need to write and illustrate a simple story – even key words.

What more could anyone want in a Reception/Kindergarten/Early years Foundation class?




Hooray for the Summer Reading Challenge!

I gather this year has been a good one for the Summer Reading Challenge, a scheme to keep children’s reading habits going over the long summer holiday. I don’t think that was ever a problem for me as a child – always happy to go to the library for another Enid Blyton – but I must admit, I’d pretty much forgotten everything  else I’d learned at school from the previous year, come the first day of the autumn term!

Prize giving day for the Summer Reading Challenge at Bream Library – Forest of Dean



I posted once before about how I was involved in the first ever Summer Reading Challenge, an idea dreamed up by Andrea Reece at Hodder Children’s Books. So I’m always very happy to be asked to play a small part over the summer.

Last week, I went to Bream Library, just down the road, where I told some stories and handed out the medals and certificates to all the children who had completed their Challenge this summer – Well done all!

It seems the challenge has been a bit oversubscribed this year – probably due to the fallen value of the pound and everyone staycationing – I guess Brexit has a had a small positive influence on something after all!