World Book Day – storytelling session at C’s pre-school

So, today I’ve had pretty much the most brilliantly bookish morning I could ever have hoped for (not even marred by the fact that my car failed its MOT quite comprehensively, grrrrrrrr).  It was an utterly wonderful way to celebrate World Book Day 2013.

A month or so ago, I was asked if I would like to do a storytelling session at C’s pre-school for World Book Day.  I didn’t just jump at the chance, I did a series of high kicks and gazelle-like leaps, then immediately started worrying about how I could possibly narrow down my options for the books I’d like to share.

Luckily, the pre-school is very tolerant of my book / reading obsession (I’ve already helped to create their library of story sacks) and they kindly said I could take over as much of the morning session as I’d like, meaning that I could use more than one book.  I therefore chose three books to use with the children (and deliberately chose ones I thought they might not all have come across), but snuck in mentions of a few more with stealth-like cunning…

We started off the session talking about our costumes.  C and I had had a long discussion about choosing a character that originated in a book rather than in a film or a TV series (those who’ve read any previous posts will know where this is going) as there was only one person C would even contemplate.  Yep, please welcome back the fifth member of our family – Fireman Sam.  In the end, we compromised and he conceded that Fireman Sam *might* have been one of the firefighters who tried to help Floyd in Oliver Jeffers’ awesome (and much loved by us) book, ‘Stuck‘.  He then clutched the book with him at all times and showed it to all his friends, so mission (sort of) accomplished.

I, on the other hand, had no such conviction about my own costume as it didn’t even occur to me until last night that I should probably wear one.  Given the limited timeframe, I was actually quite pleased with the end result and was even happier that I got to tell all the children about the book.

Can you guess who I am?




Yep, I dug out my childhood copy of ‘Burglar Bill‘, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – complete with shakily handwritten name – from my loft treasures and ferreted through my mountains of stripy clothes, after which I fashioned a quick eye-mask and swag bag.


Anyway, onto the storytelling session.  I was a little nervous beforehand, but I’m very fortunate to have retained a good memory for names from my teaching days, so I was able to address the children personally pretty quickly which really helped.  What clinched it, however, were the totally fab books, all three of which the children seemed to go completely bananas for.

The first one we read was ‘Iggy Peck, Architect’, by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (published by Harry N. Abrams).


The children loved the all the different materials that Iggy uses to build his various constructions and this led really nicely into the main activities I had planned.  We split the children into four groups and they each had a chance to visit each activity table.  I was very conscious about not specifying any particular outcomes (the teacher in me always starts to think along those lines) as this was simply about having fun with books.  As is always the case though, lots of lovely learning took place and the teachers even said they might try the food-based activity again as they thought the children had got a lot out of it.  Yay!

Here’s what we did:

  • Table 1 – the children could build something from Duplo / Mega Bloks / Stickle Bricks.
  • Table 2 – the children could construct anything they liked from items that I’d asked all the parents to bring in out of their recycling boxes.
  • Table 3 – the children had some big sheets of paper and used collage and crayons (and a LOT of extra glue) to create their own buildings.  I left them with a copy of ‘You Choose’ to peruse as a stimulus, so they could look at the double page spread of buildings.
  • Table 4 – the children could use spaghetti, marshmallows, breadsticks and strawberry liquorice laces to build anything they liked (I tried to recreate the suspension bridge that Iggy and his classmates built, but failed miserably).
I had positioned myself on Table 4 as I thought it would be messiest activity and I wanted to minimise the impact on the teachers.  I was right about the mess, but even so I was so glad to be chatting to the children and watching how they played with the different materials and the various ways they used them to build things.  I have tried this activity with 9-10 year olds in the past, but clearly 3-4 year olds approached it very differently, albeit with equally exciting results.
I can’t share any photos on here as the children are in them all, but I was so impressed with how creative and inspiring their ideas were.  It’s reaffirmed my thoughts about wanting to work more within an Early Years setting as part of Story Seekers – something I never thought I’d say, as I always had myself down very much as a ‘top juniors’ kind of gal.
To finish off, I had brought in our Ikea crocodile draught excluder from home and we read ‘Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite‘, by Nick Bromley, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne (published by Nosy Crow).


To say this book was a hit would be MASSIVELY underselling it.  I couldn’t possibly have predicted just how much the children would enter into the spirit of it and want to get physically involved (my crocodile prop played a very active role in things!) and just how rapt they would be when listening to a great story.  I really love the book too and I’m sure my enjoyment of it (as well as the obligatory silly voices and actions) helped, but I was still over the moon with how excited they were.

The final book was also an interactive one and was just as well received as the previous two.  We finished off with ‘Press Here‘, by Hervé Tullet (published by Chronicle Books).


C and H just love, love, LOVE this book at the moment and it seems that the children today felt the same way too.  Each child took a turn to follow the instructions on the page (press this dot, tap that dot, shake the book, etc) and they were blown away by the ‘magical’ effects their actions were having.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough and I the teachers also pointed out how cleverly it uses children’s knowledge of colours, counting and observation as well as just being stonking good FUN.

I’d love to go back and do more sessions at the pre-school if they’ll have me, although it’s probably not that practical for M to take annual leave each time to look after H as he did today.  Regardless, I’ll definitely be back for World Book Day 2014 when I’ll have another year’s worth of books to choose from 🙂



  1. Ah Loll, this warms my heart so much! How utterly wonderful. Your generosity, the school’s openness, the kids’ enthusiasm. This is exactly what makes life worth living, isn’t it!

    When your youngest starts at nursery, why not offer one slot a week or a fortnight to go in and do this sort of thing? If the school will have you, I think it will obviously be so enriching for the kids, but it will also give you the sort of experience and feedback that is so vital for building Storyseekers. I’m sure you’ll reap rewards beyond your bravest dreams.

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words and support, Zoe. I think I’ll definitely offer to get involved more once H is there a few afternoons a week. The session really did give me the motivation to keep going with Story Seekers and I had a glimpse of what it could become if I put the work in, which I’m very excited about doing. Perhaps I’ll even end up doing some school library work too – that would be ace!

  2. Loll, you are a star. What lovely ideas and such brilliant reactions. You have a knack for this, I agree with Zoe, go back for more when you can! Well done you 🙂

    1. Thanks Carmen! Not sure I’m at Rainbow Library levels yet but I’m loving it and am very excited about the future 🙂

  3. Fantastic stuff, just one of these would have been ace, but all three! What lucky children, and great that it helped you be confident about working in early years (and by the way, if you showed me this blog post as advertising for Storyseekers I would be signing up my children like a shot.)

    1. Helen, you are soooo lovely 🙂 It’s great to affirm that the main tool anyone needs is enthusiasm for their subject. All the other extras are lovely, but you it’s possible to motivate people with your passion alone 🙂

  4. […] sounds absolutely astonishing and it is most definately worth clicking here to read more. Click […]

  5. It is always such a thrill to see creative parents like you sharing IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT with kids. What a fun event! Just to let you know, Iggy will soon have company out in the world. ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER will be out in September! She has her own facebook page: Enjoy!!!

  6. Wow, Andrea – it’s BRILLIANT to hear from you! Thanks so much for commenting – C and H are over the moon that that *actual* author of Iggy Peck has been on the blog 🙂 We are VERY excited about Rosie Revere’s book and feel pretty sure it’ll get a sparkling feature on here. I will keep my eyes firmly peeled for its publication and may even get a chance to share it in a storytelling session!

    1. Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts on IGGY with your readers! Hope you enjoy ROSIE, too! Have fun!

  7. […] by Nosy Crow) and did the same thing as I did at C’s pre-school on World Book Day (you can read all about it here) with a huge crocodile soft toy and lots of interaction, which the book so brilliantly […]

  8. […] You can read all about it here. […]

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