The Library Blog

Just another Whitchurch School Blogs Sites site

January 18, 2017
by library

BBC 500 Words Competition

On Monday 16th January this year’s BBC 500 words competition was launched. This competition gives all children between 5 years and 13 years the opportunity to submit an original story of no more than 500 words to win some amazing prizes. I am delighted to be one of the judges this year and am looking forward to reading some fantastic stories. We would love children at school to enter the competition as we are very aware we have some very talented storytellers in school.

If your child is wondering where to start and is looking for inspiration they can watch the Live Lesson on the official website.Hosted by Blue Peter’s Barney Harwood and BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty, the lesson features acclaimed authors Malorie Blackman and Frank Cottrell Boyce. We’ll also be joined by some very special guests including Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Revolting Rhymes) and Arthur Parsons, Head of Design at TT Games, who make games such as LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens and LEGO Marvel’s Avengers.

This literacy Live Lesson explores setting, character and plot. Resources are tailored to different levels, but some of the higher-level content would be more appropriate for ages 7 and up. Click  on the live lesson link to find out more.

If you have any questions or to submit an entry please visit the BBC 500 words website for more information. This year’s final takes place at the Tower of London and all 50 shortlisted children will be invited to attend. Good Luck to everyone who enters!

December 5, 2016
by library

TES Class Reviews – Winter Term

This term our reviewers at school have been very busy reviewing four books for the TES Class Review feature. You can read reviews of all the books they have reviewed on their website.

Dotty Detective – Clara Vulliamy

Our year 2/3 Chatterbooks group reviewed two books. The first group Grace, Leon, Emily and Evie reviewed  ‘Dotty Detective’ by Clara Vulliamy – who visited our school earlier this year.



I like this book because Dotty just got to her new house and started school. On her table there was Amy Trotter, Frankie Logan, Dot, Beans and Laura Drew, a grumpy one. What I really like about this story is there wasn’t one mystery but three mysteries and they did not put any old chapter heading – they had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Grace, age 7

I like this book because it has great illustrations and it is displayed like a diary. It has lots of different fonts and some of the words are slanted. I like the fact that it is related to some other books and films, such as The Wizard of Oz.

Leon, age 7

This book is about a girl called Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, who has a dog called McClusky – top dog detective. I would recommend the book because it’s fun and there are lots of cliffhangers. The illustrations are quite detailed and I liked the ones of McClusky.

Emily, age 7

Dotty Detective is about a girl called Dot and a dog called McClusky. I like that Dot is adventurous like me and is really good at solving problems and McClusky is really good at sniffing out clues. I would recommend this book to children who love mysteries, dogs and detectives.

Evie, age 7

The Secret Pirate – Elli Woollard & Laura Ellen Anderson


Our second year 2/3 Chatterbooks group Owen, Millie, Archie and Maisie reviewed ‘The Secret Pirate’ by Elli Woollard and Laura Ellen Anderson.


A book about a secret squashbuckling pirate called Lil and her parrot called Carrot. The reader joins Lil on her adventures, stopping Stinkbeard, a mean and smelly pirate with a grubby beard. This books is perfect for ages six to eight, both boys and girls who enjoy adventures. I would recommend this book of rhyming tales because of the funny situations Lil gets into.

Owen, age 7

Swashbuckle Lil was amazing because it rhymed and was great to use expression. My favourite words were “Arr” and “Ahoy, me hearties”. The extremely funny illustrations were great – especially Stinkbeard, because he looked like a pile of mud shaped like a human with bugs in it. What a lovely book!

Millie, age 7

I liked the book because it rhymes and it makes you want to keep on reading. Also I liked the characters, especially Carrot the parrot, because he is a brave character. If you like pirates you will enjoy this book, and it’s also really funny. I would give it 4½ stars out of 5.

Archie, age 7

My first impression was that Lil is adventurous and is going to save people. I enjoyed how the parrot was called Carrot. Also I enjoyed how Lil was courageous and the book is exciting. Lil was very amazing at beating pirates that were bad. I liked the bit at the sports day where Lil scared Stinkbeard in the mud. I would like to read other Elli Woollard books.

Maisie, age 7

The Cat and the King – Nick Sharratt


Charlie, Hana, Grace, Owen and Dylan in Year 3 reviewed ‘The Cat and the King’ by Nick Sharratt.

The Cat and the King is a really funny but sometimes very silly story. My favourite character was the king, while he learns to do everyday things. It was a really good adventure as they got to learn about life in the city, and their neighbours had to learn how to deal with a dragon. I would give it five out of five.

Charlie, age 7

This book is awesome because the cat is really clever and the king is very strict (like most kings) but he is also very kind. If you get to read this book, make sure you read to the back of the book. I think this book is great

Hana, age 8

I enjoyed the book very much, particularly the part when the king sent a message to his new neighbours to invite them over for tea. They thought they would have to eat some really disgusting things, but it was actually cakes that the cat had made that were made to look like the things Mr Cromwell had said kings eat. It was well illustrated and kept me interested with lots of detail.

Grace, age 7

I liked the book, because it was funny. I also liked it when Mr and Mrs Cromwell threw Coca-Cola at the dragon. Also, I very much liked the pictures.

Owen, age 7

I really liked The Cat and the King because it is really funny and made me laugh. It has awesome illustrations all the way through the book.
My favourite character was the cat and I really enjoyed the bit when the king went on a motorbike.
I think people should read it because it is really good, really funny and really exciting.

Dylan, age 7

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond – Sam Hearn


Archie, Katie, Edie and Izzy reviewed ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond’ by Sam Hearn an exciting new mystery series which will test the skills of aspiring young detectives.

I would give this book five stars! I enjoyed it because it was a mystery and also the fact it was written as a diary. My favourite character was Daz because he’s always losing things. The best part of the book is when they’re in a museum and the lights go out followed by the burglary of the Alpine Star diamond. There is nothing not to like about this book – it is ace!

Archie, age 10

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond is a great page-turner! I love Sherlock Holmes’ mysterious character, who is always one step ahead of everyone else. The pictures are amazing, especially the shiny front cover. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a gripping mystery.

Katie, age 10

I really enjoyed reading this book because of all the interesting ways that the author has used different styles of writing, which for me made it easy to read. The author managed to build suspense throughout the story, and you only discover what has happened to the Alpine Star diamond right at the very end. The illustrations are particularly helpful to help you understand what is going and what it is actually like in the museum. My favourite part of the book was when the three main characters (but not the dog) went rummaging in Martha’s attic to find things for their Victorian topic at school, because they found lots of interesting and peculiar antiques that belonged to the Victorian time, as the house was Victorian.I would recommend this book to both boys and girl aged 10 and over.

Edie, age 10

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond was a great book. I liked it because of the layout and the illustrations, which made it easier and more interesting to read – it is a bit like a comic. The book builds up excellent suspense so you never know what is going to happen. My favourite character was Sherlock Holmes because he gives clues along the way. As a reader that makes me feel a bit like I’m going to solve the mystery, too!

Izzy, age 10

We are so proud of all our children for their fantastic work this term and we were delighted to be included in an article in the Tes Magazine of ‘2016’s best books for Children’ featuring reviews from Aidan, Alexander and Griff from Doves Class of a review they did earlier in the year of Tom McLaughlin’s ‘The Accidental Secret Agent.’ A huge thank you to all the parents for the support they have given to the children to completing the reviews.

tes6           tes7



November 13, 2016
by library

Author Visit Year 5/6 – Ally Sherrick


We were delighted to welcome the author Ally Sherrick to school last week to tell us all about her debut novel ‘Black Powder’ ‘Black Powder’ is an explosive debut  packed full of excitement, danger and intrigue. England 1605, Twelve year old Tom is in a terrifying race against time to save his father from the hangman’s noose. In desperation he makes a deal with a fearsome scarred stranger, know only as the Falcon. But unwittingly Tom finds himself caught up in one of the most famous plots in history. Not knowing who to trust or where to turn he is thrust into this murky world full of dangerous villains who will stop at nothing to further their cause. Torn between saving his father and being part of a heinous crime or saving the King, will Tom have the courage and conviction to make the right decision.



Ally told the children that when she was young she didn’t want to be an author instead she wanted to be an Egyptologist as she wanted to spend her time excavating pyramids and uncovering hidden treasure. But growing up she was a real bookworm and enjoyed writing exciting stories. She talked to the children about the inspiration behind her story the real life events of the gunpowder plot starring the infamous Guy Fawkes who is now as the Falcon in ‘Black Powder’. These events contained all the ingredients to make a truly exciting story: brilliant character; intriguing places and a gripping plot. Her idea for the book was sparked by a visit to Cowdray House where she discovered that Guy Fawkes had worked as a young child. She did lots of research when writing her book where she discovered that people didn’t have pockets in the 17th century so Tom couldn’t hide his pet mouse Jago in his pocket. Writers have to do lots of research when creating their stories to make sure they are accurate.



We had such an interesting morning with Ally the children were enthralled with her presentation and they especially loved all the gory details about what happened to Guy Fawkes after he was captured. There has been so much lovely feedback from the children and parents about the visit and lots of children are enjoying reading ‘Black Powder.’



A huge thank you to Waterstones Basingstoke for arranging the visit and to Ally for visiting the school, it was truly inspirational.

October 6, 2016
by library

Author and Illustrator Visit Polly Faber & Clara Vulliamy Year 1, 2 and 3

We were delighted to welcome Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy to the school for a visit with our year 1, 2 and 3 children. Polly and Clara have created the fabulous ‘Mango and Bambang’ series which the children have been sharing in class. Each of the books contains four short stories about the adventures of Mango and her tapir Bambang.


Clara drew illustrations of Mango and Bambang, while Polly talked about the characters and read from the story. Mango is a karate lover, chess player and diver off high boards at the swimming pool and lives with her very busy Papa. We get the feeling that she has to keep herself very busy to stop herself from feeling lonely and she is very good at keeping herself busy. All this changes when Mango encounters quite unexpectedly one day a Tapir called Mango who is causing quite a commotion lying in the middle of a zebra crossing. From that point on our delightful duo have lots of fantastic adventures together.

author-visit-wps1001  author-visit-wps1007

We learned that Mango is good at lots of things and they asked the children what they where good at? We had climbing trees, making loud noises and even had some demonstrations from the children.

author-visit-wps1027 author-visit-wps1038

Our Year 1 and 2 children got to help Polly and Clara create a new hat for Bambang which was just marvellous. Polly even modelled one of Bambang’s favourite hats, the children thought this was hilarious. Back in class they created their own hats, these are beautifully displayed in school.

author-visit-wps1023 author-visit-wps1042


The year 3 children had the opportunity to learn how to draw Bambang alongside Clara and they produced some beautiful artwork, this has been displayed in the school for everyone to enjoy.

author-visit-wps1020  author-visit-wps1013

author-visit-wps1011 author-visit-wps1014

author-visit-wps1012 author-visit-wps1025



It was a truly inspirational visit and the children really enjoyed their visit and have been chatting to me about their favourite parts of the day. Thank you to Polly and Clara for visiting our school it was a truly wonderful experience.

A huge thanks to FOWPS for kindly funding the visit and to Mrs Sarah Dutton for taking these marvellous photos on the day.


July 14, 2016
by library

Year 4/5 Chatterbooks – Peter Bunzl visit


Our Year 4/5 Chatterbookers finally got to meet the author Peter Bunzl  after being selected to take part in an initiative organised by The Reading Agency and Usborne Publishing. All of the children had already received an exclusive proof copy of Peter Bunzl’s debut novel ‘Cogheart’ which is due to be published on the 1st September. They had all read or nearly finished the book and had produced this amazing display reflecting all their favourite elements of the fantastic cover.



In our book group we had completed work sheets about ‘Sharing the adventure’ and when asked to choose three words to describe Cogheart they provided a great selection:

‘exciting,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘dramatic,’ ‘twisty and turny,’ ‘well written,’ ‘brilliant,’ ‘thrilling,’ and ‘mysterious’  proved to be the most popular.

So on the big day having really enjoyed the story you can imagine the excitement and the anticipation that we were all feeling. We were the first school that Peter visited on his Chatterbooks tour and the children gave him a very, warm and friendly Whitchurch welcome.


Peter talked to us about himself, his inspiration and what books and films have influenced his story. He mentioned discoveries he had made during his research to write the story and was really surprised that the children knew about some really obscure facts – apparently Horrible Histories has a lot to answer for!




Peter read some extracts from his book and we all agreed that it is really special hearing an author read from their own story.

chb10 chb9

The children were then shown how to make animation strips to use in a Victorian Zoetrope which creates moving pictures which they found really interesting that something so simple could be so effective.




It was a really fantastic visit, we all enjoyed learning more about Cogheart and how Peter was inspired when creating his story. A huge thank you to Peter, Amy, Usborne and The Reading Agency for giving the children this opportunity it was an amazing experience.

June 29, 2016
by library

Tamsin Cooke – Year 3/4 Visit


We were delighted to welcome Tamsin Cooke to our school on Monday to visit the children in Year 3 and 4. Tamsin is the author of ‘Cat Burglar’ which the children have been reading as part of their book talk over the last term. Tamsin turned up dressed in full Cat Burglar costume complete with NVGs (Night Vision Goggles to you and me}, there was even a rumour going around school that she had been spotted on the roof then scaling down through an open window into the hall. Full of energy and enthusiasm Tamsin had the children totally engaged and enthralled with her presentation. She moved with such pace that it was difficult to capture a photograph as you will see below.

lib5 lib6

Tamsin talked to the children about why she wanted to become a writer (although she did originally want to be a mermaid), what inspired her to write ‘Cat Burglar’ (it was a dream) and how you can write interesting stories. She invited the children to take part in choosing an object they really desired and making them think about what obstacles could be placed in the way to prevent the hero achieving this goal. This was all done through interactive role play which caused much hilarity amongst the children.

lib16 lib14 lib12 lib11

We also got a sneak peek and a small clue about what secrets would be revealed in the sequel ‘Mission Gone Wild’ which is due to be released next week on the 7th July. Tamsin read the children an extract from the book and introduced us to a new spirit animal (Nahualli). She also revealed that you can find out what your own Nahualli on the quiz on her website.

lib10 lib9

Tamsin then went on to run writing workshops on the theme of ‘Potion Making’ with the Lions and Tigers class and they managed to produce an amazing story.


Lion Class



Tiger Class



A huge thank you to Tamsin for coming to visit our school we had an amazing time, the feedback from the children has been fantastic. I would like to also thank FOWPS for funding this visit it is really appreciated by the school.

Mission Gone Wild


If your child can’t wait until next week to read the next  instalment,’Mission Gone Wild’ they can read the first chapter on Tamsin’s website. My review is now live on my blog if you want to find out more. I really hope all the children enjoyed the visit!



May 19, 2016
by library

Year 4/5 Chatterbooks – Meet the Author


Our Chatterbooks group had some exciting news this week. They found out that they had been selected to take part in an initiative organised by The Reading Agency and Usborne Publishing. All of the children received an exclusive proof copy of Peter Bunzl’s debut novel ‘Cogheart’ which is due to be published on the 1st September. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, they also discovered that Peter would be visiting the school to spend time with the group to talk to them about his book, being an author and answering their questions. This is a fantastic opportunity for the children and we are thrilled to be taking part.

cogheart cover

Peter is also a filmmaker and animator and has worked on two BAFTA award winning shows The Secret Show and Yoko Jakamoko Toto. This is his first novel and I was very fortunate to get an early copy of ‘Cogheart’ so I know the children are in for a real treat. This thrilling adventure will really capture their imaginations and take them on an adventure of a lifetime.

March 22, 2016
by library

TES Children’s Book Reviews & The Education Show

The TES Class Review

We were delighted to be asked by the TES for the school to become involved in their new feature Class Review where children and teachers/librarians review a book. The first book we were sent was the brilliantly entertaining ‘Electrigirl’ by Jo Cotterill and Cathy Brett.


Over the half term holidays seven children from Year 5/6 along with myself read and reviewed this book and you can see our review online here.

We will be reviewing some more books next term and will keep you updated.

TES Children’s Book Reviews Live at the Education Show

Following on from the success of our book review we were invited to go to The Education Show at Birmingham NEC to do live book reviews on the central stage in association with TES. Along with Jack, Jasmine, Lydia and Mrs Dale who kindly accompanied us we went along last Thursday to do our book reviews.


Jack reviewed ‘The Many Worlds of Albie Bright’ by Christopher Edge. Jasmine reviewed our Patron of Reading Abi Elphinstone’s newest book ‘The Shadow Keeper’ and Lydia ‘Scarlet Files Cat Burglar’ by Tamsin Cooke. Copies of all these books are available in the school library for all the children to enjoy.

ed6 ed8 ed7 ed9

The children were excellent on stage and spoke confidently about why they enjoyed reading the books and the importance of children being involved in book reviews. It was a very exciting day for all of us and we even got to meet the famous scientish Robert Winston who was sharing the same Green Room we were in. I was so proud of the children for representing the school so brilliantly.

ed3 ed2 ed4 ed5

March 7, 2016
by library

World Book Day – Abi Elphinstone visit Year 5/6


Our Year 5/6 children received a special visit on World Book Day from our amazing, inspirational Patron of Reading Abi Elphinstone. We were very impressed that Abi embraced the spirit of our special Roald Dahl themed dress up day coming up on the train dressed as a giant peach.


Abi came to talk to the children about the inspiration behind her newest book The Shadow Keeper which has recently been released. She introduced the children to the smugglers with an impressive range of props which they were absolutely fascinated by and got the opportunity to look at closely after the talk.


She also talked about her latest adventure living with The Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and getting to meet the only female hunter Aisholpan. The children had lots of questions for Abi and were dedicated in their efforts to get some plot spoilers. There was much excitement when Abi announced she had finished book three ‘the book with no name’ yet and she revealed there would be a new project in the Autumn which she would tell us all about.








A huge thank you to Abi for coming to visit the school on World Book Day we all had a fantastic time and can’t wait to see you again.

To celebrate the launch of The Shadow Keeper Abi took part in a number of guest posts, to find out more you can follow the links below.

Top 10 Places I wrote The Shadow Keeper

Top 10 Stages of Writing A Book

Top 10 Strangest Objects In My Writing Shed

Top 10 Lines from The Shadow Keeper

Top 10 The Shadow Keeper Doodles

Top 10 The Shadow Keeper Songs

March 7, 2016
by library

World Book Day Storytime Year R/ KS1


On World Book Day all of our children in Year R/KS1 had a special storytime session where they had a sneak peek of this gorgeous new Picture Book ‘Nibbles the Book Monster’ by Emma Yarlett which is due to be released next month.


It tells the story of Nibbles a monster who loves to nibbles soap, socks, rubber ducks and clocks. But the thing he loves to nibble most is books so we mustn’t let him escape from his cage and eat the library books. Oh no too late!!



Nibbles munches his way through some fairy tales causing chaos wherever he goes eating baby’s porridge in Goldilocks and stealing Little Red’s cloak in Little Red Riding Hood. The children thought it was hilarious when he got into lots of mischief especially when he nibbled the Giant’s bottom in Jack and the Beanstalk.



We eventually manage to catch Nibble and put him back in his cage but unfortunately before we know it he’s escaped and is causing chaos in our school library.





It was lovely to see the children enjoying their stories on World Book Day and we were very impressed with their fantastic costumes.








All children will have received a special £1 World Book Day token which they can use to purchase one of the special World Book Day books or can be redeemed against a book in our book fair next week or in any participating book shops.