Posted in Competition, general and welcome, literacy

Pottertastic – celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter!

Every year at St Michael’s Primary School in Oxford, where I am the Librarian, we run a fun summer challenge based on books and reading. In previous years, we’ve had Cakespeare (make/decorate a cake based on something from Shakespeare), Supertato veggie/fruit villains and heroes, and the Strangest Place to Read.

Since this year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we decided to base our competition on J.K. Rowling’s publishing phenomenon. I called it ‘Pottertastic’ and the challenge was for pupils in Key Stage 1 to colour in a picture from either Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Children in Key Stage 2 were encouraged to create a new character, object (eg wand, horcrux), Petronus, shop, etc, that could fit in nicely with the books.

With two weeks to do their best, the children set about their work, while my daughter Holly helped me design the background for the display, together with the help of Bloomsbury Kids UK, who sent me some decorations.

The display awaiting the children’s artwork

When the deadline arrived, I was amazed by the results. Two classes – Reception and Year 1, had embraced the competition and decided to use it as a prompt for their Big Write or class artwork. Therefore, I had pictures of Fantastic Beasts from every one of the children in both classes, with the children in Year 1 also writing amazing descriptions of what their beasts were and what they could do.

nagini.jpg   Gwen.jpgdishor.jpg   dave the monster.jpg

Some of the writing was very impressive indeed, and we gave special writing awards to two children for their efforts. See, for example, Lucy (below) who wrote about her beast, Diamond, of whom she is very fond:


Three children in the school created models of their entries.

sapphire bird.jpg
Sapphire Bird (this has feathers on the underside – hopefully I will be able to hang it up!)
Voldemort’s Spirit (another horcrux) lies inside this green tub and flashes! Under no circumstances must you open it. This handy map also gives you further information.
This is a fish but with a  human head. It can move on both land and water!

Interestingly, the children in Key Stage 2 based their creations on potential family members from the past and future. We have:

  • Valdi – Voldemort’s son who is 12 and really wants to be good but his father won’t allow it
  • Harry’s twin sister, Ellie – who was trapped in a crystal
  • Emily Potter – Harry’s long-lost sister!
  • Emma Upton – who escaped from Voldemort’s attack, although she has the same scar as her brother
  • Dobby’s family – both his mum and dad seem to love socks!

As you can imagine, judging the competition was extremely hard. Holly and Carl (my husband) went through all 75 entries and narrowed them down to 17 (I didn’t get involved to ensure neutrality!).

On Monday of this week, a good friend of mine, children’s/YA author Angela Kecojevic, came into school to help announce the winners. She treated the children to some slimy character creations based on her Hobbledown books and theme park and they all squealed with delight at her descriptions of her characters, especially when fellow pupils had to act them out in front of the assembly.

It always delights and inspires me when the children, families and staff enter into the spirit of these competitions, and we are incredibly fortunate to be supported in the activities we run to promote reading for enjoyment. Our library is an amazing resource but it wouldn’t be the place it is without the support, love and enthusiasm of everyone who uses it. Pottertastic was a huge success and it’s all down to everyone who supported it!

I’d like to thank Bloomsbury Kids UK for their generosity in sending us bunting, posters, bookmarks and other items to help with our display. I’d also like to thank Carl and Holly for their time in helping me with the competition – especially Holly, who designed the display board! And finally, a huge thank you to everyone in Year 1 and Reception for devoting so much time to supporting this competition.





Posted in Competition, general and welcome

We have two winners!

Hello all,

Last month, to celebrate Holly being in the Saturday Telegraph, we ran a book review competition, asking contributors to write about a book that they enjoyed reading.

Today we are delighted to announce that we have selected a winner and a runner-up, both of whom wrote excellent reviews so it was hard choosing between them. What we loved about the whole experience was learning about what books other children like to read so we can hopefully expand our own choices. We also enjoyed reading different reviewing styles, as everyone has a unique way of writing their own opinion.

So, without further ado, let’s announce the winners!

In first place is Charlotte Corrigan (9) with her review of Cool by Michael Morpurgo.

Runner-up is Aidan Pond (13) with his review of Tom Gates: Genius Ideas (Mostly) by Liz Pichon.

A book will be winging its way to each of them soon as a prize.

Charlotte and Aidan have kindly allowed us to share their reviews with you, so enjoy!

Review of Cool by Michael Morpurgo

Image courtesy of

Review by Charlotte Corrigan, 9

Everyone should read this book. It is very moving. It tells the tale of a boy and the love of his dog. Poor old Robbie saves his dog from being knocked down and is hit by a car. Robbie ends up in a coma and nearly died. The story is so sad and happy the same time. As a dog lover I could relate to Robbie. Even Zola his favourite football player could not bring him round from his coma .  But the love of a good dog could save his life.

I love Michael Morpurgo’s style. His descriptions are detailed and the language is lively. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

What we liked about Charlotte’s review: Charlotte gives a good and succinct summary of what Cool is about – enough to tantalise us but not too much to give the plot away! She also gives impressive judgements on how Michael Morpurgo has achieved such powerful writing through style and language.

Review of Tom Gates: Genius Ideas (Mostly) by Liz Pichon

Image courtesy of

Review by Aidan Pond, 13

This book is by L. Pichon and it is about a boy called Tom. He is in a band called Dog Zombies and there are little illustration in the sentences. Here is an example [Sorry Aidan – I couldn’t get your image onto this page but I’ve sourced this from the internet:]

Image courtesy of

It is a very easy book to read. I give this book a 9/10 because it is interesting and funny. I gave it one mark lower because I think it needs more writing than pictures. This author just recently won the Blue Peter Award for Best Story. It was announced on World Book Day. Here’s a quote from the author: ‘Just being on such an amazing shortlist was fantastic enough – but winning is absolutely AMAZING! A huge thank you to everyone involved: the judges, Blue Peter and to all the children who took part and voted for Tom Gates.’

What we liked about Aidan’s review: Aidan has really hit the nail on the head in his observations on how Pichon has written this book and the effect it has on the reader. We liked that he found both positive and negative aspects to the book and gave well-thought-out reasons why. We also loved the mention of the band, the Dog Zombies!


Thanks again to Charlotte and Aidan for writing such amazing reviews. Please keep following the blog, and do comment whenever you like about anything we write about as we love to hear from our readers!

Posted in Competition, Holly's fun corner

Blue Peter Wimbledon Competition

Blue Peter are holding a competition to draw and design a poster for Wimbledon 2013. The deadline is the 3 rd April 2:00 pm. You need to include the date of the tennis event on your poster. This a great,fun thing to do and if you enter this competition you could end up with your poster in Wimbledon. I think this competition sounds like a really cool competition. I definitely recommend this to everyone because it is a really good chance for your poster to win and end up at Wimbledon. For more details go to the Blue Peter website following the link below. So please draw and design your own poster!!

Review Holly


Posted in Competition

Read all about it! Brand new competition!

Please enter our new competition!

This weekend, Childtastic Books is going to be in the Saturday Telegraph. It’s very exciting for me and my mum because we find it amazing that we are in the newspaper after only writing this blog for 10 months. So, as a little celebration, here is something that you could do for our competition.


Please write a review of your favourite book. It can be any book you like. Your review should have between 100 and 200 words maximum.

Closing date

23 March 2013

How to enter:

It would be helpful if you emailed it to us at with your name and age.


A winner and runner-up will receive a book each.

Tell everyone!

Please tell your school friends or any children you know about this competition so more children apply and read this blog. Get stuck in!

Posted in Competition, Holly's fun corner

And we have a winner!

Just over a month ago, Holly posted another competition on the site, based on her Fun Corner; she asked readers to send in their ideas of something fun.

The winning entry was from Andrea Kelly with her comment:

Lately I have been learning how to knit! I’ve made a few plain scarves in the past, but this year I’m learning several different knit patterns. It has been a lot of fun :)

Congratulations to Andrea! Knitting certainly can be fun, and we’ve tried it out a bit here (though with varying degrees of success!).

Andrea – if you could get in touch with us with your address we will send you a little memento of Oxford as a prize.

Well done once again!

Best wishes from

Holly and Sam

Posted in Competition, general and welcome, Holly's fun corner

Another competition! And it’s all about fun…

Holly thought it was about time to hold another competition as she enjoyed doing the amazing alliteration last time. So here goes…

Image from


What do you like doing that’s fun?

You know I usually do fun things on Holly’s Fun Corner but now I want advice from you. I want to know what fun stuff you get up to.

All you need to do is write down in the little comments box at the bottom of the page what you do to have fun.

The one I think is the most fun will win a special prize, so get started!


Closing date: Sunday 7 October 2012



Posted in Competition, Holly's fun corner

Awesome alliteration PLUS crazy competition!

Now this: a new post for Holly’s Fun Corner! And a clue to it is in the title!
Alliteration is very fun. You can make all kinds of whacky ideas up with words.

Like ‘mushroom’. It is extremely funny as a word!

Alliteration means a group of words that all begin with the same letter. Here’s an example:

‘A mighty, mushy mushroom.’

That alliteration sentence makes sense. It is about a mushroom.

I am now about to make one up that doesn’t make sense in alliteration:

‘A Micky Mouse mitchy mushroom.’

That one did not make sense.

Sometimes I wish I could do alliteration all day. It is a fun activity that gives you the giggles.

But I want to hear some of your ideas. All you need to do is write them down and send them to us for the Alliteration Competition.

Prize: a special present from Oxford!!!

Send us a sentence with your best alliteration – it can be about anything you like and it doesn’t have to make sense, as long as it includes alliteration.

Entry Rules:

  • For children aged 4 to 12.
  • Please post your entry onto the Childtastic Books blog  in the Comments Box.
  • Include your first name and age.
  • The competition is open until Friday 3 August 2012.
  • We will announce the winner the following week and post the name and entry on the site.