World Book Day was billed as a big, happy, booky celebration of reading. I had my fest at five schools with 1,200 children between them. The jury's still out on who had the most fun - them or me! Take a minute or two to enjoy some of the rhymes and artwork featured here.
Each child I met had a story to tell and each told it in different ways. Some made masks and acted out their story. Some created rhyming couplets. Some wrote long, dramatic tales of adventure, fantasy and heroism. They were funny, tragic, inspiring and fantastical. The children's imaginations were mind-blowing, right down to the pretend clowns throwing custard pies at their audience. We talked a lot about stories, too: how we create them, how they don't come out perfectly first-time around, and how picture books aren't just for little ones.
The children who took part in my Mad Rhymes workshops were so wildly creative that I'm pleased I thought of the story first, because some of the ideas and rhyming couplets were stunning. Here is a selection of them, including my favourite one which was this one by Amelie Shipton from Year 2 at St Martin's Infants in Epsom, Surrey:
|I could be a cow making lots of milk,|
You could be a cat with whiskers made of silk.
|I could be a hedgehog spiking everyone,|
You could be a tortoise trying hard to run.
By Esme Taylor, Y2
At Old Bexley School in Bexley, Kent, the Year 1 classes added colourful illustrations, too:
I could be a rock star singing on the stage,
You could be a lion roaring in a cage.By Ellie & Jessica, aged 5
I could be a princess sitting on a throne,You could be a hungry dog eating all the bones.
By Hettie, aged 5
These are from Broadfield East Infants School in Crawley, West Sussex:
You could be a snowy owl flying through a blizzard.
By Andrea and Iman, aged 7
I could be a pop star singing as loud as I can,
I could be a werewolf howling through the night,
I had a ball and want to thank the children and the schools for sharing their World Book Day with me. Thanks, too, to the teachers and librarians who were coerced with barely any warning into dressing as clowns and making complete fools of themselves in front of their classes.