Children’s Book of the Week: Tidy by Emily Gravett

Our children’s book this week is Tidy by the award-winning author and illustrator Emily Gravett.  

  1. Emily reads… Tidy

We recommend this reading of Tidy by the author, Emily Gravett.

2. Emily draws… A Badger called Pete

Fans of Emily Gravett’s illustrations will love her draw-along videos.  This one is of Pete, the badger in Tidy.

3. How to make a paper badger

This tutorial shows you how to make an adorable badger out of a recycled cardboard tube.

4. How to draw a badger

Learn how to draw a cartoon badger with this YouTube video by Shoo Rayner.

5. Dry leaf craft ideas

Badger wants a tidy world, but by the end of the story he learns to appreciate the messiness of nature.  Here are some cool things to do with autumn leaves.


Children’s Book of the Week: Walking Through the Jungle by Julie Lacome

This week our children’s book is that Rhyme Time classic, ‘Walking Through the Jungle’. We found five jungle-themed things to make, do or watch.

  1. Walking Through the Jungle – signed story

    Leanne reads the story using British Sign Language – if you’re new to signing, this a great way to learn some new words.

2. Paper plate snake craft

Sssss! Over there – it’s a paper plate snake!

3. T is for Tiger handprint craft

Grrrr! We found this awesome tiger craft made out of a child’s handprint.

4. Tiger face painting

Kids love to be transformed by face paint! Teach yourself a popular face paint design with this quick tutorial.

5. How to Make a Crocodile Paper Puppet

To finish our walk through the jungle, here is a snappy puppet tutorial. Watch out for those teeth!

Children’s Book of the Week: The Chocolate Monster by Pip Jones and Laura Hughes

This week’s children’s book of the week is The Chocolate Monster by Pip Jones and Laura Hughes.  The Chunk is a monster who goes around stealing chocolate.  We found five chocolatey things to do online, all inspired by the story.   

1. The Chocolate Monster Read Aloud

Let’s kick off with an awesome read aloud version of the story; watch it here on YouTube.

2. One Minute perfect chocolate mug cake

Here is an extremely simple recipe that makes a delicious chocolate cake in a mug.

3. Monster bookmarks

We love these super-cute monster bookmarks, and kids can make them over and over again.

4. DIY Paper plate monsters

These paper plate monsters are in fact masquerade masks, perfect for Halloween.

5. Paper plate monster craft

And finally, the classic paper plate craft gets a monstrous twist.

Saturday Story & Craft at Kensal Library

Shamrock faces for St Patrick's Day 2017 at Kensal LibraryAt our regular story and craft session we made these cute shamrock faces to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

We started with a template of a shamrock printed onto green paper and drew on a face and added googly eyes.  Next we put a small amount of tissue paper and then stuck on the other side of the shamrock to make it puffy and finally tied a piece of ribbon around the stalk.

Hope you all had a great St Patrick’s Day!

Our next Story & Craft will be on Saturday 8 April.


Story-time at Chelsea Library

When I first started doing the under-5s at Chelsea I had no experience at all, in fact I had come from delivering the housebound service in Hammersmith, so I was used to dealing with the very elderly who were often slow on their feet and very polite. I was in no way prepared for the chaos of pre-schoolers: the tired and distracted mothers and the nannies on their mobiles.
My God they were a tough audience!

I soon realise why so many people were reluctant to take on the responsibility. Some fellow workers were not brave enough to put on the baritone voice of the ogre in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
The Three Billy Goats Gruff

There was almost a sense that the children’s library should be free of noise and chaos.

Did we really need class visits when books were left strewn across the carpet? Well, yes we did! We needed to embrace the chaos.

I soon developed a taste for amateur theatrics and found myself thinking my way inside Mr Bear’s mind in the wonderful ‘Peace At Last’ where the adults are amused by Mr Bear’s wretched sleepless night, his snoring wife and the horrible brown letter from the Inland Revenue which appears at the end and is clearly responsible for the wiggly lines etched round his eyes.

Last month I was sent on a story-time training session in Barnet where I hoped to pick up some new tips.
Would there be some hints on puppetry?
How to throw your voice or even a magic spell to aid concentration?

The session in Barnet was led by three high octane women. They had a personal interest in all the stories and like fans of music they felt a special relationship with Lucy Cousins and Jez Alborough. They had taken ownership of the books. Their enthusiasm was a little daunting for the first timer. I both appreciated the course and squirmed with embarrassment at having to sit on a small inflatable ring in a mock-up of a farm yard. Story-time means you have to let go, become cartoonish, engage the children with eye contact and big swirling gestures.

What I learnt is that repetition in a story is great, less text too, stories that elicit a call and answer response and some of those almost silent books such as ‘Hug’ which repeat one word over and over are the best. Most important of all don’t be afraid of repeating the same story. They will soon know Jack and the Beanstalk by heart.

Hug by Jez Alborough
Hug by Jez Alborough

We had a busy Summer Reading Challenge party and began with some themed record breaker questions for the completers. No one was prepared for the weird questions quizmaster Vince Symmons prepared: the length of the longest nose hair or the greatest distance covered by a skate-boarding goat?
Answers on a postcard please.
The more absurd the question the better the children responded.

Furry Creatures
Furry Creatures

Story-craft this month was structured around monsters. Di devised some brilliantly huggable creatures with folding arms and big furry bodies – a bit like an angry sporran. Earlier we designed frogs with red woollen tongues and a squashed fly on the end.

Frogs and flies
Frogs and flies

We also had a visit from the Holland Park ecology centre. The staff brought cockroaches and millipedes to the library and they did very well with our very own two-legged mini beasts!

By Daniel Jeffreys
Customer Service Assistant, Chelsea Library


Notting Hill Gate’s Halloween Story and Craft Event

Notting Hill Gate Library had a busy October this year, which included our Halloween display and the first Halloween Story and Craft Event on Saturday 24th October. This was a great opportunity for the children to dress up as their favourite characters and celebrate the holiday. The turn out was great and the afternoon was memorable. However, this could not have happened without the help and support from both parents and our kind volunteer Karima, who is a Primary School Teacher.

Mariam dressed as a witch
Mariam dressed as a witch

We began the afternoon with a scary story called Spooky House by Roger Priddy, in which we all participated in the reading together. After this, with the help of Karima’s teaching experience, we explained health and safety measures to the children.

Laila reading spooky story
Laila reading spooky story

With limited space in the Library, sitting on the floor worked to our advantage as it brought everyone together. The children were hooked in the making of their spider webs and loved the challenge when weaving the wool. After this, we had played a game of pass-the-parcel which engaged everyone’s attention, including the parents who also joined in.

Showing their presents
Showing their presents

To promote healthy eating, we created our very own pumpkins from oranges (the pumpkin’s body) and celery (the pumpkin’s stalk). In addition to this, we also made ghosts from bananas and raisins were used for the eyes. It proved to be a success.

Showing our spooky food
The children holding their pumpkin oranges and banana ghosts

At the end of the day everyone was sad the afternoon was over, but were cheered as each were given Halloween goody bags filled with raisins and a Halloween activity booklet.

To encourage reading I asked parents to take out a book for each child from the display, in which I had drawn inspiration from The Wizard of Oz. We all know how inspirational books can be and as it has been said ‘Today a reader, tomorrow a leader!’

Come along and join us for our next Story and Craft event on Saturday 21st November 2015 but please book early to avoid disappointment!

NHG Halloween Display
NHG Halloween Display

Record Breaking Reading at RBKC Libraries!

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Children’s Co-ordinator, Nick, writes… 

Since its launch earlier this summer, nearly 900 children have joined this year’s Summer Reading Challenge “Record Breakers” – so far! More than 300 young people have completed the challenge already, by reading 6 books and collecting stickers and other rewards along the way.

Kensal Library has been especially busy with over a quarter more children joining than last year, but not a busy as Notting Hill Gate Library, which has seen the number of children joining doubling since last year and more of these children have completed the challenge than they did over the whole of the summer last year!

It’s not too late for you to sign up to the Challenge and there is still plenty of time to read the six books – and get your medal for finishing the challenge. What a good way to finish the summer!

We’ve added some pictures above, highlighting all the record-breaking fun we’ve had over the summer.

Record breaking crafts at Brompton!

Brompton Librarian, Steph, writes:

Here at Brompton we’ve had our first Summer Reading Challenge craft event presented by our ever-popular creative genius, Eithne Farry.

Whatever theme we throw at her, Eithne always manages to come up with something new that the kids love to make. Record Breakers (this year’s Summer Reading Challenge theme) was a bit puzzling at first from a craft point of view but when Eithne arrived with examples of rosettes and medals the kids were hooked, and the mums and the grandmums, too! With day-glo coloured ribbons, wool and lots of glitter the children went away bedecked in eye-catching self-made medals.


Eithne will be visiting all the Kensington and Chelsea libraries over the course of the summer holiday, so look out for more opportunities to create your own record breaking crafts!

Never Lie on a Lion…

Just a quick one to brighten up your Wednesday…

Our Story & Craft session at Kensal this month had a lion theme.  We read Never Lie on a Lion by Alan James Brown and A Tinga Tinga Tale – Why Lion Roars by Claudia Lloyd.

After these fabulous stories we made equally fabulous colourful lion faces and the roaring was so loud you’d be forgiven for thinking there were real lions in residence at Kensal Library!!

Work in progress...
Work in progress…


The Brompton Blog – November 2013

 Hello library lovers!

As we started these posts around this time last year we are proud to celebrate a full year of bloggery, fun and learning on the Old Brompton Road. This month we have been busy with class visits, craft /story-time events and our new homework club for children age 7-11 which has proved popular and is aimed at giving children extra support with their studies, hopefully helping to boost their confidence in school. Sessions run Tuesdays and Thursdays 15:30-17:00.

Did you know that this month is Michael Morpurgo’s 70th birthday? From

 November 2013 sees a month-long celebration of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful stories, marking his 70th birthday this year. We’re inviting book lovers, schools, libraries and bookshops nationwide to take part and celebrate 30 unmissable books by one of our greatest writers for children.

Throughout November the Michael Morpurgo website is hosting free teacher resources, brand new author videos, audio downloads and competitions, focusing on a different book each day. From War Horse to Beowulf and the Butterfly Lion to Kensuke’s Kingdom, celebrate 70 years of Michael Morpurgo’s stories this November.

 We love Mr. Morpurgo so we have made a display with a selection of his work.

Michael Morpurgo display at Brompton Library
Michael Morpurgo display at Brompton Library

Half-term craft and events

One of our favourite rhymes at our usual Thursday morning Story Time is Incy Wincy Spider. So for our half-term and Halloween craft we made paper-plate spider webs. We punched holes around a paper-plate, wove wool through and across to make the web and then stuck on a spider.

 For our monthly craft session we took inspiration from autumn leaves. We cut strips of card long enough to go around our heads, stuck on a length of double sided tape and then stuck leaves onto the tape to make a leaf crown. It was very quick and successful!

‘Down, down, yellow & brown, autumn leaves all over the ground’
‘Down, down, yellow & brown, autumn leaves all over the ground’

Reading Group

On Tuesday our Reading Group discussed The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers. Set around the cathedral of Chartres, it is about a woman called Agnes Morel who cleans the cathedral but also does odd jobs for various people of the town. Agnes is anxious to stay in the background and have a quiet life, after being brought up in the harsh environment of a nunnery and experiencing a pregnancy at a young age, and is determined to forge a new life. Despite this, she touches the hearts of the many people that she helps and slowly they acknowledge this lovely but troubled woman.

The Cleaner of Chartres
The Cleaner of Chartres

I think that all of us agreed that this was an easy book to read as it was so well written. Although the story weaved back and forth in time it was very convincing. The collection of the town’s characters was well conceived; especially the sniping and gossiping friends who are really enemies who gave it a comical but also tragic edge. After reading those Booker Prize novels, this book felt like slipping into a warm bath – a book that could be enjoyed on a cold winter’s day and with a few hours to spare.

It’s amazing what topics of conversation flow in our Reading Group – from discussing The Luminaries, we then discussed the equally Antipodean The Thornbirds. We then jumped onto great TV dramas that we had watched in the eighties such as The Far Pavilions, a Passage to India and The Jewel in the Crown. Listening and discussing various topics and sharing each other’s company is equally as important as discussing the monthly book – it is a cathartic and engaging experience.

Next month’s Reading Group book is Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I can’t wait to read this!