Showing posts with label Roald Dahl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roald Dahl. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wild About Britain - an RSPCA short story competition for children

Hurry, hurry, hurry – there’s no time to waste. If your children are interested in wildlife and love writing stories, then there are just a few days left for them to enter a great new short story competition run by the RSPCA. 

The Wild About Britain challenge is inspired by wonderful children’s classics like Wind in the Willows and The Tale of Peter Rabbit. In fact Peter Rabbit was voted the nation’s favourite wildlife character in a recent RSPCA survey, while Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox was named our favourite wildlife book.

There are two age categories in the competition – 11 years and under and 12 to 16-year-olds – and the closing date for entries is midnight on Monday December 10. The winner will receive a selection of books from publisher Random House and their story will be published on the website.

As Chris Packham, RSPCA vice president, says: “What could be a more perfect way to get inspiration for your story than to go out into our woods and search out signs of animals like hedgehogs, foxes and badgers? With the Olympics, Paralympics and Jubilee it has been an incredible year for Great Britain. Now it is time to remember that our wildlife is great too.”

I feel very honoured because I’ve been asked to be one of the competition’s guest judges. As a lifelong fan of stories like The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Watership Down, I CAN’T WAIT to read the entries.

For more details of the competition (and to read some of the entries so far) go to the Wild About Britain website.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday book review - Ratburger by David Walliams

David Walliams is the fastest growing children’s author in the UK  – so children aged nine and up will be thrilled to hear that his fifth novel has hit the bookshops.

Like its predecessors, Ratburger is hilarious, sad and at times downright revolting. It isn’t for children of a nervous disposition but most young readers will laugh uproariously from start to finish – in between gasping in horror at Burt, Walliams’s evil, burger-van driving new villain.

Walliams excels at writing uproarious, laugh-out loud stories that combine humour and heart, and this one’s no exception. Zoe, his latest young heroine, has a back story that brings tears to your eyes. Her mum died when she was a baby, her dad’s lost his job at the local ice cream factory and Zoe’s got a horrible new stepmother called Sheila who eats prawn cocktail crisps all day and is so idle she asks Zoe to pick her nose for her.

The only bright spot in Zoe’s lonely life is Gingernut, her pet hamster – but that ends in tears when Zoe finds him dead in his cage. She suspects Sheila might have had something to do with Gingernut’s sudden demise but as she says, “what kind of person would want to murder a defenceless little hamster?”

But one night Zoe hears a baby rat scrabbling in the corner of her room and decides to adopt him as her new pet. Desperate to hide the rodent from the wicked Sheila, she takes him to school in her blazer pocket and calls him Armitage (after spotting the name Armitage Shanks in the girls’ toilets).

With brilliant illustrations by Tony Ross, this story is great for boys and girls alike. Walliams is a huge fan of the late, great Roald Dahl and children who enjoy Dahl's books will definitely like this.

Ratburger by David Walliams (HarperCollins, £12.99) 
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