A Carnival of the Animals parade for Elstree Book Week

There is no denying that this Monday started with an almighty RRRRRRRROAR!  Elstree pupils, teachers and staff enthusiastically descended in droves, swarming the grounds in costume for the much-awaited start of Elstree Book Week. Organised by School Librarian Mrs Walker (dressed as Julius Zebra), this year’s theme was the Carnival of the Animals.

Elstree Book Week Parade

Sound system-ready, Headmaster Sid Inglis, aka ‘Acoustic Rooster’, introduced the parade with an appropriate reference to Aesop’s Fables.   It was then time for the fun to begin. Music pumping, our year group bubbles circled the ‘D’ outside the front of school, showcasing their exceedingly imaginative animal disguises.

Taking inspiration from favourite books, literary characters included Fantastic Mr Fox, Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Tintin’s sidekick Snowy and Harry’s best friend Hedwig. The prize for the most inventive costume had to go to Mr Williams’ class – Year 8FAW – for their coordinated and colourful take on Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Here’s what some of our pupils had to say:

Arabella, Year 4: “The animal book character day was lots of fun and I like seeing other people’s costumes.”

Kweje, Year 4: “Dressing up day was fun. Children could create a costume or mask and let their imagination go wild like in books!”

Ferdy, Year 3: “There were three ‘Fantastic Mr. Foxes’ including Mr Schuman!”

James, Year 3: “I liked the big blow-up dinosaurs and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ was clever.”

Mason, Year 7: “It was fun seeing people in dinosaur costumes!”

Adam, Year 7: “The day was amazing. It was enjoyable finding out which character from a book they were.”

Jaime, Year 7: “It was fun seeing all the people in their costumes. We didn’t do dressing up in my Spanish school.”

Readers’ Celebration Parties

For the rest of the week, our enthusiastic bookworms were rewarded with Readers’ Celebration Parties in bubbles. The parties are the perfect opportunity for pupils and staff to share their favourite books with each other in a relaxed and fun environment.

Surrounded by fairy lights, as Years 3 and 4 savoured scrumptious party treats by the fireplace with Mrs Attwood and Mrs Preston, they received a surprise visit from Headmaster. Years 5 and 6 soaked up their love for literacy in the library with Mrs Payne and Miss Boyd, while Years 7 and 8 debated the benefits of reading fact and fiction with Mr Owen in the Long Room.

Mrs Walker said:  “The readers’ parties are held to celebrate children’s efforts with their reading over the summer holidays, particularly those children who have gone that extra mile. It’s not about having the longest book list, more about who made the most effort, enjoyed it the most and showed the most enthusiasm.”

Leonardo in Year 4 said: ” The Readers’ Celebration Tea was good fun, because we got to talk about all our favourite books. We also had hot chocolate and marshmallows!”

Henley Literary Festival

Earlier this month, Elstree tuned in to virtual talks as part of the Henley Literary Festival.  Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell famed for her ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ and ‘The Wizard of Once’ series recommended that children should: “Find a special place where you can write just for the joy of it.”  Later, our older year groups enjoyed a stimulating presentation from award-wining author Katherine Rundell – known for ‘The Explorer’ and ‘The Good Thieves’.

Elstree School Library

Elstree is extremely lucky to have a thriving library run by an experienced and energetic School Librarian. Events and Author Visits are organised throughout the academic year, along with book fairs and reading challenges. The library is always open, so children have the opportunity to pop in, change books and explore other ones. It is safe to say that you will very rarely not find someone in the Elstree School Library.

Huge thanks to Mrs Walker for organising such a successful 2020 Elstree Book Week. Thanks also to parents and staff for helping transform our pupils in to a diverse array of literary characters.

Jasper, Year 3: “I loved Book Week and I give it 10 out of 10!”

Well, you can’t do much better than that..!