When his parents are unceremoniously eaten by a rhinoceros that escapes from London Zoo, James is forced to go and live with his unpleasant aunts. Through a series of peculiar and magical happenings, James finds himself in a giant peach with a bunch of friendly giant insects for travelling companions.
Determined to find a better life, the insects bite the great peach free from its tree and launch into an amazing journey to freedom. Their travels are accompanied by much humour and plenty of ridiculous rhymes along the way.
Want to know some juicy facts you didn’t already know about James and the Giant Peach, like why the book was almost called James and the giant cherry, then follow the link:
The characters in the book go on a crazy adventure in the giant peach, but don't really seem to know which way they are headed. I can’t help thinking a compass would have been a great help, if only they’d known how to make one! Well luckily for you ( if ever you should find yourself in a similar situation) here is how to make one.
See if you can find out about all the real life invertebrates (creatures) inside the peach.
Inspired by the belief that a relationship with nature is essential to every human being, and that now, more than ever, we need to renew that relationship, This is a picture book of great beauty and hope about the power we have to transform our world.
Take a closer look at the flowers growing through cracks, on verges and in meadows and see if you can identify them. The UK's native wildflowers are often some of the most beautiful and best for wild creatures!
sowing wildflowers provides vital resources to support a wide range of insects that couldn't otherwise survive in urban or built-up areas.
Throwing, breaking up or digging ‘seed bombs’ (or balls) into areas in your garden that need a little brightening up is a perfect way of spending an afternoon! Why not try making your own.
A tree can be all kinds of different homes - for birds, for animals, and for people! When a family decide to use a magnificent green fir tree as their new house, at first they forget to think about all the wildlife already living there. This book has engaging, sensitive and funny illustrations, and it encourages the you to think about sharing, wildlife, and looking after the environment.
Give your favourite tree a cuddle and work out if it’s ancient. If you’ve got an oak that is three adult hugs (or more), a beech measuring two or a skinny rowan tree that’s one hug round, then you’ve got yourself an ancient tree that could have been alive for 100s of years!
In the open, most trees grow an average of 2.5cm of girth (length around) for each year of their lives. So a tree with a girth of 250cm would be about 100 years old! In a woodland, they grow about 1.25cm a year so a tree of the same size would be 200!
Here are some ancient Oaks Lisa and Orlagh came across whilst out on a nature walk.
Make a Pressed Leaf MasterPiece
Press Leaves in books, then arrange them to look like wild creatures.
Today is world oceans day! Did you know besides providing enjoyment to millions of people yearly, oceans also provide us with the air we breathe, the food we eat, and even the water we drink. Oceans absorb more than 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere, as well as being home to all sorts of wonderful wildlife.
One of my favourite sea creatures is the much misunderstood shark did you know more people are killed by bee stings than shark attacks!
Calling all Harry Potter fans, have you ever wondered what it would be like to have J.K.Rowling read you a bedtime story? Well now’s your chance to find out (well almost). Rowling has begun releasing chapters of the Ickabog, a story she wrote years ago to read to her own children at bedtime.
The Ickabog tells the story of the mostly bountiful kingdom of Cornucopia, where a mythical monster the Ickabog lives at the very northernmost tip of the country, in a wide patch of dark and often misty marsh too dangerous for humans to enter.
The story is being revealed chapter by chapter every weekday for free on a dedicated site, and is already up to chapter 17! You can begin reading here:
There is a competition running along side the release of the chapters that you might like to join in with, J.K.Rowling is asking for your help in illustrating the Ickabog and makes suggestions for what you might like to draw. The only real rule is that you let your imagination run wild! Find out how to get involved here:
Today's story is Lotus and Feather. A winter illness left Lotus, a little girl, without a voice and without friends. A hunter's bullet left Feather, a crane, injured and unable to fly. As Lotus nurses Feather back to health, their bond grows. Soon Feather is following Lotus everywhere, even to school! Feather is a true friend to Lotus, but the time comes when Lotus must be a true friend to him - by encouraging him to migrate with the rest of the cranes. The next spring, Feather miraculously returns, and that's not all . . . he has brought new life to the nearby lake. Inspired by the true story of a crane that rescued a Chinese village, this is a lovely book about respecting nature.
Have a go at designing your own bird: will it have a crane's long beak and be colourful like a goldfinch or nocturnal like an owl?
This June, join thousands of people taking part in the annual nature challenge, 30 Days
Wild! You should aim to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month: for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 simple, fun and exciting Random Acts of Wildness.
Here are suggestion for the first 7 days
Friday 22nd May - It's Elmer Day Tomorrow!
Elmer is a great character to finish our 'Kindness Week' because he always tries to stay cheerful and positive, is friendly to everyone he meets in the jungle and does his best to cheer up his friends and make them laugh. You can listen to poet Joseph Coelho reading a special Elmer story for Elmer Day here:
Thursday 21st May: Horton Hears A Who
Horton the kindly elephant has his work cut out saving the tiny Whos who live on a speck of dust - no one else believes they are there! But Horton eventually convinces everyone that, `a person's a person, no matter how small'!
Horton the elephant sets out to save the inhabitants of a speck of dust, this is a classic and funny tale about friendship, kindness and respect.
If you find your feeling worried about things at the moment its perfectly normal.
Unworry is a really useful book with lots of unworry activities. It provides a distraction from any anxieties and helps to calm you down, giving you a place to sort through your worries and thoughts.
Some of the activities from the book have been provided online, there are a variety of things to try from colouring and design to relaxation exercises.
One day, a lion turns up at the library and no-one knows quite what to do - not even Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, who has rules for most things. However, the lion turns out to be rather a nice lion and so he's allowed to stay, as long as he doesn't roar.
One day, however, when Miss Merriweather falls in the library, the lion's roar is the only thing that can save her - but is breaking the rules ever okay?
The library Lion has great lessons about making assumptions, breaking rules, being kind and taking care of friends.
Being kind is really good for our sense of well-being, did you know it’s actually good for your brain. Practicing kindness also makes you happier and you’ll find it’s contagious. Don’t forget true kindness starts with being kind to ourselves.
Why not try this kindness challenge from bitesize.
The poor little colour monster is all mixed up. He is red, green, yellow, blue and black, all at the same time. It's making him very confused and he doesn't know why.
Luckily, he has a kind friend who helps him to see that the colours are his feelings, and he can sort them out by identifying each one separately and understanding how it makes him feel.
The little girl puts the Colour Monster’s feelings into separate jars, maybe you could think of things that make you happy, angry or sad and draw them in the jar below or fold up the drawings and put them in an old jam jar or shoe box.
Monday 18th May: Extra Yarn
Try making bracelets for friends and loved ones from old wool or embroidery floss, there is a really simple technique called kumihimo and it comes from Japan.
Not only is it a really fun activity but you also get to make somebody else feel happy when they receive the bracelet!
Friday 15th May: Bananas and Blackbirds
Friday is here and it's time to relax with some poetry. Have you already listened to all your favourite Michael Rosen poems in lockdown a million times? (If not - click here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BxQLITdOOc) Then you need a new poet to make you laugh and make you think. We have been enjoying poems from AF Harrold - Bananas and Blackbirds is our favourite, but The Perils of Breakfast comes a close second. You can explore his website and find out more.
AF Harrold has also written some fantastic imaginative fiction for older readers: The Imaginary and The Song From Somewhere Else. Both have won awards and are beautifully illustrated. He has two series for primary age children - Greta Zargo and Fizzlebert Stump.
If you want a poetry writing challenge today, why not write an 'I miss you' poem for someone you haven't been able to see for a while. You can hear the poem in the podcasts. It's full of amazing similies.
"I miss you like the puddle misses the snowman it once was..."
Charlie McGuffin has an incredible secret . . .he can change into animals. All sorts of animals a flea, a pigeon, even a rhino. Trouble is he can't decide when, it only happens when he gets worried and right now Charlie has quite a lot to worry about. His brother (who is in hospital), his parents (who are panicking about it), and the school bully (who has Charlie in his sights). And even though every kid wants a superhero power, Charlie isn't keen on changing into a chicken in the middle of the school play.
So with the help of his three best friends, Charlie needs to find a way of dealing with his crazy new power - and fast!
Make your own climbing spider
One of the creatures Charlie changes into is a spider (as well as eight legs he has eight bums!)
Try making your own climbing spider
What you will need
What other animals could you make using this method? how about a pigeon flying through the sky or a scuttling crab! Lisa quite likes the idea of a jumping flea
Monday 11th May- Hairy Maclary
Hairy Maclary and his doggy pals love going for a walk together down the street where they live but there is one animal who can send them all running - listen along and find out who it is:
Here's a game I love to play when I go for a walk in the park. Not going to the park? You could even play it from your own window if you look out on a street where lots of people are walking past. Set yourself a time limit and then see how many different kinds of dogs you can spot from the Hairy Maclary story.
Wednesday 6th May - Toilet Roll Challenge
On Friday, we enjoyed watching former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell draw requests as part of Pyjamarama Live. You can still see the video using the link below.
Monday 4th May - Giraffes
In the past, lots of Clifford Road children have been to visit famous children's authors and illustrators with The Children's Book Show, and Mrs Wilson has organised for some of those talented people to visit us in school too. Illustrator Catherine Rayner is missing touring the country showing us how to draw so she has recorded herself reading one of her stories instead (I think she's still in her PJs, what do you think?).
If you would like to learn more about giraffes, Nat Geo Kids has some great facts for you. For example, did you know that giraffes eat so many juicy leaves that they only need to drink once every few days?
Friday 1st May : It's pyjama day!
Book lovers over at the Book Trust are encouraging authors, illustrators and readers at home to stay in their pyjamas all day! Whether you decide to get dressed or not, you can join in with lots of fun activities - take a look at the programme:
There are lots of stories and activities to download at the Pyjamarama webpages, including PJ Masks masks! If you feel you might be a little bit too old to dress up as Owlette or Cat Boy, try listening to Chris Riddell read his story "Once Upon a Wild Wood" and use your story knowledge to spot how many different fairy tales get mentioned.
Wednesday 29th April - The Rainbow Fish
Today's story is The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.
Ruth has enjoyed spotting Elmers in people's windows on her morning walks. He is such a colourful character, always trying to cheer up his friends and make people laugh. You can listen to the author, David McKee, reading the story of Elmer by following the link below.
It's Earth Week in the Library!
Right now, we are all staying home and working together to protect each other and keep everyone healthy. We can do the same for our environment - in fact maybe you've already started by planting seeds in your garden or up-cycling things you had around the house to keep yourself busy and make new toys to play with. Join us for a planet-loving challenge each day or check out the selection at NatGeo Kids to find your own inspiration.
Friday 24th April - Earth Heroes
Who is your Earth Hero? Maybe you love watching documentaries by David Attenborough or feel inspired by Greta Thunberg? Perhaps you were amazed by the story of Rachel Carson or Dr. Jane Goodall during science week?
Then you might enjoy this book from publishers Nosy Crow. What do you know about William Kamkwamba (wind power from bits of old bicycles) or Mohammed Rezwan (floating schools for flooded communities in Bangladesh)?
Could you be the next Earth Hero? If you have a head full of great ideas, check out this competition from Dopper - they think children aged 8-12 can change the world with their plastic solutions and inventions.
Thursday 23rd April: Under the Sea
We have talked a lot about plastic at school - the problems plastic causes for our planet, especially in the sea. Plastic can be really useful - right now lots of plastic items are being used to keep people safe and healthy - but it can also become a big problem if we don't think about the way we use it, and what to do when we have finished with it.
Today in the library, we are diving beneath the waves to explore our amazing oceans. So put on a relaxing ocean soundtrack, pop over to NatGeoKids and read more:
In our school library, we have a book called Somebody Swallowed Stanley - you can listen to it here. There's also an interview with the author, Sarah Roberts, who is a shark expert.
For older readers, Orlagh recommends this non-fiction book about plastic - read an extract here.
Wednesday 22nd April: Happy Earth Day!
Our story today was written by author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers (you know him from Lost and Found with the adventurous penguin). It's called Here We Are:Notes for Living on Planet Earth. Oliver explains why he wrote it at the beginning of the story.
If baking’s your thing, celebrate with these Earth Day inspired cupcakes.
1. Make an ordinary cupcake batter (there are lots of recipes on the internet if you don’t have one).
2. Divide the cake batter in half.
3. Colour one bowl green and the other blue by adding a few drops of food colouring in each. Mix well.
4. Spoon the blue mixture into each cupcake following the green. Be sure to add approx. 3 tablespoons of cupcake batter to each cup.
5. Bake the cupcakes accordingly to the recipe but keep an eye on the cupcakes while they are baking so they don't brown.
6. Top with green and blue icing or eat plain. Maybe you could stick on a few marshmallow clouds? Yum!
Tuesday 21st April: Look closer...
Today we are going outside to look for all those beautiful creatures fluttering and buzzing about in the sunshine. See if you can spot any of these insects in your garden or in the park next time you visit:
Ruth has got commas and peacock butterflies flitting around her garden, and tawny mining bees burrowing in the cracks between her paving slabs.
Meanwhile, Lisa and Orlagh have been tuning in to Steve Backshall's live Q&A every Wednesday at 9:30 on his Youtube channel. He has inspired them to try creating a simple wildlife pond. He suggests getting an old washing up bowl, sinking it into the ground, then covering the bottom with pebbles filling it with rainwater and putting stones around the outside so that if anything falls in it can get back out. You will be surprised how much wildlife this will attract to your garden.
You can catch up on previous broadcasts here, and also see all the weird fossils and skeletons he has in his house. We know some of you love Steve Backshall because all of his books in the library are held together with sticky tape, they have been read so much!
Our story for today has to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Click below to see author Eric Carle reading it. He must love minibeasts because he has also written lots of other books about them including The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Busy Spider and The Bad Tempered Ladybird. Can you find some of these to read too?
Monday 20th April: On your marks... get set... GROW!
Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22nd since 1970. The main aim of Earth Day is to raise awareness on the negative impact our actions as mankind have on our environment and earth as a whole and this year's focus is climate change.
You may be asking yourself,”but what can I do?” Well you can do something. Remember that the environment is not a faraway place - its right there on your doorstep so you could show you mean business by nurturing your garden and green spaces.
Today's story is written and illustrated by the amazing Fan brothers (you might remember them from one of last year's Greenaway books Ocean Meets Sky). Listen and notice how gardening changes people:
Orlagh and I are having a go at growing our own vegetables. By growing your own food, you are helping to reduce the high amounts of burning fossil fuels that fill our environment as a direct result of importing foods from commercial farmers. You also are reducing waste from food packaging materials such as man-made plastics and cardboard, that also travel hundreds and thousands of miles.
We have used old milk cartons and tin cans as plant pots. Look how they've grown after just two weeks!
No seeds? Try this activity using kitchen scraps instead. Pop the root ends in water on a sunny window sill and watch them grow. Once the roots appear you can plant them in soil if you have any.
Wednesday 15th April - Into the woods...
We all know how important and amazing trees are, so today's story is a biography of a pioneering female scientist who transformed a desert landscape with trees when no one else believed she could.
If you enjoyed the story and want to write a book review, you can put it in the biography/ great pictures category (year 5/6) or the female scientist/ significant person category (year 3/4) for the reading challenge.
What stories do you know where trees are important? The Gruffalo and Stick Man are two of our favourites, both by Julia Donaldson. For older readers, the 13 Storey Treehouse series by Terry Denton and Andy Griffiths is very popular in the school library, and everyone still loves The Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton.
Monday 13th April - We're going to the zoo!
It's a typical British Bank Holiday Monday - cold, wet and windy - so we're off to the zoo!
Start by reading this classic book, you'll probably remember it from when you were younger (and your parents might too - it's 35 years since it was first published!).
For older children, you can read Anthony Browne's Zoo. If you write a book review later, this can go in your "Book that has won an award category" for year 5/6 or your "Book Trust top 100" if you are in year 3/4.
What do you think about the way the people behave in Zoo? Your trip to the zoo will be much more fun - here's how!
Visit the Virtual Zoo
Mrs Abbott has put some great zoo links on the main Easter activities website. We loved the Edinburgh Zoo live webcams. You will find many more zoo videos and safari park tours on You Tube. Head over to NatGeo Kids to find out more about your favourites.
You can use the search tool to find the animals you are most interested in. They also have video clips of the animals in the wild. If you love making books you could use the information to write your own "Zoo Guide".
Go on a book shelf safari
Visit your book shelf and make a list of all the animals you can find in the books there. On a tour of Keira's book shelf I saw dogs, foxes, hedgehogs, cats, and several tapirs! The rules are that it must be an animal you could see in a real zoo so sorry, no unicorns allowed.
Or maybe you could imagine a zoo filled with animals from books you have read? In my zoo I would have Elmer the Patchwork Elephant by David McKee, Mugglewump the Monkey from Roald Dahl's The Twits, the hyena family from Julian Clary's The Bolds and... who else can you spot below?
How many more can you think of?
Wednesday 8th April 2020 - Bored at home? Try space!
Today's stories are ones we love from our Clifford Road science week - but they are being read by scientists in a very unusual location: the International Space Station!
Of course, there are other stories on the site to explore. When you have listened to them, you could head over to NASA kids - we have used lots of activities and crafts from this site in our Chatterbooks groups. We especially enjoyed making sun biscuits and suncream handprints.
Any day you like - go on a Bear Hunt!
If you or someone else in your family is going out for some exercise, look out in people's windows for bears. Ruth saw a particularly relaxed looking bear sleeping in a window on Woodville Road. If that's your bear, our bears say "Hi!".
Staying at home? Take your bear hunt round the house, or out into the garden. What sounds can you make when you are exploring? Where are your bears hiding? Make sure you've got a blanket or duvet ready to hide under when you get to the end. Or perhaps you'd rather be the bear?
Monday 6th April - Have a Magical Monday!
If you're a Harry Potter fan (or maybe your parents are) the there's some good news! Hogwarts might be closed but, just like all the other schools in the UK, you can continue your magical education online. Pop over to:
You can find word searches and puzzles, quizzes, drawing tutorials and more fun. Try the sorting hat and find out which house you would be in (Lisa is a Gryffindor, Orlagh is a Hufflepuff, Ruth and Keira are both Ravenclaws).
You can listen to the whole of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone read by Stephen Fry for free on Audible.
Or maybe now is a good time to start a "Harry Potter marathon" and see how many of the seven book series you can read (or have read to you) before we go back to school. Ruth sometimes likes to do this in the summer holidays!
You can use The Philosopher's Stone in the following reading challenge categories:
Friday 3rd April - Veggies Assemble!
One of our favourite books to read aloud in the library is Supertato by Sue Hendra. If you've never read it then you won't understand why peas are so dangerous. Read it here and be extra careful to always close your freezer properly.
If you had been in school on Tuesday this week, you would have seen Ruth flying round the playground wearing a green cape she borrowed from R1 and her "Bad Girl Broccoli" mask. We don't think there is any video footage of this...
Wednesday 1st April - Calling all Comic Book Fans...
Orlagh and I have really been enjoying the daily activities posted on social media by the Phoenix comic we have been learning how to draw some of the characters as well as trying to solve the daily Von Doogan puzzle.
Monday 30th March - Sizzling Sausage Dogs
Last week, Keira and I loved joining in with "Draw with Rob". Author illustrator Rob Biddulph is posting two videos each week to teach you how to be a top illustrator.
Today I am drawing sausage dogs. I love them because you can do so many different designs. You could make a rainbow coloured dog and pop him in the window with your cheerful rainbows. Or you could draw your sausage dog on some card and make a book mark. Or if you get really carried away, use the instructions below to make yourself a little book and design a different dog for each page!