I love doing school events. They are often maddeningly complicated to set up, and there are often lots of 'variables' in terms of planning, on which the eventual success of an event hangs. But just occasionally, everything - the school, the author, the kids - just fall into place and you run an event of which everyone is justly proud.

Well, that's what happened on Monday when children's author, performer and scriptwriter Ciaran Murtagh spent a day at Thomas Reade Primary School in Abingdon. Ciaran writes the 'Dinopants' series of books, which we are big fans of in the shop. He also writes for some heavyweight CBBC shows such as 'The Slammer' and 'The Legend of Dick and Dom', so the children were pretty excited about him coming to the school. They had done a lot of preparation for his arrival - not least making a range of 'Dinopants', the best of which were strung on a makeshift washing line in the main entrance:

The school could not have been more supportive of the visit, even going to the lengths of arranging dinosaur-shaped snacks for the author's lunch:

How cool is that?!

Ciaran was introduced to the school in assembly, and then proceeded to run workshops with pretty much every year group in the school throughout the day, starting with reception:

Then years 3 and 4...

years 5 and 6...

and finally years 1 and 2. The workshops consisted of storytelling sessions where the kids decided what actually happened in the stories at key points. The chocolate monster story in the last workshop was particularly impressive...

Ciaran then signed books for everyone - including copies of the latest in the series "Dinoball", not yet released, and hot from the back of the author's car.

Here's one lucky boy clasping his copy of Dinoball, and who had eagerly been awaiting the release of the fourth books (having read the first three at bedtime over the past year - I told you they were big favourites in the Thornton household...) 

Thanks to Ciaran, who worked like a trojan, and whose hand must have seized up by the end of day after numerous impromptu sketches of dinosaurs, pants and, well, yes, dinosaur poo. Thomas Reade School deserve a huge thank you, as do teachers Julie and Kirsty for setting the whole thing up. Not least to the children, who got fully into the spirit of the day and made the stories come alive.

Ciaran will actually be in "The Slammer" this Friday (juggling porridge apparently). I'll try to put a link here once it's up in iPlayer!


  1. Ooh, I think I'll have to get this series. I just had a wee read on Amazon... Eh...do you ship to France?

  2. We do indeed. I can sort you out some signed copies to boot at no extra cost...

  3. Oh cool! I was thinking of buying them for the class. I shall check into ordering procedure tomorrow.