Children’s Events at The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival (to 5 April 2009)


There’s a great programme of events for children and young people at the Oxford Literary Festival  – from  the Under 5’s to teens, including birthday celebrations Elmer the Elephant and Bob the Builder and an exhibition of work from four leading Oxford children’s book illustrators, Korky Paul, Mini Grey, Terry Milne and Joanna Walsh.

Wednesday 1st April 2009

Usborne Books present….     Noisy Books and Action Rhymes
10.30am, 11.30am     Music Room, Christ Church     £2.50

Can you roar like a tiger or hiss like a snake? Or would you like to sing along to The Wheels on the Bus? Join Sam Taplin and Felicity Brooks for an action-packed session as they demonstrate Usborne’s award-winning sound-chip books: Noisy Animals, Noisy Jungle and First Picture Action Rhymes.  Under 5s 30mins

A Question of Words
1.30-4pm     The Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street     Free

Students from years 7, 8 & 9 will compete in school teams in the final of a fast, fun and thrilling word-game competition, including performance rhymes, poetry, alphabet stories and “call my bluff”. The best teams have been chosen after taking part in workshops at their schools run by Spiel Unlimited. Come and see who will be this year’s champions! Tickets for the final are free but please pre-book.

Thursday 2nd April 2009

Templar Publishing presents. Emma Dodd     Miaow Said the Cow
10am, 12pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £2.50

Hens oinking, sheep barking and mice mooing … Find out why there are funny farmyard sounds with author/illustrator Emma Dodd who will be reading and drawing pictures from her new book, Miaow Said the Cow. Practise your own animal noises and be ready for some audience participation!  Under 5s 30 minutes

Friday 3rd April 2009

Andersen Press presents.Andy Ellis     When Lulu Went to the Zoo
10am-10.30am, 12.30pm-1pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £2.50

When Lulu goes to the zoo. she is sad for all the giraffes and the penguins too. In fact, she is sad for all the animals, so Lulu decides to release them from their cages and take them back to her house to live. Andy Ellis brings his story to life with its great read-aloud rhyming text and irresistible illustrations, and he asks his audience which animal they would like to bring home to live at their house.  Under 5s 30 minutes

Andersen Press presents… Miriam Moss     Matty In a Mess
11.30am-12pm, 1.30pm-2pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £2.50

Matty is a very orderly bear who lives with his not-so-orderly sister, Milly. But one day when a strong wind turns everything upside down, Matty finds himself in a bit of a mess… Miriam Moss reads from her book in a gentle story session for the under 5s, encouraging audience participation.   Under 5s 30 minutes

Louise Rennison     Stop in the Name of Pants
6pm     Garden Marquee, Christ Church     £6.00

Come and meet bestselling teen author Louise Rennison as she shares hilarious anecdotes from her fabulous Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series which has been described as Bridget Jones for teenagers but funnier (and Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging was recently made into a hugely successful film)! The latest book is, Stop in the Name of Pants – the ninth book of confessions of the crazy but loveable teen drama queen, Georgia Nicholson.  Age 13+   Not suitable for younger children

Saturday 4th April 2009

Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts
10am to 4pm     Blackwell Festival Marquee Bookshop     £Free

Come along and help The Roald Dahl Museum’s very own Oompa Loompas to do some noisy storytelling from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and Dirty Beasts. You might also get quite revolting and dirty yourselves (don’t tell the grown-ups), joining in with messy mask-making , squiffing stories and creative crafts.   (suitable for under 12’s).

Terry Deary, Larry Rickard     Horrible Histories – Soon to be on TV!
10am     Newman Rooms, St Aldates     £5.00

Already the world’s bestselling history-book series for children, Horrible Histories is now all set for TV fame. Join best-selling Horrible Histories author Terry Deary, in conversation with Larry Rickard, who helped to bring this famous name to the screen and stars in the series. Hear how they adapted these funny and irreverent books to create what is sure to become another British comedy classic, and be the first to see exclusive sketches and footage from the series before it is aired this year. This is a perfect event for all the family.  Family Event

Elmers Birthday
10am     Priory Room     £3.50

2009 sees the 20th anniversary of Elmer, everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant! Created by David McKee, Elmer is known and adored by children worldwide, and is the lovable star of numerous colourful picture books featuring all his jungle friends. Come and find out about his latest antics, meet Elmer himself – and you might even get to share some of his birthday cake! Party packs for all children attending.   2-5 years

Bob the Builder’s 10th Anniversary
10am, 12pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £3.50

Meet Bob the Builder and find out about his ‘Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’ motto. Whether it’s gardening with Wendy, tidying up with Muck or re-using rubbish to make new things, Bob is always environmentally aware. Travelling all the way from Sunflower Valley, Bob and storyteller Liz Fost will teach you how to look after the planet, recycle things around the house and re-use them rather than throw them away. With goodie bags for budding builders. Numbers are limited to 30 children, so book early to avoid disappointment!   3+ years

Helena Pielichaty & Penny Dolan     Reality or Fantasy?
10am     Junior Common Room     £4.50

Meet two successful children’s authors with different approaches to writing. Helena prefers stories set in real life. Her books have covered such themes as starting secondary school, dealing with bullies and being burgled. Penny likes to mix and match fantasy and reality. She has written about ghosts, evil dog-catchers and talking elephants. Which do you prefer? Come and meet the authors and join in what promises to be a lively and humorous debate.  9-13 years

Genevieve Helsby     My First Classical Music Book and Meet the Instruments of the Orchestra
10am     Junior CoCathedral, Christ Churchmmon Room     £4.00

Come and have some musical fun! Genevieve Helsby, author of My First Classical Music Book and Meet the Instruments of the Orchestra! (published by Naxos Books), teams up with two professional musicians to present a children’s concert for all the family to enjoy. With famous tunes to spot, games to play, and the chance to join in on percussion instruments, there’s something for everyone.

N.B. Bring a silly hat and a piece of percussion! (Anything that makes a noise – even a saucepan lid and a wooden spoon… but don’t worry if you forget – you won’t be left empty-handed!) Family Event, all ages welcome.

Just Two Minutes
11.30am and 3.30pm (2 minutes)     Blackwell Festival Bookshop Meadows Marquee, Christ Church     Free

Winners of the Oxon/Berks regional heat of the International Kids Lit Quiz will, in just two minutes, tell you about one of their current favourite books and why you might also like to read it.     (Books for ages 11-13 yrs).

Jason Bradbury
12pm     Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church     £4.00

Join Jason Bradbury, presenter of Channel 5’s hugely popular Gadget Show, and an ultra-cool robot cast for the Robot Roadshow and hear Jason discuss his brand new book Dot Robot.  A slick cyber-thriller, Dot Robot sees the addictive world of online gaming brought to life in a fast-paced novel for readers aged 9+.

Emma Chichester Clark     Minty and Tink
12pm     The Priory Room     £4.00

Minty is delighted – she has found her very own talking toy bear called Tink! But Tink is to be a present for her baby brother, so she must think of a way to save him for herself. Emma Chichester Clark, the popular and prolific author, illustrator and anthologist, is considered one of England’s most distinguished picture-book creators, whose work stands comparison with Beatrix Potter, Edward Ardizzone, Tony Ross, and Quentin Blake – her former teacher. Emma will be reading from her new book and giving an illustrated talk aimed at all the family.    Family Event 5+ years

The DFC: Writing and Illustrating Comics     Panel Event with David Fickling and other DFC contributors – Robin and Lorenzo Etherington, Sarah MacIntyre & John Aggs
12pm     Junior Common Room     £5.00

Have you seen The DFC yet? This brand-new weekly comic took the children’s publishing world by storm earlier this year and some of its biggest and best contributors are coming to Oxford to tell you how they do it! Hear from David Fickling, publisher and creator of The DFC, as he introduces you to the writers and illustrators who help to make this exciting and totally original comic. All participating children will receive a free copy of The DFC!   8-12 years

2pm, 3.30pm     Priory Room, Christ Church     £5

Reading Quest, an Oxford-based charity aimed to create young readers, offers a hands-on experience for children aged 3-11 and their parents / carers . Workshop activities will include storytelling, games and activities, role-play with costumes, experiments with illustration techniques, a treasure hunt through books and stories, and insights for both adults and children into the double-dutch world of printed symbols.

Postman Pat and Jess
2pm, 4pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £3.50

Come and have some fun with Postman Pat and Jess to celebrate the launch of his new Special Delivery Service. Postman Pat has a special delivery to make, but there are some obstacles in his way. With the help of storyteller Liz Fost and some audience participation, will Pat make his delivery on time? Take home your very own Postman Pat goodie bag too! Numbers are limited to 30 children, so book early to avoid disappointment!    3+ years

Dinosaur Cove
2pm     Junior Common Room     £3.50

Step into the late Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, with illustrator Mike Spoor. Two friends fall through an ancient beach cave into a world of dinosaurs in this exciting interactive event with games and stories all about your favourite prehistoric giants.    6-9 years

Ian Whybrow     Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs
2pm     Newman Rooms, St Aldates     £4.00

Come and say Raaaaaahhhh with Ian Whybrow, creator of Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs, at this special 10th-anniversary event which promises to be fun and interactive with songs and games for ages 5+.

Michael Morpurgo
2pm     Garden Marquee, Christ Church     £6.50

A rare chance to meet award-winning author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo as he talks about his best-selling books including Private Peaceful, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Born to Run and War Horse, which performed at the National Theatre in 2007 and 2008. His latest novel is Kaspar Prince of Cats, the story of a cat that survives the Titanic and This Morning I Met a Whale, the story of the whale that swam up the Thames.

Glitterwings Academy
4pm     Junior Common Room     £3.50

If you’d like to become an honorary fairy and find out all about the best fairy school around, come along and meet Titania Woods.  Come dressed in your best fairy outfit and be prepared to get creative.  There will be competitions, storytelling and lots, lots more!    6 – 9 years

Ben Cort     Aliens Love Underpants
4pm     Newman Rooms, St Aldates     £3.50

You probably thought aliens came down to Earth with a view to taking over the planet – but, no, they simply want to steal your pants! And why were dinosaurs wiped out? Did underpants play a part in history?  Come and meet Ben Cort, illustrator of bestselling Aliens Love Underpants and Dinosaurs Love Underpants, and be prepared for a very special inter-galactic, pant-loving mystery-guest appearance too!  Bring along the most “unusual underpants” you can find or make – pant-tastic prizes for the best!    Family Event 4 years +
Lyric Writing Workshop with Jenny Lewis and Robin Bennett
6-8pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £12.00

How do you keep finding fresh ideas for songs? What is a middle eight? And how do you come up with the ‘hook’ that record companies are looking for? This creative workshop with poet Jenny Lewis and musician/songwriter Robin Bennett will look at all these questions and give you the chance to flex your songwriting talents in a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Jenny Lewis is an award-winning poet, children’s author and songwriter who wrote and sang with the legendary Vashti Bunyan in the 1960s (Just Another Diamond Day – the T-Mobile song). She teaches poetry at Oxford University. Robin Bennett is a composer and musician who started the Truck Festival in Steventon in 1999. He is lead singer of the iconic band Goldrush and also writes as part of a solo project, Dusty Sound System.
There will be a performance in the Music Room on Sunday at 6pm for invited guests of the workshop participants to play their own songs or read their lyrics (one song or poem per person!) A piano, guitars and PA system will be provided.     15+ years

Centre for Inquiry UK Presents  Stephen Law and Ian Rowland – Amazing Powers of the Mind!
6pm     JCR, Christ Church     £4.00

Do some people possess extraordinary – even paranormal – mental abilities, such as the ability to read another’s mind, or move an object solely by the power of thought? Are some people psychic? This session will both amaze and educate you! Come and be astonished by some remarkable mental powers, and then learn the truth! Stephen Law is a London University philosopher and the author of The Philosophy Files and The Philosophy Files 2. Ian Rowland is a professional magician.   Ages 12+ (not suitable for younger children)
Sunday 5th April 2009

Nick and Annette Butterworth     Jake the Good Bad Dog
10am     Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church     £5.00

Nick Butterworth is known the world over for his Percy the Park Keeper stories, The Whisperer, QPootle5 and Tiger. He has teamed up with his wife Annette to bring you stories about Jake, inspired by two dogs in particular, Jake and Sheppy. The Jake of these stories is a very special dog indeed: not only is he brilliant at football, but he’s the best friend you could ever have. Hear all about his adventures, both real and fictional, in Nick and Annette’s illustrated talk.     Family Event  6+ years

Jan Fearnley
10am     Music Room, Christ Church     £3.50

Join the popular author and illustrator Jan Fearnley as she talks about her latest book, The Baby Dragon Tamer. A big, loud, snorting-purple-smoke dragon arrives – and all he wants is TREASURE! But he hasn’t bargained on meeting a very bold Baby. Help Jan re-tell the story and watch her draw pictures from the book whilst she wears her very own dragon wings!  3-5 years

Just Two Minutes
11.30am and 3.30pm (2 minutes)     Blackwell Festival Bookshop Meadows Marquee, Christ Church     Free

Winners of the Oxon/Berks regional heat of the International Kids Lit Quiz will, in just two minutes, tell you about one of their current favourite books and why you might also like to read it.     (Books for ages 11-13 yrs).

Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy.     Chaired by Nicolette Jones
12pm     Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church     £5.00

One of today’s most celebrated illustrators, Shirley Hughes, author of the beloved Dogger and Alfie stories, always knew her daughter, Clara Vulliamy, would be an artist too. In this illustrated event, chaired by children’s book reviewer and expert Nicolette Jones, they talk about their new books Jonadab and Rita and The Lucky Wish Mouse. Chaired by Nicolette Jones.    Family Event 7+ years

Sam Lloyd     Monster Mates
12pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £3.50

Join award-winning author and illustrator Sam Lloyd and her lovable collection of monster puppets.  Help her to Calm Down Boris! and make fabulous friends with Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog. Say Hello Dudley and sit on your hands when Scary Sid is around.  An irresistible mix of puppets, story-telling and songs for 3-5 year olds.

Sean Taylor     Crocodiles are the Best Animals of All
12pm     Christ Church Cathedral School     £3.50

At least that’s what they say.  Award-winning children’s author Sean Taylor will be asking riddles, telling stories and reading from his new picture book in a light-hearted session for children aged 3-8.  Sean is the author of more than 20 books for children, including The Bopping Big Band, The Great Snake, When a Monster is Born and the Purple Class series.

Chris Higgins
12pm     Junior Common Room     £4.00

Chris Higgins writes perceptively and sensitively for her teenage audience. Her books feature believable characters and plots that reflect a profound knowledge of the issues that affect young adults. Join Chris to talk about writing, reading and life.   11+ years

Philip Ardagh
12pm     Newman Rooms, St Aldates     £5.00

Best-selling and bushily bearded Philip Ardagh will be talking about what turned him into the author he is today (quite apart from the extra large meals and the total lack of shaving). He will be explaining what inspired him to write, what he loves about writing and why being absolutely useless at everything else is a godsend. With photographs, readings and audience participation, you can be sure of an event to remember with plenty of laughs along the way and come and be one of the first to find out about Philip’s new book Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky (Grubtown Tales).  Family Event.  7+ Years

Jeremy Strong      Big Jam Explosion
2pm     Newman Rooms, St Aldates     £5.00

Join Jeremy Strong for his brand new show, the Big Jam Explosion, and hear all about the creation of his best-loved characters, as well as how Jeremy went from donut-stuffer to multi-award winning writer.  With his unique brand of silliness, the Big Jam Explosion is a hilarious treat for boys and girls aged 6+.

Sam Lloyd     Monster Mates
2pm     Music Room, Christ Church     £3.50

Join award-winning author and illustrator Sam Lloyd and her lovable collection of monster puppets.  Help her to Calm Down Boris! and make fabulous friends with Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog. Say Hello Dudley and sit on your hands when Scary Sid is around.  An irresistible mix of puppets, story-telling and songs for 3-5 year olds.

Heroes vs. Villains: Mark Walden vs. Andy Briggs
2pm     Blue Boar Marquee, Christ Church     £3.50

Are good guys always good? Do you secretly cheer for the dastardly villains rather than the dashing heroes? The authors of the action-packed H.I.V.E. and series will be locked in fierce debate of ‘Heroes vs. Villains’ and you, the audience, will judge the winner! Come and cast your vote in this battle of wits.    9+ years

Kristina Stevenson
2pm     Junior Common Room     £3.50

Join author and illustrator Kristina Stephenson as she acts out the heroic story of Sir Charlie Stinky Socks. He must bravely face ghastly ghouls, headless ghosts and a dark danger lurking in the cellar in order to retrieve a princess’s teddy bear. Join in with an arts and crafts session to make the characters from Kristina’s books.    3-5 years

Jeremy Paxman, Philip Pullman     Off by Heart
2.00pm – 4pm (please arrive by 1.30pm)     Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street     £5.00 (adults) £2.50 (children)

The Sheldonian Theatre plays host to the final of Off By Heart, the BBC’s new poetry reciting competition. In schools up and down the country thousands of 7- to 11-year-olds have been busy learning and performing poems, from William Wordsworth’s Daffodils to Edward Lear’s Owl and the Pussycat reworked as a beat-box routine.

Now the 12 best, chosen from over 1,000 entrants, will compete in a grand final compered by Jeremy Paxman. Finalists will recite a selection of poems in front of the Sheldonian audience, television cameras and most importantly a panel of expert judges (including the author Philip Pullman), who will choose an Off By Heart champion. This promises to be an unmissable event – warm, funny and compelling, it should have universal appeal.

In May BBC 2 will air a 90-minute documentary, made by independent production company Silver River, following the 12 finalists as they prepare for and compete in the final. An anthology of all the poems recited by the finalists, as well as other favourites to learn by heart, will be published to coincide with the competition and documentary.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
3.30pm     Christ Church Cathedral School     £3.50

Join in the celebrations for the 40th Anniversary of the world’s bestselling picture book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with a fun, interactive event for children aged 2 and up. The 45-minute event will include lots of games, songs and activities, all themed around The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and will end with an interactive telling of the story. Presented by professional storyteller Justine de Mierre and supported by Puffin Books.     2+ years

Beast Quest Adventures!
4pm     Junior Common Room     £3.50

Calling all valiant knights and questors! Six mystical beasts are guarding magical golden armour for the evil wizard Malvel. In this interactive event, help the good wizard Aduro to solve the cryptic puzzles and free the beasts from Malvel’s evil spell. Beast Quest goodies for all participants!     7-9 years

Malorie Blackman
4pm     Newman Rooms, St Aldates     £6.50

Don’t miss this rare chance to meet best-selling author Malorie Blackman, who will be in Oxford to introduce the fourth title in her provocative and stimulating Noughts & Crosses sequence: Double Cross. This series has won many awards, including the Fantastic Fiction Award: the only award with a short list – and winner – entirely chosen by teenagers. Noughts & Crosses was also voted as one of the nation’s 100 favourite books in the BBC Big Read survey.