Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Harper Collins Summer Reads - Grandpa's Great Escape inspired days out and a book bundle giveaway!




I'm delighted to have been asked to take part in the Harper Collins Summer Reads Book Tour, joining with a bunch of other lovely bloggers talking about our favourite kid's books and sharing some ideas for nurturing the love of reading.

We've picked a David Walliams book as he's a very firm favourite in this house. It's no secret that we're massive fans of his, desperate to get our hands on new releases as soon as they come out.  We had a fabulous time hearing him talk on stage last year about his Midnight Gang book, and we got our grubby mitts on his follow up World's Worst Children book as soon as it was published.


We've chosen to talk about another of his books, Grandpa's Great Escape as it's so well loved in this house.  Ruby's teacher read it to the class last year when they were studying World War II, and it's since been read and re-read countless times at bedtime.

Hearing David talk about his inspiration for characters, he said that it can be found everywhere and in everyone.  Much like another favourite, Gansgta Granny (see below for last years World Book Day dress up!), it's refreshing to have older people as the heroes.  Elderly folk can be overlooked by the youth as having little to offer, but talking to them you soon begin to understand the exciting lives they have lead and the adventures they've had.


As someone who has just lost their last grandparent at the ripe old age of 99, I looked with wonder and admiration at the photos of my Nana in her youth, exploring the countryside, riding her bike for hundreds of miles over dale and moor, carrying camping gear on her back, swimming in rivers and cooking on a campfire.  It's easy to forget they were young once, full of vibrancy and vigour.  It's also this generation who can tell, first hand, the stories of wartime Britain.

Grandpa's Great Escape does just that, as Grandpa recounts his heroic tales from the time he was a Spitfire pilot soaring through the skies,  to his grandson Jack.


For me, the book is tinged with sadness - an elderly grandparent suffering from dementia, someone who survived the war, worked hard all their life to be written off and confined to a non-caring care-home, but that's me still dealing with my own grief.  For the most part, and for the child audience it's written for, it's full of charm, humour and adventure.

If you are not familiar with the book, I'm sure this clip of David Walliams reading from Grandpa's Great Escape will persuade you to give it a go.



Daring escapes, thrilling aerial displays and parachute descents into Buckingham Palace, this book has it all, and I've come up with some ideas for the summer holidays for fans of the book.


Whilst I don't recommend trying to steal a Spitfire, or even taking a nap in the cockpit, take a visit to see the Battle of Britain planes close up.

Not only does the museum itself feature in the plot - you can see the domed roof with the portal windows where Jack and Grandpa sneaked in and the huge canons they used to climb up - but you can also learn all about family life during wartime in the permanent exhibition, covering all aspects of living in London including The Blitz, air-raid shelters and rationing. And of course you can marvel at the planes and tanks on display.  The newly refitted museum has a huge atrium where you will find the Sopwith Camel, the Spitfire and the Mark V tank as mentioned in the book.

Admission is free.



Imperial War Museum, Manchester

If you're based in the north of England, then pop along to Manchester IWM and see their exhibition of the Manchester Blitz, to understand more about what it was like during that time, and you can learn about the RAF pilots the 'Dam Busters'. Admission is free.


IWM, Duxford, Cambridgeshire

Entrance fees apply here (£18 per adult and £9 for children 5-15).  At Duxford you can get up close with a Spitfire, a Lancaster and a Tiger Moth. Visit the Battle Of Britain exhibition and hear real-life heroes talk of their memories of defending Britain's skies.  The first Spitfires flew from RAF Duxford.

Duxford is famous for it's air shows, the next of which will be the Flying Legends Airshow weekend of 8th and 9th July, and the Battle of Britain Airshow in September.



RAF Museum, Hendon

Whilst admission is free, you might want to book yourself on the flight simulator at £3 per person, and see if you could cut it as a Wing commander or a Squadron Leader.  Or perhaps experience the 4D interactive flight show complete with sounds, movement, smoke effects and even water spray for a fully immersive experience of life in the air. Or for £10, you can join the 'Spitfire Cockpit' gang and sit in a real-life Spitfire.  Restrictions and exclusions apply, so please check before visiting.

photo credit: The MummySphere 

I hope that's motivated you to have a Great Escape of your own.  To help inspire a summer of adventures for you, I'm offering readers the chance to win a bundle of Harper Collins children's books as featured above.  These include:


The World's Worst Children 2 by David Walliams

Animalcule  by David Baddiel
Finding Gobi (Young Readers Edition) by Dion Leonard
Paddington's Finest Hour - By Michael Bond (who will be sadly missed, RIP)
Goodly & Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap by Justine Windsor
Darkmouth - Hero Rising by Shane Hegarty
Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams
The Fox & The Ghost King by Michael Morpurgo
Pirate Blunderbeard by Amy Sparks and Bed Cort
Radio Boy by Christian O'Connell


To enter, please complete the rafflecopter and tell me what is your child's favourite book and what adventures or days out has it inspired.



This giveaway is open to UK entrants only.  One winner will be chosen at random after the closing date at midnight on Sunday 23rd July 2017.  Don't forget to visit the other #HCSummerReads blogs and follow on Twitter for more chances to win.



Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

122 comments:

  1. My kids love the Harry Potter books and so we have been inspired to visit many of the castles up the coast!

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  2. My Son is obsessed with all the Roald Dahl books so we visited the roald dahl museum and it was fantastic

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  3. My son really likes the diary of a wimpy kid books and loves it when we do things as a family that relates to adventures in the books

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  4. A little different answer to the question, but I always loved The Children of Green Knowe when I was a kid and I was amazed to find out that the setting is real. I really want to visit the place some day, I think it would be magical.

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  5. My niece loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. They haven't really inspired any days out yet though.

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  6. Sounds like a great book! Great post x

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  7. Suzanne Jackson04 July, 2017 11:31

    my daughter likes David Walliams - we've seen two of his books on stage

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  8. My daughter loves 'The Jam Doughnut that ruined my life' by Mark lowery it's very funny and has caused a few belly laughs at bedtime, my daughters school trips always remind her of this book and we made a special trip to the aquarium like they do in the book !

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  9. My kids are quite young, but they love princess books so we have been to a few castles to look for dragons

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  10. Ellie loves Suzies shoes as did her Auntie when she was young! Hannah found an old copy on Ebay for her, she has a bedding box full of dressing up clothes that mainly consists of shoes!

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  11. Matilda I think :) but there are loads of different ones

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  12. Zoo inspired visits to farms and zoos to see different animals

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  13. She loves the horrid henry books but luckily this hasn't really inspired any naughty behaviour!

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  14. My daughter now really enjoys The 13-storey Treehouse, it is really funny :)

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  15. any peppa pig visit to local petting farm

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  16. any peppa pig visit to local petting farm

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  17. My little one loves the Gruffalo we have done the Gruffalo walks and last week we went to Chessington world of adventures theme park and stayed in a Gruffalo themed room. There were lots of lovely little touches like a secrete hiding place with a free gift. It was a special treat not cheap but well worth the money

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  18. my daughter loves the Gruffalo, she loves country walks as its seen as the deep dark wood, its inspired her to look for animal trails and dens, especially a log pile house.

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  19. we love jacqueline wilson books so anything to do with history such as local museums are great.

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  20. Books about dinosaurs are a favourite in our house so we like going down to the Dorset coast to see if we can find any fossils.

    Kelly Glen
    glenka@hotmail.co.uk

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  21. My boy loves Thomas the Tank Engine, and as a result loves watching trains! We're lucky that there are Thomas Days on a real steam train locally, so we get to ride on a real Thomas.

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  22. Any of the numerous Doctor Who books. Which had lead to 5 trips (so far) to the Doctor Who Expereince.

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  23. We went to Harry potter world in London after all being obsessed with the books, it was amazing

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  24. Shrek, my son and neice are huge fans, we would love to visit the london attraction from reading the books x thank you

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  25. Florence loves the Maisey Mouse Books and especially the one where she visits London, we are hoping to go soon to London to see all the sights we have read about.

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  26. @bexallum on twitter we love visiting the beach

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  27. He loves beast quest books and is always planning his own adventures

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  28. David Walliams books which has meant trips to see the shows

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  29. My daughter loves Harry Potter, we've visited quite a few of the locations where it was filmed.

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  30. My son adores Roald Dahl. I took him to the cinema to watch BFG and he loved it :-)

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  31. My daughter is only 8 but absolutely adores Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. It hasn't inspired and days out or adventures but we've certainly had some amazing conversations inspired by it.

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  32. our little Grandson loves The Mr Men Series, he dressed up as Mr Funny for World Book Day this year

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  33. My son loves the Harry Potter books, so we have visited lots of old castles pretending to be wizards

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  34. We've been on so many bear hunts

    Kay Sherman

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  35. charlie & the chocolate factory, my son's school are now doing a production with him as grandpa joe, he is loving his first acting job :)

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  36. Peppa Pig has inspired many trips to local farms. Also picnics where we can see pigs in the fields.

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  37. The Famous Five books - they love to build dens and pretend that they are on adventures!

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  38. The faraway tree and lots of adventures in the woods!

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  39. She loved Dear Zoo as a toddler so we have visited a farm and a zoo

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  40. Gruffalo / Stick Man, we've done the trails in the forest looking for them...

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  41. my grandson loves the diary of a wimpy kid, not sure it has inspired him to do anything as he is quite a homebird, loves his reading and computer

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  42. My son loves the Horrible Histories books and it's inspired us to visit lots of castles in Scotland!

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  43. Matilda and visits to the library

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  44. My daughter loves Paddington Bear. We travelled around London to found the Paddington Bear statue.

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  45. wheres wally which means my kids now love mazes

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  46. I love Harry Potter books and went to the studios once which was fab

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  47. Were going on a vear hunt which was inspired by a walk in the forest going through mud and long grass

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  48. lynsey Buchanan06 July, 2017 22:32

    My daughter loves Matilda I cannot think of any trips it has inspired.

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  49. My son loves Harry potter books and it has inspired us to visit the studios in London

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  50. My oldest granddaughter is Harry Potter crazy and one of her favourite days out ever was to visit the Harry Potter studio experience

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  51. My daughters favourite is our fairytale collection meaning she's now obsessed with faries and princesses and we always have to go out hunting for unicorns!

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  52. We love the hungry caterpillar,

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  53. My son loves books and has just made his way through the Road Dahl collection and his favourite has been James and the Giant Peach

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  54. they loved the Rupert bear books that have inspired many adventures in the woods

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  55. My son's favourite is Dog Days Diary of a Wimpy Kid. As a boy he was very reluctant to read but after discovering this book (and the others) he now has a renewed interests. He also likes to write diary entries with little pictures as in the book.

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  56. We're going on a bear hunt - my little boy loves it. Cue lots of tramping through forests and streams...

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  57. My daughter loves the Hetty Feather books from Jacqueline Wilson. We visited our local workhouse museum to show her what it was like in the era that Hetty feather was set.

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  58. The Gruffalo has inspired us to visit the woods and look closely at which animals live there! ( We have not found a Gruffalo Yet!)

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  59. The Gruffalo is a favourite and has inspired many trips to High Lodge

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  60. The Gruffalo which has inspired country walks.

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  61. We're Going On A Bear Hunt - We go on regular bear hunts through the forest near our house!

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  62. The Milly Molly books which have inspired many trips to local farms

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  63. We are all big Harry Potter fans here! We are planning to visit the studios, and have been to Edinburgh to see the street Diagon Alley is based on, and the café where JK Rowling wrote the books! :)

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  64. My daughter loves fantastic mr Fox we have visited country parks and you can probably find us sitting in tents with little head torches trying to spot foxes or badgers

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  65. My daughter loves animal books so we have been to lots of farms, zoos, safari parks and anywhere with animals

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  66. My son loves Roald Dahl especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and would like to have visited and helped make lots of delicious chocolates and sweets

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  67. My daughter loves Harry Potter - it has lead to booking for Harry Potter World!

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  68. My daughter loves all the Harry potter books and we have been to Harry potter world london and also to Harry Potter world in Universal studios in Florida.

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  69. My little lad loves The Gruffalo books and I know it's really inspired a love of nature and animals in him. Luckily we have a local wood nearby where we get to walk our dog so he's always exploring and on the look out for creatures he hasn't seen before.

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  70. My son loves Peppa Pig so we visited Peppa Pig world!

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  71. We love books and are reading a fab collection from Harper Collins. Post going up very soon (I hope)

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  72. My daughters favourite is 'We're going on a bear hunt' We have been on many bear hunts over the years!

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  73. My boys love adventures like beast quest, they love to visit the zoo and aquarium to see what creatures they see!

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  74. Ashleigh Allan12 July, 2017 20:27

    We're going on a bear hunt resulting in many trips to the woods

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  75. My middle son who is ten loves the goosebumps collection this has inspired days out pretending to be monster catchers

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  76. My daughter lives books by Holly webb. We have been to our local farm park to see the animals

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  77. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - inspired a visit to Cadbury World

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  78. My son is also reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We are then going to watch the old film and hopefully visit Cadbury World in Birmingham in the Summer Holidays.

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  79. My daughter loooooves the gruffalo and room on the broom she's delighted now she can read these by herself and spends many a morning reading in bed 🙂 Needless to say we've searched many a Staffordshire wood for the elusive gruffalo

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  80. my son loves the horrible histories books and the Harry Potter series, it hasnt inspired any days out yet but we are planning a visit to London to the Harry Potter studio tour

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  81. Awful auntie is a favourite and we have a few adventures planned to visit some stately homes.

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  82. we all love roald dahl so a few years ago we went to visit the roald dahl museum even though its miles away from where we live - it was great!

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  83. They loved the book Charlie and the chocolate factory by Roald Dahl so we actually went on a tour of a chocolate factory which they loved.

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  84. What The Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson. She loves looking for bugs in the garden!

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  85. What The Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson. She loves looking for bugs in the garden!

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  86. The Goblin Princess by Jenny O Connor We've had create a fairy and goblin area at the bottom of the garden

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  87. My kids loved "What the Ladybird heard" and they would frequently try and find ladybirds and other bugs and make up stories about them.

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  88. The Twits by Roald Dahl, it inspires tree climbing but thankfully no requests for bird pie!

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  89. famous five, and we love to go on picnics creating the food they had!

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  90. My little sister likes Charlie and the chocolate factory which has resulted in serveral trips to chocolate factories xx

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  91. My little one loves The Gruffalo who has inspired many walks in the woods looking for one

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  92. the jungle crew.

    they love going to the safari park - makes them feel like they are part of the jungle crew.

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  93. My children have gone Harry Potter crazy after visiting the studios last month

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  94. Paddington Bear - we went to Paddington Station and also saw the statue in London.

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  95. My little boys favourate is The Gruffalo, it has inspired many day trips to Westonbirt Arboretum hunting the Gruffalo!

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  96. My daughter loves Harry Potter. My 3 youngest boys aged 5 and under love We're Going On A Bear Hunt. We do actions as we read the story together which they love. They also love the Gruffalo and we have done a Gruffalo hunt at Dalby Forest

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  97. The Gruffalo, my daughter loves the woods now :)

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  98. My youngest enjoys the horrible history books and so far it's taken us to 2 castles and the horrible histories theater show

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  99. Anything by Julia Donaldson, my grandchildren love walking along the Grufalo Trail

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  100. He loves the horrid henry books - leanne w

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  101. My daughter loves point horror , I had the whole set as a kid !

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  102. my grandson lo es enid blyton the far away tree series
    at the moment he is reading David Walliams gangster granny and thinks its really funny

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  103. We are always inspired by the Paddington Bear books when passing through Paddington Station.

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  104. Rebecca hussey22 July, 2017 18:04

    My kids love the roald Dahl books.

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  105. my 2 boys do love Roald Dahl espcially Charlie & the Chocolate factory so they adored visiting Cadbury World in Birmingham last summer

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  106. My godchildren love the Harry Potter books. They have wands and have been for wizarding lessons at the Harry Potter experience.

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  107. The Gruffalo! My five year old is always making his own Gruffalo costumes and we very often take a drive to The Gruffalo Trail in Thetford forest for our very own Gruffalo inspired adventures (complete with home made costume!!!)

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  108. The Gruffalo and walking the gruffalo trail at the forest

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  109. My daughter adores Matilda! We often go on trips to the library with her toy wagon to get some new books x

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  110. Roald Dahl books have long been a favourite of my daughter and we had a great day out in London last year finding the BFG Dream Jars located around London to tie in with the film!

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  111. My son loves the picture book Whatever Next! his bedroom has a space them so we recreated part of the story and had a picnic on the moon

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  112. Elaine Powell - Always looking for reads to encourage my boys to enjoy reading more. Both really struggle with reading which is such a shame especially as I love to disappear into a book. Hoping that one day, we will find that special book will flip the switch for them. #dyslexia

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  113. my granddaughter loves anything to do with animals, we have visited the zoo so she can see the animals

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  114. His favourite book is The Gruffalo which has inspired some fun days out at the forest.

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  115. GRUFFALO
    WE LOVE EXPLORRING THE WOODS AN SEEK OUT ANIMAL TRAILS OR NEW PLANTS

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  116. Harry Potter books and he is reading them again now, we have been to the Harry Potter World a couple of times as well as castles that reminds him of the books

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  117. Gangsta Granny, while it didn't inspire a day out, my son wanted to be her for World Book Day at school

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  118. the 13 storey tree house books have inspired lots of little adventures for my children they really get their imaginations going.

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  119. Wind in willows, loves the characters even since he was small.

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  120. My sons favourite book is The best bear in all the world

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