World Book Day 2014: Belle - Beauty and the Beast

clock Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 03:12PM


Tale as old as time


Story: Beauty and the Beast

Villain: Gaston

Sidekicks: Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs Potts, Chip

Hero: Beast

Dress: Golden ball gown

Adapted from ‘Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales’ by author Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast has not only become a classic in the Disney movie collection, but has produced numerous video games, TV shows and a highly successful musical stage show. The musical has played for 5461 performances across thirteen countries, earning itself the title of Broadway's eighth longest running production and winning a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical, featuring stars like Donny Osmond, who played Gaston in 2006 and the final Broadway show, and Nick Jonas who starred as Chip back in 2002 when he was just ten years old.

It is a story of inner beauty and sacrifice. A selfish prince is cursed by a witch when he turns her away for appearing to be an old hag. He is doomed to remain a beast for all time unless he can find true love before the last petal of an enchanted rose falls. Taken prisoner in his castle, Belle gradually learns to see beyond his beastly exterior and love him for who he truly is.

A huge success, Beauty and the Beast won two Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures; Original Score and Original Song, three Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Original Score and Best Original Song, and Grammy Awards for Best Album for Children, Best Pop Performance by a Group or Duo, Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture, Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture, and Best Pop Instrumental performance.

World Book Day 2014: Cinderella

clock Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 03:04PM


A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes


Story: Cinderella

Villain: Evil Step-Mother (Lady Tremaine) & Step Sisters

Sidekick: Gus and Jaq (mice)

Hero: Prince Charming

Dress: Pale Blue glittering ball gown and glass slippers


From the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault known as The Little Glass Slipper, Cinderella is Disney’s most well-known princess, with her castle standing feature point at Disney World in Florida.

After her father’s death, Cinderella is left with her step-mother and two step-sisters and forced into being their slave. One day, a letter is delivered to the house inviting all young girls to a ball at the palace where the prince will pick his bride. Forced to stay behind, Cinderella is visited by her Fairy God Mother. With a flick of her wand and a Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo she transforms Cinderella’s dress into a magnificent ball gown, making a carriage out of a pumpkin and 2 grand white horses of Cinderella’s mice, before sending her on her way with the warning that the spell would only last until midnight. Arriving at the palace, Cinderella dances the night away with the prince, losing all track of time, then when the clock strikes midnight, is forced to flee or risk the prince seeing who she truly was. Having fallen in love with Cinderella that night, the prince immediately sets out to search for her, taking the glass slipper she had left behind to every home in the kingdom, testing it on every foot, all in search of his princess. On reaching Cinderella's home, the glass slipper is broken in an attempt to keep Cinderella away from the prince; however when Cinderella produces the 2nd of the pair, the prince knows he has found his love. The two marry and live happily ever after.


Not only adapted by Disney, Cinderella has been used as the bases for many Opera and Ballet performances, as well as annually being used for pantomimes (the first of which debuted on stage at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in 1904. In panto the step-sisters are usually cast as men in drag, even Rodgers and Hammerstein produced a version of the story which stared Julie Andrews as the title role.

World Book Day 2014: Snow White

clock Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 02:51PM

Snow White

Who is the fairest of them all?


Story: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Villain: The Evil Queen (Snow White's step-mother)

Sidekicks: The seven dwarves (Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful and Dopey)

Hero: The Prince

Dress: Long dress with yellow skirt, blue top and small red/blue puff sleeves.

Based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Snow White was the first animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios back in 1937. A novelisation of Disney’s take on the story was written by Suzanna Weyn and release on the films 50th anniversary in 1987.

Forced to flee her kingdom by her evil step mother (the queen), Snow White befriends 7 dwarfs living in a small cottage in the woods. However, she can’t escape that easily. Told by her magic mirror that Snow White was still alive, the Evil Queen disguises herself as an old woman, sets out into the forest and tricks Snow White into biting into a poisonous red apple. Falling into a deep, cursed sleep, Snow White is preserved and watched over by the seven mourning dwarfs, that is until - entranced by her beauty - a handsome prince gives the sleeping princess true loves kiss, awakening her from the spell. Riding off on his noble steed, Snow White and the prince live happily ever after.

Disney’s is a much brighter ending than the one originally written by the Brothers Grimm, in which Snow White and the Prince seek revenge on the queen on their wedding day. Forced into red-hot iron shoes, the queen is made to dance until she drops dead.

Since first released, the film has been re-released 8 times. Originally put back in cinemas in 1944 to raise money for the studios during World War 2. It has since been a tradition to re-release Disney animations every seven to ten years. To date it has been back in the theatres in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987 and 1993.

World Book Day 2014: Which Disney Princess will you be?

clock Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 09:56AM

Ever since Snow White first hit the cinemas in 1937, every young girl has dreamed of being a princess. There has since been 12 more Disney Princesses, all with their own unique stories and personalities, and spreading from China with Mulan to New Orleans with Tiana.

All Disney Princesses are based on old legends and fairy tales such as those by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, so are perfectly acceptable as Book day fancy dress. 

With such a variety of princesses, everyone has a favourite, but which one would you choose?

World Book Day 2014: Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

clock Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 04:56PM

Peter Pan first appeared in J.M.Barrie's adult novel entitled “The Little White Bird” in 1902, but was so popular that he soon grew to have his very own adventures.

In 1904, “Peter Pan"; or "The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” first appeared as a stage play, and was then adapted to a novel in 1911, titled “Peter and Wendy”.

Barrie never actually described Peter’s appearance in detail, even when Peter has his own stories. All he does tell us is that Peter was a beautiful boy with a beautiful smile, and tell us that he is “clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that flow from the trees”.  

On stage, the character is traditionally played by a woman and now days - probably greatly influenced by Disney's adaptation of the story - is usually seen wearing a green tunic and tights, whilst Wendy is almost always seen wearing her blue nightdress, a look often re-creatred for fancy dress.

The adventures of Peter Pan have been adapted in many ways, by many people, but the following are probably most prominent:


Disney’s Peter Pan

Released in 1953, the animated fantasy-adventure was the 14th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.

Set in Edwardian London, the film begins in the neighbourhood of Bloomsbury, where we see Wendy Darling and her two brothers, John and George playing pirates in their bedroom while Peter watches on from outside her window. Entranced by Wendy’s stories, Peter teaches Wendy, John and George to fly so that they can come with him back to Neverland! All it takes is some faith, trust and pixie dust, then follow the second star to the right and straight on until dawn. Once there they meet the Lost Boys and Tinker Bell, adventure with mermaids and red indians, and fight off pirates and the wicked Captain Hook.

The movie has been a hit with children and adults of all ages - even Michael Jackson naming it as his favourite movie of all time and naming his estate after it: The Neverland Ranch. The movie has since been re-released 5 times, in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982, and 1989.

Besides it’s re-releases, there have also been several spin-offs from the movie, including Peter Pan 2: Return To Neverland (released in 2002), Tinker Bell (a series of films all about Peter's pixie friend, affectionately nicknamed ‘Tink’) and Jake and the Neverland Pirates (a Disney Junior TV series following a band of young pirates named Jake, Izzy, Cubby and their parrot Skully, who spend their days competing against Captain Hook and Mr. Smee for treasure.)



‘Hook’ was released in 1991. The film directed by Steven Spielberg tells the story of what happened when Peter Pan left Neverland for good. 

Having left Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys behind, Peter Banning as he is now known, has grown up and forgotten everything of his time and adventures in Neverland. He is now a successful lawyer and happily married (to Moira) with two children, Jack and Maggie. That is until they return home one night to find the house broken into, and Jack and Maggie gone. Left behind is a note, signed Captain Hook.

The film follows Peters journey back to Neverland as a grownup, where with help from the lost boys, their new leader Rufio and Tink - he must re-learn to fly and how not to be a grown up in order to save his children from Hook.

The movies all-star cast includes Robin Williams as Peter, Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, Bob Hoskins as Smee and Maggie Smith as Wendy Darling (Gwyneth Paltrow also appears as a Young Wendy in flashbacks.)


Peter Pan – Universal Pictures

The most recent delve into the world of Peter Pan was taken by Universal Pictures in 2003, with their live action take.

Much like Disney’s portrayal of the story, the picture follows as Peter takes Wendy and her younger brothers off to Neverland.

This re-make of a classic brings Neverland back to life, with new twists and turns, whilst staying true to the classic.


G.O.S.H - Great Ormond Street Hospital

In 1929, J.M.Barrie gave all rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, often abbreviated to G.O.S.H, the hospital provides world class care and pioneering techniques to care for sick children in the UK.

They have received royalties every year since, with proceeds from every production of the play, every book sold and every movie made going to them and their charity.

To this day, a bronze statue of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell sits outside the hospital entrance in tribute to the author.



It's Pans childish nature that appeals to all of us, and with the lessons taught throughout the stories, its no wonder Peter Pan has lived through the ages, and continues to thrive over 100 years after he first appeared.


"Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” 
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

World Book Day 2014 : A teacher’s guide to dressing up

clock Monday, January 27, 2014 at 12:49PM

With world book week quickly approaching, it’s not long until your pupils are going to be running down the halls dressed as Mr Fox and Where’s Wally, while Dorothy Gale and Verruca Salt watch on giggling.

But why should you miss out on all the fun?

Here are just a few ideas of how you can dress up and join in the fun this book day.

For Her:

Maid Marion – Robin Hoods leading lady. Try this long burgundy dress, quite simple and elegant, but more importantly, long, to avoid any mishaps and keep you warm!


Queen of Hearts (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) – This villainous character from Alice In Wonderland will have them following your every demand. Otherwise,  Off with their heads!



Cruella De Ville (101 Dalmatians, originally written by Dodie Smith) – Dalmatian print at the ready!  An Unmistakable look, grab your black dress, poof your hair and drape with generous amounts of animal print!

Glinda (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum) – Glinda the Good Witch helps Dorothy on her way to the Emerald City. Seen here in the 1939 film adaptation in her large pink dress and glittering crown.

For Him:


Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll) – Alice’s kooky friend is sure to make them giggle! Don you top and tails….with a few accessories here and there...

Where’s Wally (Author: Martin Handford)– We apologise in advance for the countless yells of ‘THERE HE IS!’ you’ll hear walking through the corridors as this one. Quite easy to knock together, just find yourself a red and white striped jumper, some glasses and a cane, all of which can be paired with your own jeans

Mr Twit (The Twits by Roald Dahl) – Make a hideous transformation into Roald Dahls Mr Twit from the book, The Twits.  Grab a large beard, cram it with food and dirt and you’re on your way.


Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling)– there’re sure to be more than a few little wizards and witches floating around the halls. Keep them under control as the Dark Lord himself. You could even hook in a few colleagues to be your death eaters.



Meet the Minions!

clock Friday, January 24, 2014 at 04:27PM

Some of the most popular characters to come out of Despicable Me are the loveable minions. They are small yellow creatures who wear blue dungarees and black gloves. They have one or two eyes and wear goggles. Their master is the super villain Gru and they are fiercely loyal to him, helping him to build and operate weapons for his crazy plots! Although they understand English their own language is a mixture of English, French, Spanish, Korean and Italian. They have a great sense of humour and find most things funny. After the success of the first Despicable Me film it was obvious that the minions stole the show and they were given a much bigger part in Despicable Me 2. They have even become Illumination Entertainment’s official mascot. So let’s meet them!


Dave’s signature weapon is his rocket launcher. He is kind and caring and very intelligent. He loves ice cream or gelato as he calls it!



Kevin is the smallest minion after he was shrunk by Gru while he was demonstrating his shrink ray machine! He loves to play golf and often makes fun of his companions.



Stuart loves playing the Xbox with Dave. He is sincere and innocent and in the film he gets turned into a glow stick to provide light for the others!



Tim is tall with a beard and he has a bit of a temper! He likes being in charge and playing the dad role.



Jerry’s quote is “Whaaa” which he says with a confused face. He is playful and loves playing with Gru’s daughters until he gets in trouble!



Phil gives Agnes a unicorn that he made which he calls Papoi. He laughs at everything and is extremely happy.




Mark looks similar to Dave. He goes to the store dressed as mum to try and get Agnes a unicorn toy and ends up singing on the Karaoke machine!

If you love the minions as much as we do why not make your own with the minion maker! Despicable Me 3 titled Minions is due to be released in 2015 and includes Sandra Bullock voicing Scarlet Overkill. It is definitely one for the diary!

Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling

clock Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:39AM

The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling is undeniably one of the biggest phenomenon’s of our generation. The story of a boy wizard, originally only given a 500 book print, has sold over 450 million copies, making it the best-selling book series in history. It has been published in 67 different languages  The last four books consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history, the last in the series (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) selling over 11 million copies on the first day of release!


(The series in order: Philosophers Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows)

The series has since been made into 8 record breaking movies (the last book being split into 2) and even has its own theme park in Florida’s Universal Studios Orlando, and hugely successful studio tour at the original set at Leavesden Studios.

(Hogwarts at Universal Studios, Florida)

Not bad for a book thought up by a secretary delayed on a train from Manchester to London!

World Book Day!

clock Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 11:37AM

 Thursday 6th March is World Book Day in schools all over the globe.

This year is the days 17th anniversary; with over one hundred countries around the world participating, and the successful addition of pre-school readers last year, it’s sure to be the biggest and best book day yet! Which in the days of the Nintendo DS, Playstation and Xbox, is more important than ever as we encourage children to put down the consoles and pick up a book!

The organizers of World Book Day (UNESCO) even select 10 books for a range of ages, which can be bought for free with the books tokens handed out at schools, therefore encouraging you to try something new!

Alternatively, you can use the token as money off for your old favorites, classics like stories by Roald Dahl or more recent phenomenon’s like Harry Potter.

Now days, schools are making a big deal of the day, decorating the halls and encouraging kids to dress up as their favorite characters! Some of the most popular including:

  • - Harry Potter & Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
  • - Horrid Henry (Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon)
  • - Willy Wonka & Oompa Lumpas (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl)
  • - Dorothy (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
  • - Mr. Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl)


With a world of literary gold at your fingertips, who knows where you’ll end up?

So whether you’re adventuring through Oz with the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion, Flying around on your Nimbus 2000, or chasing after the White Rabbit with Alice, who know where you’ll end up?

The world of books is a wide as a childs imagination.

National Dress Up Your Pet Day 2014

clock Friday, January 17, 2014 at 02:42PM

Tuesday the 14th of January 2014 was National Dress Up Your Pet Day. This fun day is designed to celebrate our furry friends and also to raise awareness of how many animals are waiting for adoption. The day has been running yearly since 2009 and was founded by Colleen Paige. Dressing your pets up in fancy dress costumes is always comical. Whether you’ve got a dog, cat, horse, guinea pig, rat, rabbit or hamster, seeing their little face while they are dressed up as a superhero is classic and makes for a great photo opportunity. Of course we must always make sure that our pet is comfortable in the costume. I’m sure many outfits have lived a short life after being eaten or ripped apart by a dog! I myself have two border terriers and I dressed them up as Santa and Rudolph for their Christmas Day walk. So many people smiled and stopped to see them, we were spreading joy around the streets!


Dress Up Your Pet Day also helps local pet shops as sales of their costumes rise. Some of the most popular designs are:

  • Cartoon or TV characters
  • Superheroes
  • T-shirts with a slogan
  • Food (think hot dog!)
  • Fairytale
  • Other animals e.g dog dressed as a lion



Although still relatively unheard of, we think this day will soon become a date in everyone’s calendar. We Brits love our animals and an estimated 13 million people own one. That’s 45% of households in the United Kingdom. Imagine if every one of those dressed up their pet, it could be a holiday as big as Halloween!