Oh, World Book Day. As an avid reader, the idea of an entire day dedicated to the wonder of reading and all things bookish fills me with absolute joy. As a parent, the idea of trying to convince my son that he would much rather go to school dressed as a character from a classic piece of literature, rather than as a laser-gun wielding stormtrooper, fills me with something a lot less pleasant.
But alas, World Book Day is once again almost upon us and so we make plans and we discuss outfits and we try to write down a note big enough that I won’t forget what day school are celebrating and we might actually get it right this year!
I think that anything which inspires our children to read is a real winner. I recently started a series on my blog for just that purpose; with ideas for how to encourage our children to read and age-appropriate book suggestions. You don’t have to hang around here long to realise that books are a big part of our family life, so when PizzaExpress invited us down to our local restaurant to discover their new collaboration with World Book Day, the first of its kind, we were all on board.
We have visited PizzaExpress on a number of occasions as we know exactly what we will get. Their restaurants are no-fuss, family-friendly places to eat out and there is a great selection of options on the children’s Piccolo menu, including lots of choice for those with additional dietary requirements. As you might know, Eli has a gluten intolerance and we have to be careful about how much gluten he consumes so seeing the variety of dishes which were clearly marked as gluten-free was fantastic. Having the staff pick up on that and come to check with us that all was okay, was an added bonus we appreciated.
We had booked a table so there were already World Book Day activity packs laid out when we arrived which the kids soon had their mitts on. The PizzaExpress and World Book Day collaboration is running from 9th February to the 25th March and their mission is to ‘encourage kids to use their imagination and unleash their creativity through reading’.
There are a number of different activities to keep children entertained whilst they wait for their meal including a bookmark colouring competition to win a year’s supply of books – now THAT is a prize worth winning. You can find out more details and enter the competition here.
Both Meg and Eli had great fun designing their bookmarks, giving them the chance to be creative. Eli came up with his own character ‘Doughie’ to feature on his and Meg went for a prettier option with all different types of flowers.
The Special Edition World Book Day ‘Dough Ball Times’ also comes with a £1 voucher which can be put towards a WBD book. I loved that you didn’t just get the voucher but that there were suggestions of age appropriate books too. We had fun spotting some of our favourites including The Day The Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers, Wonder by R J Palacio and Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
The activity pack also had fun book related facts on the back which Meg and Eli took great delight in sharing with us. I was very impressed with the quality of the packs; they had clearly been well thought through and kept Meg and Eli very entertained whilst they were waiting for their Piccolo meals to arrive.
The staff at PizzaExpress were absolutely brilliant with the kids, engaging with them, and asking them questions such as who they were going to dress up as for World Book Day (oh if only they knew what a loaded question that was!) and discussing who they were going to be dressing as come March 1st. PizzaExpress is encouraging its team members to dress up as their favourite book characters, with customers able to vote for the ‘best-dressed’ PizzaExpress restaurant team. I think we might have to pop back in on that day just to see who our local staff turn up as.