Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour with Philip Ardagh

Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour had a very fun (if hairy) week with the *tallest touring author yet, Philip Ardagh. During the first week of December we visited 22 schools in Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders, seeing nearly 1,800 P4-P7 pupils. 

Philip talked to oodles of pupils about hieroglyphics, stuffed stoats, his big little brother, second bottom pants, hippy hoppy happy bunnies dancing in the sun, and how a bowl of cheerios can turn you into a international best-selling children's author! We had a great week and despite the trecherous driving/walking conditions we managed to see some fantastic schools along the way. Have a look at our photo gallery below to find out more.

*Just for the record, he is 6 feet and 7 inches tall.


Teaching Resources

Have a look at our teaching resources for some great ideas about how to use Philip's books creatively in the classroom. The resources cover The Awful End, The Grunts in Trouble and Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky.

Creative Work

Pupils from Troqueer Primary School did loads of amazing preparation for the tour: not only did several of them sprout quite impressive white beards for the occasion, they also produced these great 'Wanted' Posters to show to Philip!

If you are interested in doing something similar with your pupils why not have a look at the resources above for loads of ideas.


Philip Ardagh's Writing Tips

Philip filmed a short video with us during the Tour giving us the secrets of how to become an International Best-Selling Children's Author just like him. If you, or your pupils are interested in writing here are some very handy hints!


Tour Photos

Philip shares a typical letter from his mother at Lincluden Primary School
Philip talks to pupils at Dalbeattie Primary School about his first book
Philip asks some deep questions at Laurieknowe Primary School
Philip pauses to think at Mouswald Primary School
Philip is reunited with some long lost relatives at Troqueer Primary School
Philip brandishes Malcolm at Moffat Academy
Philip poisons some hippy hoppy happy bunnies at Drumlanrig Primary School
Philip explains what a book is at Edenside Primary School




Pupil Feedback

Philip Ardagh,

I really enjoyed your visit! You were really funny just like me! Your books sound amazing. One day I would like to be where you were on Friday - talking to schools about my books.

I nearly had hysterics when you described your mum's letters to you when you were at boarding school! Your random story ideas were, um, let's say they were different and once again very funny! I've been trying to follow your advice on how to grow - but I've had some funny looks from mum and day! Have you tried eating broccoli - I've heard that makes you grow as well!

Thanks so much for my book and for looking at me own story Hospital. I'm reading your book at home and I'm really enjoying it!

From Laura. 

Laura, 10, Priorsford Primary School.

My opinion of the book tour with Philip Ardagh is that it was ... Fun, cool, quick, lively, active, funny, interesting, out of this world and most of all EPIC! I loved acting in the Fred Drama and all the imaginative ideas from other people. My rating: ***** 5 stars! Samuel, 10, Tweedbank Primary School.

Alex fromSprouston Primary School decided to write a nail-biting conclusion to the ‘Fred in Bed’ story him and his classmates made up during the session:

'What was Fred going to do? The crocodile and the seaweed monster were getting closer and closer. Until Fred saw a boat. He clambered on to it but in the boat everything started to fade and Fred woke up for real this time. "What a wild dream" he said. The End.' Alex, 8, Sprouston Primary School.

Philip Ardagh was extremely funny he left me laughing my head off. It was like he had enchanted me to laugh. Katie, 10, Tweedbank Primary School.

You drifted me away to a funny land. I just couldn't stop laughing. You made me want to get a book. I'm going to try and use some of your ideas to write a book. Katie, 9, Priorsford Primary School.

Philip Ardagh was really funny. He engaged me in his presentation. He has inspired me to write stories. I think he is a good author. I really liked him and would like to read one of his books. Natasha, 10, Laurieknowe Primary School.

Philip Ardagh is an absolutely brilliant author, not to mention comedian too! His books are really funny and they have encouraged me to read even more than usual and I have a bookcase 'this' big! Abbi, 10, Laurieknowe Primary School.

First of all Philip Ardagh is VERY TALL! And I too have a big, small sister. He is sooo funny! I usually don't like talking about writing but Philip made it fun to talk about. By the way love your books!!! Rebecca, 10, Laurieknowe Primary School.

My favourite part was when he created a story without a piece of paper or a pen. He used people in the school. It was funny and creative at the same time.  Sashia, 10, Laurieknowe Primary School.


I really enjoyed the bit when people pretended to be the different things like Fred, Granny, a window and a cow pat. I also thought that bit gave us good advice because he said that you can lead a story any way. There is nothing I would change. Shiula, 11, Cummertrees Primary School.

Philip has so many jokes I can't choose my favourite and I'm glad because I don't want him to end up with no jokes and accidently trying to get ideas by doing a headstand and being Mr. Twit (no offence). On a scale of 1-10 I would rate 10! Nathan, 10, Cummertrees Primary School.

Me and my friend were laughing so much tears were coming out of our eyes. Morgan, 11, Cummertrees Primary School. 

I loved it I wish I could see it again I was thinking of it on the way back I think you should not change it at all and how did he get his feet so big? I will start reading tonight looking forward to it. Holly, 9, Cummertrees Primary School.

What I liked about Philip Ardagh: I liked the fact that he got everybody involved. He was crazy. He was joyful. His books were colourful. He was confident. He thought he was funny (Pssss. I'm not so sure!). Joseph, 11, Cummertrees Primary School.

I mostly liked the story we made up. Ross, Johnstonebridge Primary School.

I really enjoyed Philip Ardagh's visit! He is an extraordinary author but I didn't even know he existed until he came. His books sound amazing and I would like to start reading them. Thank you for entertaining me. Abigail, 9 ¼, Priorsford Primary School.

I go to Priorsford Primary School and on Friday Philip Ardagh came to talk to us. My fist impression of him was a grumpy serious bearded man but that soon changed. He started by introducing himself to the school and then started telling us about what he likes doing. I then thought of Philip Ardagh as a funny, random, energetic sweaty man who loves talking about himself. I really liked how he got the audience to interact with him. A few people got to act out a short story that he just made up. I really enjoyed his visit so I bought one of his books and I am looking forward to reading it. Anna, 11, Priorsford Primary School.

I liked the way he changed his voice and acted differently when talking about his own timeline. Billy, Johnstonebridge Primary School.

I enjoyed his comedy. Ewan, Johnstonebridge Primary School.

When Philip Ardagh came to Mouswald School he was hilarious. I enjoyed the part when the pine martin was on his finger. It was nice that Collin and Cummertrees could join us on this fabulous afternoon. I was amazed how tall he was and that he had size 16 feet! Jenna, 10, Mouswald Primary School.

On the 4th December 2012 Philip Ardagh visited our school to talk to us. 57 other pupils came from Cummertrees and Collin. It was an extremely funny talk, he told us about his little big brother's pants. It was, on a rating of 1-10 ... 10 because he was constantly funny, I even bought one of his books - so far it's great! Christa, 11, Mouswald Primary School.

Philip Ardagh is the funniest and wackiest man I know. I think he is funnier than most comedians. I liked it when he had a plan to make his big brother wear his old pants and when we helped him make a story. It was so cool. Sam, 10, Dalbeattie Primary School.

When Philip Ardagh came to visit Dalbeattie Primary School I thought that he was hilariously funny especially when he told us a story about his and his brother when he was younger. When he told us the story about his book The Eddie Dickens Trilogy I thought it was really nice that he sent letters to his nephew when he got sent to boarding school. Since I have started reading the book that I got from his I have realised that his books are just as funny as he is in real life. Jessica, 10, Dalbeattie Primary School.

Well I thought you were absolutely beardmazing. You were absolutely belarious! Especially the armpits. In fact I'm writing a book about a weird world called Beards. Beards is a place with the most oddest things jelly beans as cars and the army are gummy bears! WOW! I bought your book The Eddie Dickens Trilogy. It is amazing. Bearded best wishes. Jodie, 9, Priorsford Primary School.

On the 7th December, on a Friday, Philip Ardagh came to our school to talk to the P4-7s and it was fab. He got the audience involved and was random but funny. We all loved him coming and he has made us like writing and reading books more and most of all we loved it. Ross, 11, Priorsford Primary School.

Well, I really enjoyed the Philip Ardagh event. It was really funny! And he was so tall and I had never in my life met a real author before that was still alive! It made me, Leigha, want to be a writer myself! Thank you Philip Ardagh. Leigha, 9, Priorsford Primary School.

I really enjoyed it he was funny exciting and he inspired me - you can always change a story! Jillian, 11, Dalbeattie Primary School

On Friday morning I had to be at school at 5 to 9 to catch the bus to Langlee Primary School. We all got to sit on the benches but P5 didn't (I found that fair if you ask me). When we got there I thought it was a great way to spend a Friday because he was really funny but at times he got a bit sweaty. I also enjoyed getting my book signed by Philip Ardagh. It was also a really fun Friday and I am really in to his books now. He is also one of my favourite authors in the world. Ellie, 10, Tweedbank Primary School.

The best thing was we got our books signed for free at the end. The book I got was called Eddie Dickens it is the first book I got signed. I thought it was the best thing ever because it was funny and amazing. Morgan, 10, Tweedbank Primary School.

How does he do it! It was great when Philip enticed us to make up a little story using five bodies! Ben, 10, Troqueer Primary School.

An hour and a half of writing - no way! It was fun. Archie, 10,Troqueer Primary School.

He could be a comedian! Shannon, 10, Troqueer Primary School.

I enjoyed Philip Ardagh's visit he was VERY funny and enjoyable to listen to. I enjoyed the little book that we made with Fred.

I thought Philip Ardagh was wonderful. He made me laugh a lot.

I enjoyed Philip Ardagh's small play and how he included the audience.

I loved getting my wanted poster signed and everything was really funny.

I loved the jokes and the little story and I'm loving the books.

P5 Class Comments, Troqueer Primary School.

You're funny but mental!! I liked your BEARD.

Hilarious stories, best morning ever!!

Hoppy hippy happy bunnies - brill.

It was so much fun you made me laugh brilliant writer can't wait to read your book love your beard.

I really liked your book and tips it was fun.

I liked your beard. You have a great sense of humour keep the beard I love your stories thanks!

P7 Class Comments, Troqueer Primary School.

I liked hearing you talk about books in general. Megan, P6, Broomlands Primary School.

I liked it when you made up a story and got actors out of the audience. Thomas,  P6, Broomlands Primary School. 

It was hilarious when you were talking about yourself and how you liked talking about yourself.  Sophie, P6, Broomlands Primary School.

Teacher Feedback

Philip Ardagh was superb at interacting with the pupils, they had tremendous fun and even though it was quite a large group, everyone felt really involved. The queue for signing at the end of the show went all around the hall and pupils who hadn't got a book to sign were clubbing together their pennies or finding scraps of paper just so they could get Mr Ardagh's autograph - and he signed every single one of them. Staff from our school and our visiting schools came up to me personally to comment on how great the event was - one head teacher said it was the best author visit she'd seen in years! They couldn't believe it was all organised and provided free of charge. I said to all of them, this is the difference with the Scottish Book Trust. Not only is it free, but you know you're going to get top-class authors that children are really interested in - authors that can engage with them and make each child feel that they've been part of something really special. The Ardagh books were very popular before, but since the Scottish Book Trust visit - they've been flying off the shelves! Kathleen Magellan, Moffat Academy

It was fun, witty and fast paced. Sandra Russell, Langlee Primary School.

I thought the event was well-organised and timed. Phillip was a hoot and Scottish Book Trust staff were friendly and helpful. I really liked the way Phillip involved the children-that man can work an audience! I was surprised at how many of our children bought books given these times of economic hardship. They are reading Phillip's books in class and at home then coming in to tell me funny bits or point out bits that they like. Eilidh Porrelli, Broomlands Primary School. 

Most entertaining. Karen Bryden, Colvend Primary.

A very good presentation by the author which fully engaged the audience and encouraged active listening and participation. Has most definitely raised the profile of the author himself with many pupils now rating him as their favourite author! All enjoyed humour in class novel, undertook reading activities with enthusiasm and engaged well with researching Philip Ardagh's website. Further group reading activities planned: completion of class novel and writing of our own 'Fred in Bed' stories with illustrations. Karen Jamieson, Tweedbank Primary. 

Excellent. Everyone enjoyed the event - including the staff! Maureen McCallum, Mouswald Primary School.

Children engaged for the whole hour. Good entertainer. Very funny. Scott Jardine, Lincluden Primary School. 

Author was very entertaining and pitched his dialogue at the right level. Angela Thorpe, Langlee Primary.


Scottish Friendly Assurance