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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Seven stories: National Centre for children's books

We are so lucky to live just up the road from seven stories, the national museum for children's books. Our absolute favourite exhibit was the Julia Donaldson exhibit last year and I think this would be hard to beat as we are huge fans but always make a point of visiting when the exhibits change.

The museum is located in the heart of Byker. It is next door to the Ouseburn city farm which is free and a lovely place for children to explore and say hello to the various animals. There is free car parking available in the nearby Foundry lane carpark.

The staff were as friendly as ever at seven stories, we paid our entrance fee and were given a guide book and special seven stories stickers.

Our first stop was the 4th floor which currently features Enid Blyton. Enid Blyton was one of my favourite authors when I was younger. I have vivid memories of reading 'the naughtiest girl at school' over and over again. I found her books to be such an escape! My children are just a little too young to enjoy these books but still really enjoyed the exhibit. 

They enjoyed exploring Noddy's toyland:-

The faraway tree:-

And Mallory towers:-

The Enid Blyton exhibit was really interesting but my children were really excited to visit level 5 which currently holds the Julia Kerr exhibit. We LOVE the tiger who came to tea!

The tiger who came to tea did not disappoint.

The thing I love about seven stories is how it caters for both young and old. I adore admiring the original artwork of books I love and could spend hours looking at them.

My children however are very excitable and they love nothing better than acting things out. They loved The tiger who came to tea and enjoyed making him cups of tea and cake, turning on the kitchen taps to find there was no water had the tiger had got there first and looking in all the cupboards and fridges to see if the tiger had really eaten everything. There are even little touches such as the giant tins of cat food that feature in the book. 

Unfortunately we have never read any of the other Julia Kerr books so the rest of the exhibit was rather wasted on us. Our children did enjoy curling up in Mog's basket though and dressing up and pretending to be cats themselves.

Next, we ventured to the story attic. This is our favourite part of seven stories. You can spend hours here on the giant storyteller chair or snuggled up in a book den enjoying a story.

There are so many unique books to choose from and relaxing up here with some lovely stories really is a treat.

The story attic is also home to a huge dressing up collection and stage. We enjoyed flying like a butterfly, pretending to be King, acting like a fox and imagining we were a gruffalo. Lots and lots of fun. (My husband really wants me to point out at this point that he loved reading  'I want my hat back' by Jon klassen- which I have to admit, did have is in fits of giggles)

Every hour or so a storyteller will gather the children around a share a story in the attic. Today we listened to Julia Donaldson's - The Highway Rat. The stories are always really engaging and get the children involved.

There are always craft activities going on, there's a lovely train set and more books in the book den and a nice little cafe here too and if you love books, you will easily be able to spend half a day here. In fact I could spend half a day just in the gift shop which is an Aladdins cave of children's books. There are also special signed editions of certain books and lots of book related gifts.

We all really enjoyed out trip to seven stories today and can't wait to find out what next years exhibits are going to be!


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