Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

The best new read-aloud with rude bits

Posted on | February 10, 2012 | 13 Comments

Tick… Tick… Tick… I just can’t wait for this afternoon…

I’m going into school for my weekly story+craft session with 5/6/7 year olds and today I’ve got a corker of a book to read with them. Sir Scallyway and the Golden Underpants by Giles Andreae and Korky Paul is going to take the kids by storm, I’m sure of it!

Told in undulating rhyme, Sir Scallyway and the Golden Underpants is a rip-roaring read about the theft of King Colin’s “underpants of power”. One night they are stolen by a wicked giant (who walks away wearing them on his head) and in order to restore them to their rightful owner, the King’s bravest knight, six-year old Sir Scallyway (and his loyal steed Doofus) enter in to battle with the thief. But how can a six-year old defeat a giant? Will things turn out all right in this hilarious David and Goliath-esque tale?

Quick thinking, cunning and guile do of course save the day, but along the way readers are treated to hairy, bare bottoms, the threat of heads being chopped off and flushed down the loo and the sight of a poor defeated giant sucking his thumb as he cries for his mummy. I just know the kids are going to adore the pint-sized hero in this story and its perfect mix of rude naughtiness, adventure and laughter.

Text and illustrations © Giles Andreae and Korky Paul

Giles Andreae is a master at writing books that want and deserve to be read out loud – I think he’s a “knack” for apparently effortless rhyme and rhythm that easily matches Julia Donaldson. And Sir Scallyway and the Golden Underpants is no exception – it’s a whole lot of fun to read aloud, to “perform”!

Korky Paul’s illustrations, which have always reminded me a little of those by the late, great Ronald Searle, are delightfully messy, grotesque and detailed; a perfect match for this flamboyant and comical caper.

In the interest of getting kids REALLY excited about books and stories, whilst reading Sir Scallyway and the Golden Underpants this afternoon I shall be wearing some underpants on my head.

Yes, that’s right. I’ll be making the staff wonder why on earth they have this madcap woman come in and tell stories, by going around for the afternoon wearing pants on my head. But these are no ordinary pants. They are underpants of pure gold!

Here’s M modelling them:

They were simple to make – I simply got a bunch of golden ribbons and sewed them on to a spare pair of children’s shorts. I think they look very effective and rather fancy making a pair for myself to wear (under my clothes rather than on my head ;-) ).

The kids in story time, alas, will not be making their own pairs of golden underpants. We’ll be making golden crowns instead. A good dose of bling and silliness – we’re going to have fun this afternon!

Whilst sewing and prancing about wearing our golden underpants we listened to:

  • the rather gentle Scallywag by Jake Thackray. You can listen for free here at YouTube.
  • Golden Brown by The Stranglers
  • Oh, Had I a Golden Thread sung by Pete Seeger


  • Other activities which would be fun to do alongside reading Sir Scallyway and the Golden Underpants include:

  • Just about anything from Jojoebi’s selection of Knights and Castles activities over on her lovely blog A Bit of This and A Bit of That. I particularly love this castle cake (not least because of the Very Exciting Thing I will be announcing next week…)
  • Making a Knight collage from silver foil, as per this tutorial from Busy Bee Kids Crafts
  • Creating this very cool knight’s helmet with the help of a tutorial from Activity Village.


  • What’s the most outrageous item of clothing you own? Please feel free to share a photo ;-)

    Disclosure: I receive a copy of this book from the publisher. This review, however, remains my own and honest opinion.

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    Comments

    13 Responses to “The best new read-aloud with rude bits”

    1. Elli
      February 10th, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

      Love the new hat ;)
      I haven’t read any Giles Andreae since ‘Commotion in the Ocean’, but I remember my eldest loving that.
      When I started off writing poems I made a wow not to use any toilet humour (including underpants) on the grounds that it was cheap humour. Pants to that! So for anyone who expected me to keep my promise, all I can say that it’s a complete bummer, because I haven’t. In fact I’m working right now on a poem involving (hold your noses) elephants with diarrhoea.
      Elli recently posted..The Mystery of the Missing Pen Lids

    2. Debbie Graham
      February 10th, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

      You are a genius. Love it!

    3. choxbox
      February 10th, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

      1. Wish I could be a 5/6/7 year old in that school.

      2. Wish at least my 6 year old could be in it!

      3. The golden pants rock! You make it seem so simple to make!

    4. Darshana Khiani
      February 10th, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

      Love the review and the golden pants.
      Can you come teach at my kids school. :-)
      I love your creativity.
      Darshana Khiani recently posted..Love, Splat

    5. Zoe
      February 10th, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

      Hi Darshana, Choxbox, Debbie and Elli,

      I’m pleased to report this afternoon went exceptionally well. We all ended Half Term on a high! The kids adored this book, there was lots of laughter. And the pants stole the show… :-)

    6. Victoria
      February 11th, 2012 @ 5:03 am

      I read this book online with a class (www.wegivebooks.org). The kids absolutely adored it, and even handled the ‘rude’ bits quite well (they can be quite silly sometimes!). Great book! We didn’t go to the same extent as the lovely pictures above, though!

    7. Annie
      February 12th, 2012 @ 5:05 am

      Hi Zoe,

      I’ve just posted again about how much I love your blog: http://annieandaunt.blogspot.com/2012/02/little-love-for-our-fellow-kid-lit.html

      The golden underpants on your head cracked me up tonight.

      Best, Annie

    8. Zoe
      February 12th, 2012 @ 6:48 am

      Hi Victoria, thanks for the tipe about wegivebooks.org :-)

      Annie! *Thankyou*! Very kind words on your blog :-) And so glad the golden underpants are making grownups giggle as well. They were certainly a high point in my week.
      Zoe recently posted..Kidlit news and radio #6

    9. Barbara
      February 12th, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

      What a fantastic post! I might even enjoy going back to school if you were there with your golden underpants on your head. Thanks for making me laugh!
      Barbara recently posted..Added Value; Book inscriptions – Follow me by Martha Paulsen

    10. Zoe
      February 12th, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

      A pleasure, Barbara! It was such a delight to hear the laughter and giggles on Friday afternoon – made my week :-)

    11. Marjorie (PaperTigers)
      February 12th, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

      The golden underpants are glorious! Maybe you could follow then up, since it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, with Nicholas Allen’s equally fun/outrageous book The Queen’s Knickers (I think that’s it, anyway!)… So glad you reported on your day too – I was wondering!
      Marjorie (PaperTigers) recently posted..Week-end Book Review: A River of Stories compiled by Alice Curry, illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski

    12. Zoe
      February 13th, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

      Ha! Actually Marjorie, I introduced the whole session with pictures of the Queen on her coronation day in all her finery. I told the kids I was going to let them in on a secret – that all kings and queens wear golden underpants. Some didn’t believe me, so I should them Allen’s book, which does indeed show a pair of Royal golden knickers (jewel encrusted). Finally I introduced Sir Scallywag…. and the rest, they say, is history!

    13. BooKa Uhu
      November 28th, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

      Those are some very snazzy pants :)

      As for outrageous clothing – I have a scarf I made that’s three times my height. Needless to say, I pick my moments when wearing it :)
      BooKa Uhu recently posted..Cool Jewels: Optical Illusions

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