Who's going to win the Nestle Smarties Book Prize, now in its 20th year? In Rickmansworth, it's a done deal. Children who attend the Just for Fun breakfast and after-school clubs at St Mary's primary school were among those recruited to select winners from shortlists compiled by a panel of adults, including myself. I was delighted to hear from the club's co-ordinator, Eileen Branney, that our choice of books for six to eight-year-olds hit the spot. "The children were reading before breakfast, at breakfast, at break, after school and sometimes in the car on the way home," she said. "They even came in over half-term to swap books."
The intricately illustrated adventure story Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell was the Rickmansworth winner. Will the nation agree? We'll find out on December 8 at the British Library, where the young judges who submitted the best projects about the shortlisted books announce the winners and present the awards. We'll hear from Newlands primary in Ramsgate, Kent; Primrose Lane primary in Boston Spa, Lincolnshire; St George's School for Girls, Edinburgh, and Houghton Out of School Club in Houghton, Lincolnshire. Better luck next year, Rickmansworth.