World Book Day 2020
5th March 2020
The Book Barn Burglary
Hillcrest was a good school. It had good children and good teachers. It had good classrooms and a good building. It had a good playground and a good woodland area. Ken liked everything about his school but most of all he liked the Bookbarn.
It was a wooden shed which was tucked into a corner of the Key Stage 1 playground. On one side there was a great, big sign which lured children in and could be seen the moment anyone entered the school. Inside it smelled of treated wood and was faintly lit through its four single pane windows.
For Ken the Bookbarn was a place of magic. It was full of books and every one of them held adventures or fascinating knowledge between their covers.
Ken was a Year 3 pupil. He was clever, sporty and very popular with his classmates. Every lunchtime he played a lively game of football on the blue pitch with his friends; often scoring lots of goals against his best friend (and Hillcrest’s finest goalkeeper) Muriel.
After football, Ken and Muriel would make their way through the hustle and bustle of the playground towards the Bookbarn, occasionally stopping for quick chats with Sally and Tina. Once they stepped inside the Bookbarn Ken would always take a moment to enjoy the smell before sifting his way through books. As soon as he had settled on one, he would step outside, perch on the wall and quietly lose himself in the words. One day he would be a soldier in World War 1, the next he would be whizzing through space. Each day brought a new adventure for Ken to cherish.
Before he scooted home to his house on Haverstock Road he would always make sure to pick up a book from his beloved Bookbarn.
One day he was scooting past Totterdown Baptist Church when he noticed a commotion at the entrance of Hillcrest. Ken quickened his pace and when he arrived at the school’s gate it was obvious what had stopped everyone in their tracks. A trail of paper snaked its way from the Bookbarn all the way to the gate. Ken stepped on a piece which had been swirling in the wind and when he looked closer he saw that it was an empty book review sheet which were always stacked in the Bookbarn.
Just then a frantic Muriel raced up to him and breathlessly exclaimed: “The books! All the books! They’re gone!”
Hillcrest’s mood was dark. Ken felt the gloomy clouds, which had descended on Totterdown, reflected the sadness sweeping through the playground. Even Mr Barham’s stylish top-knot seemed to have given up as it flopped carelessly over his concerned head.
That morning headteacher Miss Norman confirmed the terrible news in assembly; someone had taken all the books from the Bookbarn. She said that the caretaker Mr Dean was going to spend the morning poring over the security cameras.
“Oh, I’m sure the crime will be quickly solved with crack Detective Dean on the case,” Sam sarcastically scoffed behind Ken. Ken smiled. Hannah glared. Miss Norman continued: “If anyone knows anything, has seen anything, has heard anything please let your teacher know.”
Nobody could focus in Mr Barham’s class that morning. All the children were abuzz with talk of the missing books. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Mr Dean, after all he has all the keys,” said Sam, who had had his fair share of run-ins with the school caretaker as Mr Dean didn’t take kindly to his passion for running in the corridors.
“I remember Miss Bonner once said she liked to collect books. She keeps them in a room in her house. Maybe she wanted to add to her collection…,” wondered Myla.
Just then Ken spotted the school dog Wilma quietly trot past the classroom’s open door. “That’s strange,” he thought, “Wilma rarely ventures outside of the office.” Intrigued, Ken decided to follow her. He popped up his hand and asked to be excused so he could go to the toilet. He had his usual thought to himself when he or one of his classmate’s were given permission to go the toilet: “When will the teachers realise that children never need to go to the toilet during lesson time? It must be our greatest scam.”
Once outside the classroom, Ken glimpsed Wilma’s fluffy tail disappear into the music room. Ken, forgetting it was strictly forbidden for a child to enter the music room, quickly followed the school dog. “Goodness!” he exclaimed as he entered the room, for in front of him was Wilma and piles and piles of neatly stacked books.
Quickly Ken raced to the office to tell Miss Norman…
An hour later, the headteacher came over the intercom (which Mr McIntyre seemed to think was his own personal plaything) to announce a hastily organised assembly. As the children filed in to the big hall they noticed Miss Norman had been joined on stage by a sheepish-looking Mr Dean.
“The mystery has been solved,” began Miss Norman. “Although Mr Dean forgot the password for the security camera computer, we have been able to work out who the culprit is thanks to the curiosity of Ken in 3DB.
“It seems Mr Dean forgot to lock the Bookbarn last night and Wilma, who I had left here overnight, decided to build an elaborate nest for herself in the music room using our beloved books. Rest assured Mr Dean will have returned all the books to the barn by the end of the day and the Bookbarn will be open for business again tomorrow.”
At lunchtime the next day Ken and Muriel raced past the blue pitch, across the grassy area, through the Key Stage 1 playground and straight to the Bookbarn. They joined a long queue of children excited to get their hands on an adventure. As Ken stepped inside he took a moment to remind himself how lucky he is to have such easy access to books and then, like every lunchtime, happily busied himself at sifting through the books knowing it wouldn’t be long before he would be lost in words.