MARY Poppins and the Mad Hatter were among those who turned up to a Worcester school yesterday to celebrate World Book Day.

Perdiswell Primary School was one of the many Worcestershire schools that had invited its pupils to dress up as their favourite book character.

World Book Day takes place in more than 100 countries worldwide every year to encourage youngsters to read for pleasure.

Claire Evans, head of key stage one at Perdiswell Primary, said: "Reading for pleasure is an important part of our literacy work.

"Research has shown that those children who read for pleasure are the ones who are mostly likely to fulfil their ambitions.

"A day like World Book Day celebrates that enjoyment children get from sharing books from each other.

"Today children from early years to Year 6 will be sharing work about their class author, completing book reviews and having fun with books."

Also getting into the spirit of the day were pupils from St Mary's Worcester who took part in a book swap event.

The pupils also had a bookmark competition and will dress as their favourite characters on Friday.

The cat in the hat and a tiger were spotted in the corridors of The River School, in Worcester, while children from Pinvin CE First School in Pershore also dressed up, created posters advertising the library, designed bookmarks and had a costume parade.

There were also princesses, pirates and puppies at Sticky Fingers playgroup.

They were joined by their parents for a picnic lunch at the playgroup based in Bishop Allenby Hall, St Stephen's Street, Barbourne and shared some of their favourite stories.

Claire Thomas, playgroup leader, said: "At Sticky Fingers we value the benefits the children gain from exploring and experiencing a large range of stories and print.

"We give the children the opportunity to explore interactive stories through props, puppets, activities and computer equipment.

"We understand the importance of sharing books at home and we hope the event helped to promote this."