All set for a monster event

If you go down to Callendar Woods in Falkirk today, you could be in a for a bigger surprise than you ever imagined.

Keep an eye over your shoulder for the Gruffalo, the monster that shot Glasgow author Julia Donaldson to fame. Today Julia, along with guitar and Gruffalo (a life-size puppet) will brave the weather along with 60 children from Hallglen Primary School to celebrate Britain's fourth World Book Day.

The book about a mouse who invents the beast to scare off predators as he walks through a dark wood, then finds he exists, won the Smarties Book Prize gold and a Blue Peter book award last year.

Children are also invited to meet Julia and Gruffalo at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh this morning (10am) or Borders Bookstore in Glasgow on Saturday at 11am.

Julia has composed The Gruffalo Song. A little book containing the words, music, and illustrations is one of four #1 books that can be bought with the #1 World Book Day vouchers issued to every school-aged child in Scotland.

The other three books are Little Wolf's Postbag by Ian Whybrow (for five to nine-year-olds), Cloud Wolf, a sample of the Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart with Chris Riddell illustrations (eight to 11-year-olds), and Shop Dead a short story for teenagers by Kate Cann. Tokens can also be redeemed against any children's title costing #1.95 or more until March 10.

To help them select quality books, the publishers and booksellers have produced a list of 31 World Book Day Super Reads for four age groups.

Other World Book Day events include a trip by Harry Horse, author of The Last Polar Bears, who will take his dog, Roo (hero of the book), to meet schoolchildren in Mull and Iona.

In Glasgow, authors Keith Brampton, Julie Bertagna, and Paul Geraghty will meet children from after-school clubs in Pollok, Maryhill, and Baillieston who have been creating their own books.

At the Mitchell Library Puffin authors, including Lydia Monks, Frank Rodgers, Jeremy Strong, and Gillian Cross, will meet school groups. And all the Puffin authors will help launch an exhibition at the Mitchell of archive material illustrating children's literature through the ages, which runs until April 28.

At 5.30 tonight parents and teachers are invited to hear and meet Allan Ahlberg, also at the Mitchell Library. Ahlberg will talk about how he and his late wife, Janet, created classics such as The Jolly Postman and Peepo! and read from his more recent work. (Free but ticketed - phone 0141 287 2867.This is not a children's event.)

Ottakar's bookstore in Glasgow is running a non-stop storytelling of tales from around the world.

Glasgow Academy pupils will dress as famous characters from world literature at Borders bookstore in Glasgow, where they will box hundreds of books they have collected to send to the developing world as part of the Book Aid International initiative.

At Waterstone's in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, to mark Bedtime Reading Week as well as World Book Day, staff members in pyjamas will tuck themselves up in bed with a book in the shop window.

On Saturday children are invited to brunch at the store with Pru Irvine, creator of the children's cookery book Easy Peasy All the Time (11am).

l Information from Scottish Book Trust (0131 229 3663) or