A BLACK tongue, fiery eyes and purple prickles attracted children and their families to the St Ives Book Jam on Saturday where the Gruffalo made a guest appearance at the free book festival for youngsters.

The second annual Book Jam at the town's Corn Exchange was packed with families who not only wanted to meet Julia Donaldson's famous creation, but take part in a wide variety of book related activities - from writing workshops, story making sessions and drawing and colouring, through to reading and a play.

"I think it was a great success," said Gilly Jackson, one of the members of ACE, which organised the event. "There were far more people than last year. From the time the doors opened at 10am it was busy, the children and their families flooded in and the workshops were full.

"The children were able to learn from published authors and it was a great opportunity for them to have their imaginations stimulated."

As well as workshops by professional writers and illustrators at the Corn Exchange, the festival, which was sponsored by Movewithus and supported by The Hunts Post, also spread to other venues in St Ives for the first time, with the Norris Museum, the Bridge Chapel and the library all hosting successful events.

And the Book Jam could expand to even more venues when it returns in 2014.