A CHILDREN'S novelist enthralled hundreds of pupils when he paid a visit to their school.

Joe Craig, who is known for his popular Jimmy Coates series of books, went to King Solomon High School in Barkingside to talk about his work.

Lesley Venuto, the manager of the school's library, said the author had made a big impression.

She said: "The kids absolutely loved him. They were all in hysterics.

"He just amazed them. He encouraged them to come up with scenarios and then showed them how to put a story together.

"It was a bit of a gamble as we weren't sure how he would go down, but the day was a big success.

"I first became aware of him when one of our pupils requested one of his books in the library, and other children were interested too so I thought I'd try and book him. He is very popular so we had to do it a year in advance.

"It was great because he helped encourage the children's interest in reading and most of them want to read his books now.

"The kids were great and special thanks must go out to my year 10 helper Ian Grant, he was fantastic helping to organise it all."

Mr Craig, who is also a keen musician, finished off his visit by playing a variety of songs to pupils.