Children’s book author and broadcaster Dermot O’Leary lends his fictional character, Toto The Ninja Cat, to front competition encouraging children to enter their favourite joke

Leading direct bookseller Book People has revealed that children’s book author and one of the UK’s top broadcasters, Dermot O’Leary, is lending his children’s book character, Toto the Ninja Cat, to their Giggle Ninja Competition and will select the winning joke from all entries.

The nationwide competition challenges children aged between three and thirteen to submit their favourite joke that will ‘make a grown-up giggle’. A compilation of the jokes entered will be published in an exclusive joke book by Hachette Children’s Group later in 2019 and sold exclusively through Book People, with at least 25% of proceeds going to Save the Children.

Dermot O’Leary and Toto(!) will also select their favourite joke from all entries awarding the child (or children) who submits the winning joke with the prestigious Giggle Ninja Award for Services to Laughter, as well as £250 RRP of books for themselves, and £250 RRP of books for their school.

This spring term competition launches with Toto the Ninja Cat fronting the campaign to encourage nursery and school aged children to submit their favourite joke. The competition opens on Thursday 10th January and closes on Thursday 18th April. Parents/guardians and teachers can submit their children or students’ jokes online at or via the form on the back of their Book People School Book Fair leaflet.

On becoming judge for the Giggle Ninja Competition, Dermot said: “I’m very excited for Toto to be spearheading this competition and we are both looking forward to being in fits of giggles!”

Speaking about being Book People’s charity partner for the campaign for a second year, Sayyeda Salam, Director of Partnerships & Philanthropy at Save the Children said: “We’re delighted to be partners of the Giggle Ninja joke book, and all the money raised will go to help children make their mark on the world and build a better future.”

Sarah Walden, Book People Group Buying and Merchandising Director commented: “Book People are thrilled to announce the launch of our Giggle Ninja competition with the support of Dermot O’Leary and his fantastic children’s book character Toto the Ninja Cat. We know humour is incredibly important in supporting a child’s development and is a fundamental human behaviour that will serve them well throughout their lives. It’s a sense we want to help them hone and we’re proud to be encouraging this with our Giggle Ninja Competition. We are looking forward to reading the jokes and having a good giggle!”

To find out more and enter the competition, please visit

Toto the Ninja Cat is Dermot’s first book series for children, inspired by his real-life pets. The third instalment of Toto’s hilarious adventures will be published in September 2019.

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