NEARLY 25,000 children across Hampshire have signed up for a summer reading challenge at libraries across the county.

The Mythical Maze summer reading challenge invites children to find their way around a labyrinth that introduces them to creatures from the world of legend and mythology, collecting stickers of each character along the way.

Each time a fictional or non-fictional book is finished, children can collect a sticker, and after six books they can claim a certificate and a medal.

Hampshire County Council, which runs library services in the county, says that 24,800 children have signed up and will have read at least 140,000 books between them during the summer holidays.

The challenge runs until September 13 and is aimed at children aged four to 12. It’s open to all children and non-members can join on the day they sign up.

In Winchester, 322 children signed up for the challenge in the first week, while Gosport Discovery Centre has a roaring dragon that guards the treasure of medals inside a specially created cage.

Children have the choice of a |griffin or a Pegasus to colour in when they register at Stubbington Library and their pictures are added to the wall maze for everyone to see.

The challenge was created by illustrator Sarah McInture.

Cllr Keith Chapman, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for culture, recreation and countryside, said: “Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge 2014 is an ideal activity for children before they go back to school in September and there is still time to sign up and join the challenge.

“For those who will be going to school for the first time, sharing books with adults and taking part in the challenge can be great preparation and help them to be ‘reading ready’.

“The challenge has been running for 13 years in Hampshire, and every year more children are inspired to take part.”

For more information, visit challenge and