We asked six children what they would like to take back to school with them this autumn...
1 Lunch boxes (clockwise from left) The Lion King (pounds 4.99, WH Smith), with its vacuum flask lid, beat several similar designs because "it was a better film". The Mickey & Donald scene on the front of the lunch bag (pounds 7.99) was considered hilarious enough to make up for the lack of flask. Mickey won with another vacuum-lid (pounds 4.99, WH Smith). The Thermos Gladiator Snack Kit (pounds 6.49) was considered a good design, though Hamish thought he would cover the picture with "a sticker of Mickey Mouse". Mickey, yet again, on a traditional box (from pounds 4.99). Pocahontas was a huge hit with Harriet and Hannah, who felt able to overlook the pink ("It's our worst colour"). All these lunch boxes can be bought at most supermarkets and toy shops or call Thermos on (01277 213404) for stockists.

2 Pencil cases (from bottom left) The Yikes Slime Pouch (pounds 1.99, Tesco, Toys R Us) was met with shrieks of delight. Hannah thought it wonderfully "gungy and squidgy" while Harry thought "You could press it all out at your teacher!" Tartan (pounds 1.85, Tridias) got votes from the girls, and all were impressed by the wooden box (pounds 9.99, Tridias). The Moschino range (pounds 8.99, Paperchase), with its exploding tins of spinach, was a great success. One surprise was the enthusiasm for the Donald Duck design (pounds 2.99,WH Smith). "I like the way it's an outline," said Harriet. The snail tin (pounds 1.99, WH Smith) was thought babyish by the older children but loved by the rest.

3 Bags (left to right) Although the traditional leather satchel (pounds 39, The Conran Shop), provoked a passionate "Ooh! I hate that!" from Nicholas, it proved a firm favourite with the others. Harry thought it "very smart and useful". All, without exception, fell for the shark back-pack (pounds 9.99, Cheeky Monkeys). The tartan bag (pounds 3.65, Tridias) appealed to the girls, Sophie in particular. Nicholas loved the bee back-pack (pounds 9, Harrods), while Harriet prefered the aardvark (pounds 12.99, Pyramid). Hamish liked the red case because it was like a small suitcase (pounds 4.95, The Conran Shop).

4 Files & notebooks Favourites were the rubber lion and shark pads (centre top) (pounds 3.50-pounds 4, Pyramid). Next best were the Donald Duck (from 49p, WH Smith) and Moschino pads. Runners-up were 101 Dalmatians and Big Bugs (from 50p, WH Smith) and Tintin (from 99p, Paperchase).

5 Playground Games These old-fashioned games were surprisingly popular, particularly the magnetic marbles. Left to right: chunky chalks (pounds 1.99) and magnetic marbles (pounds 1.50) from Tridias; jacks (pounds 4.95) and skipping rope (pounds 3.25) from The Conran Shop.

6 Pens and Pencils The Yikes pencil packs (pounds 1.99, Tesco, Toys R Us) are established classroom favourites and the new designs were declared "Great!". The Glow Monster ink pen (pounds 2.99, WH Smith) was liked by the boys, and the Palm Tree Pen Set (pounds 2.99, Cheeky Monkeys) was a big hit with the girls. The winner, by a head, was the Yikes No Brainer Eraser (bottom right, 99p) which Hamish insisted he needed "desperately". Runners up: 101 Dalmatians pencil tops (pounds 1.99 per set, WH Smith), flower pencil tops (pounds 1.99, Tridias) and fruit pencil sharpeners (pounds 1.25, Paperchase)


WH Smith (0171-730 1200)

Paperchase, 213 Tottenham Ct Rd, London W1 (0171-580 8496)

Pyramid, 10-12 Old Town Clapham, London SW4 (0171-622 9063)

Tridias has shops in the West Country and London. For addresses and mail- order, call 01225 469455

Cheeky Monkeys, 24 Abbeville Rd, London SW4 (0181-673 5215)

Conran Shop, 81 Fulham Road, London SW7 (0171-589 7401)

Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW7 (0171-730 1234)