Monday, 25 February 2013

Further reading

After my post on reading to your children to mark the Booktrust campaign to get more Dads involved, I went home and found a load of books on their shelves which I should have mentioned. So here's part two of my recommendations.

Picture books
I'm a fan of Jeanne Willis, particularly 'There's an ouch in my pouch' and 'Bottom's up'. Cressida Cowell, better known for 'How to train your dragon', has written a superb series of Emily Brown books, particularly 'Emily Brown and the Thing', which is a very handy tale if your child gets scared at bedtimes. 'How Santa Really Works', by the appropriately named Alan Snow, is great for building up the pre-Christmas excitement. And for a modern classic, look no further than Shaun Tan's 'The Lost Thing', which is also available as an award-winning animation from iTunes etc.

Young fiction
As I said in the last post, I find a lot of modern fiction aimed at young boys intensely irritating and just really badly written. I tend to try to go back to the classics that I loved as a boy, and then sometimes find (e.g. the Willard Price 'Adventure' series) that they really haven't stood the test of time.
The one exception is the Jack Stalwart series by Elizabeth Singer Hunt. Spying, gadgets, travel, what more could you want? She's a lovely lady too - when my son emailed her with a suggestion for a new gadget she sent a really considerate reply.

The classics
I've got a soft spot for Robert Westall's 'The Machine Gunners' and you could do an awful lot worse than getting a Shirley Hughes collection and the complete Winnie the Pooh - two beautiful editions your children will be able to pass on to their children.
But to me the winner hands down is 'The Iron Man' by Ted Hughes. 'A children's story in five nights', this is a beautiful, poetic, modern fairy tale and I still can't get enough of it. And if your child has a 'Book day' at school where they have to go dressed as a character, how about making Harry Potter disappear for once and making a Space Bat Angel Dragon costume?

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