Sunday, 19 September 2010

We Are Surrounded....

It seems that the adult world is completely suffused with children's books and stories. I knew this to an extent but the fact was bought home to me this afternoon having listened the A History of The World in 100 Objects from this last week I was surprised when a programme on Chinese bank notes began with an excerpt from Peter Pan. The link was promises and wishes, yet further references were made throughout the programme about the importance the Chinese Ming emperor conferred on children's literacy. hie motives were perhaps selfish, to ensure that they were able to read excerpts from the I Ching and also the writing on his new bank notes, yet he understood the importance of literacy. Later, Pick of the Week began with an excerpt from a programme presented by the singer Cerys Matthews on her favourite childhood story, Pippi Longstocking. I was charmed by her programme and quite amazed at the way in which there was such a split between lovers and detractors of the story - the detractors being those who did not approve of the strong minded, strong willed character!
It is however heartwarming to know that adults are as exposed to children's literature as children themselves and it is perhaps more important for adults to be reminded of its importance for it is they who encourage children to read and yet do little of it themselves. This week I feel that I have been guilty of this - encourgaing the children at school to read whilst not always finding enough time to read myself. Though I have read the newspaper every day. Having thought about this I realised that I have in fact been able to read a number of books in this last week from picture books to junior novels I have been charmed by a whole variety of titles. Today however I really want to tell you about the novels for younger children, come back later this week for picture book musings!
Rupert Kingfisher loves France and French food and as a result Bloomsbury have just published his third Madame Pamplemousse story - Madame Pamplemousse and the Enchanted Sweet Shop. This book tempts the reader with its candy coloured cover and delicious title into a story that will hook from page one! Madeline is feeling low and is tempted into the most wonderful of sweet shops - one which sells mouthwatering chocolates - who wouldn't be tempted by that? The problem is that all is not what it seems in this shop and the food, as delicious as it may be, is also rather sinister. I don't want to reveal too much rather to say that Rupert Kingfisher weaves a magic through his writing as much as Madame Pamplemoussse does with her food. This is a magical and charming story with a very important underlying message - not about about the evils of chocolate!!
Two other wonderful titles that I have very much enjoyed are Kate Davies second book - The Great Rabbit Rescue which sees the return of Anna and Suzanne with their infamous detective skills.... In this story they attempt to save their freind Joe's bunny who becomes mysteriously ill after they take charge of his care. A brilliant detective comedy follows , one which finds the children determined to pull of a brilliant rescue. Written in a semi-autobiographical style, told through the eyes of Anna, it is a very accessible and hilarious short story for animal lovers and rabbit enthusiats as well as amateur detectives!
Finally the Frightfully Friendly Ghosties have a Ghostly Holler Day in their second outing courtesy of Daren King. The Ghosties decide they are lonely and need a holiday, this, along with a postcard from Headless Leslie who went away and cannot remember how to get home helps them to decide that the time has come for a holler-day. So they take themselves off, one cold winters day to Frighton-on-Sea! What they get is not quite what they bargained for and they soon find themseleves embroilled in an exciting ghoslty caper featuring crooked magicians, ghost trains and more. A funny, exciting, charming and not too scary story of ghosts and ghouls!
Take your pick from the above, find some great new stories to read and share and remember that above all else there is nothing better than sharing a good story now that the evenings are drawing in!

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