Tag Archives: child

Books for children

Phil: Last week saw World Book Day so Candice asked on Twitter “Whats your favourite children’s book” sending around a few of our favourite authors. And me.

Daisy Waugh was first with a reply – The Secret Garden. My favourite book ever, inc. all the others, except mine

Which is interesting. How many of us, if asked for our top ten books, would include something we fell in love with as a child?

Julia Crouch came back with – Winnie the Pooh. I re-read it last month, and it’s still glorious.

Of course a good book is a good book no matter how old you are.

Polly Courtney’s daughter is only a couple of years old, so much more up to date – If I delegated this Q to my daughter, she would say Peppa Pig. Or more accurately, “Gekka!”

It seems that Peppa is the darling of the 2 year olds as Candice admitted  – We love peppa in out house. sent her to nursery with chicken licken today.

Now I think I might be responsible for Nolan Jnrs Chicken Licken interest. My mum tells me I used to drive her mad asking for it to be read to me many times a day. The story involves Chicken-Licken, Foxy-Loxy, Henny-Penny, Ducky-Lucky, Draky-Laky and co. So for her first birthday, the young Nolan received a copy. I’m chuffed she likes it, or maybe mom has sent it hoping it will be lost in transit!

Ron Sinclair is more pragmatic – hmm depends on age band! Mr Men books for younger ones, Discworld books for older!

Discworld is a series I’ve never been able to get into. I don’t know why but young Phil might have been different. Many hours were spend playing Fighting Fantasy books and I suspect that the satirical fantasy world of Terry Pratchett would have appealed greatly. I might even have read Harry Potter.

paddleAs it was, I’ve plumped, not for Thomas the Tank engine as you might expect, but Paddle-to-the-Sea. It’s a lovely story about a carved wooden Indian in his canoe released into the great lakes by a child who carves him. Each stage of Paddle’s journey is illustrated with a big watercolour and often footnotes explaining some of the things he encounters along the way. Both educational and entertaining, I’ve loved the idea of toys going on a journey and wondering what they would get up to ever since.

And Candice? I always loved the Faraway Tree series. Escapism is my thing.

I’d never heard of these despite being a devotee of Enid Blyton as a child. I read all the Famous Five books several times and probably all the Secret Seven too. Was I deprived?

And what is your favourite children’s book?

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Everyone is allowed an opinion, aren’t they?

Candice: If I’d written this post yesterday there would be a lot of expletives.  I was fuming from being bitch slapped by the breastfeeding mom nazis.  (That’s the polite version on my feelings)

I won’t go into detail but I now have an insight into why Daisy Waugh wrote the book I am currently dipping into, the one that Phil managed to get a signed copy for me.  It’s called – ‘ I don’t know why she bothers’.  I gave an opinion on something, advice I’d been passed by another mother and was pretty much told I was a bad mother for saying it.

I’m not going to review it now as I haven’t read it all yet.  I’m dipping into sections as I come across them with Erin’s development so I’ll be reading it for years.

But that, and the situation yesterday, made me think.  I, unfortunately, can come across as bossy and a bit of a know it all when it comes to life.  I’ve done a few things, travelled to a few places and have some life experience.  So when someone offers something I can add an opinion to, I often do.  However, this has caught me out a few times as people take offence and think I am trying to teach them something, though I am only trying to help.

Sometimes I just wish I could shut my trap, but I can’t help it when I see people who are in the wrong, be that driving in the middle lane of the motorway, queue jumping in a shop or making life hard for themselves as the world has convinced them that it makes them a bad mom to do it any other way.  My other half is worse on the driving gesticulation front though!

Phil and I have been to numerous events over the years about how to write.  They have been informative, useful and generally given us a few pointers (and helped us pick up some writing buddies) but they don’t have the panacea for getting that book published.

Just yesterday we got some positive feedback on the book, but in a rejection email, so we are still plugging away at it like everyone else.  But we’d like to think that a few pointers here and there can help along the way.

But I think sometimes people take everything they read on the web as gospel.  The internet can be extremely helpful but also your worst enemy, whether you are looking for ways to make a six-week old baby sleep, or ways to get your book published.  Too much information!

So I hope you like our musing on the blog but people, don’t feel that this is the be all and end all.  And when we do get published, certainly buy our books and attend our events when we talk about how to get published, but don’t forget to do it your own way.

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Think of the children ?

Phil: The theatre I work at has a cinema and this week we’ve being showing a film to amuse children on half term holidays. Thanks to this, I’ve had the “opportunity” to see the Smurfs movie.

Three times.

Anyway, I was feeling a bit blue but one scene did set me thinking. The (human) male lead has sent off an e-mail to his tyrant of a boss. Papa Smurf is looking through his star-gazer (telescope, he’s not trying to peer through Patrick Moore) to work out when the stars will align, he and his family can go home and I can get out of a room full of children. They are tense and so the lead decides, with a product placement that arrives with a thud, that they should play Guitar Hero.

Cue lots of gurning and flailing on a plastic guitar. Plenty of shots that when shown in 3D will have the audience vomiting up the popcorn (we showed the 2D version thankfully) and the Smurfs singing along to the song. Which is Run DMC and Aerosmith performing “Walk This Way“.

Now this is a film for kids. It’s not that bad for grown-ups but you really need to be around 4 to 8  years old to get the best from it. Which makes things interesting when the little darlings look up the song in the web and find the lyrics.

“Mummy. What’s a backseat lover ?”

“Errr. Someone who likes to sit in the back of the car while Daddy and Mummy drive ?”

“Daddy. What’s a classy kind of sassy mean ?”

“Classy kind of sassy ? I thought they said classy kind of chassis. It means, errr, someone who very nice, errr, shoes.”

“Muuuummmmy. What do they mean by ’til you’re down on her muffin ?”

“Oh ! I’m sure it’s something to do with not being very good at baking. Now isn’t it time for cebbie’s or something. You go and watch television while Daddy and I have a chat about the films he takes you to see.”

Now I know the trend is for kids films that have an extra layer for the parents to enjoy and also that when you are a kid you miss a lot of the double entendres that make adults wince, but I wonder how you work out where the line can be drawn. More to the point, is it really what the audience wants ? Roal Dahl seemed to have it pegged – children aren’t tiny little adults but individuals who think differently. Give them cruelty and scary stuff and they are happy. Grown-ups don’t get it in the same way. On the other hand, they are paying the money to go in or read the book so perhaps Dahl is out of date and bright colours, loads of action and product placement is what you need to supply.

I don’t get it. Can someone who understands writing for kids enlighten me ?


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