Every night, when I’m at home, I read my two under-five-year-old sons a bedtime story.
I’d paid no attention to children’s stories since I was a child myself, so it was a pleasant surprise to find there are so many great books to read to small children. And they really do have to be great, because as every parent knows, if your child likes a book you will have to read it again and again. And again.
I mean, it’s a special skill to write a great book for small children and the adults that must bring them to life. You have to capture and hold their attention. You have to open their minds to another world when they don’t yet know the one they live in. You have to know less is more, and know there will be a no more imaginative audience.
The authors my children, Oscar and Mateo, and I like right now include Oliver Jeffers (a genius of the genre), Ed Vere (Mr Big in particular), Andrea Beaty (Iggy Peck, Architect is a modern classic), Lorena Siminovich (Alex and Lulu: Two Of a Kind is beautiful) and, of course, the recently late and eternally great Maurice Sendak, whose Where The Wild Things Are somehow sums up just what it’s like to be a kid in a few words and pictures.