Wednesday, 20 April 2011

In praise of Julia Donaldson. Oh and Spike Milligan too.

Bed-time stories are over for another night and in a few short years they'll be over for good when Philou starts reading for himself. Like his brothers before him, Philou follows the adventures of "The Gruffalo", "The Smartest Giant in Town" and other fantastic creatures. I must have read some of these stories a hundred times, yet many of them are still a pleasure every night. But in my experience most books for young children are very poorly written; imaginative storylines and beautiful illustrations are rightly emphasized but often at the expense of the musicality and tonality of the writing, yet these are vital if the parent is to make the story come alive. There's so much flat and dull writing around that I really appreciate all of the books by Julia Donaldson which are quite wonderful to read aloud.

"His eyes are orange, his tongue is black;
He has purple prickles all over his back"

Oh and Spike Milligan too. "On the Ning Nang Nong" is quite the perfect poem to read to three-year-olds, who have it off-by-heart after two nights.

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