We recently (finally) got Rose a set of bookshelves for her room. We’d previously had a good chunk of her books downstairs, and the rest in baskets in her room. But it’s great to have them all together. Rose loves books. There’s a strict limit of 4 at bedtime, or bedtime would last forever, but most days we probably read another 5/10/40 throughout the day. And she tends to want the same ones over and over until we force a swap, and then she’ll exhaust a new set. So changing things around has meant that old favourites have resurfaced, and we’ve also started reading some books we’d barely looked at before – or that she appreciates in a totally new way now that she’s older.
Two nice second hand books have become bedtime staples, and they’re also a perfect little size for sticking in a tote bag for the train, bus, or waiting in a cafe.
The first is A Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jenny Williams. Our edition of this is a “pocket penguin”, so, as I said before, it’s a smaller book than a standard picture flat. I bought it for the pictures, which are full of amazing pattern and colour, but I wasn’t crazy about the story. However as Rose has become attached to it I’ve become quite a fan of the story too – especially the repetition of “nonsense little boy” which Rose loves to read along to. There are elements of the story which are scary – a little boy tells his mother that a lion is living in the meadow outside their house, and she eventually gives him a matchbox with a tiny dragon to scare the lion away – and Rose is at a stage of constantly getting carried away and frightened of monsters be them lions, dragons, or (current obsessive fears) santa and scarecrows. But maybe the author knows that this level of fear is actually really enjoyable for kids; Rose loves getting herself into a tizz as long as mummy or daddy is there to save her. As you can see from the photos it’s more Rose lap-sized than mummy lap-sized.
And the second book is “Acorns and Stew” by Ruth Orbach, and our edition of this is a picture lion. I love these little picture lions, we’ve also got Mog in the same format and it’s perfect for reading in the car. I like the style of the line drawings with a really small amount of colour, but I was also massively drawn to the story of a young girl who loved ducks – which I knew Rose would enjoy. The girl’s name, Lenore, has quickly entered Rose’s vocabulary as a possible name for characters in her make-believe games, and she loves empathising when the ducks are sad.