Top 5: Literary Sedatives
If Go the F**k to Sleep doesn’t do the trick here’s our top five expletive-free books to lull little ones to sleep. 1. Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen & Sherry Scharschmidt. Lift the flaps to tuck the baby animals in. Very sweet and repetitive enough to get those eyes drooping. 2. Husherby by John Burningham. Soothing rhyme and plenty of pictures of tired animals. Baggy-eyed fish...
Tales from under the counter
From mothers wanting their 8 year olds to read James Bond (drinking, misogyny, violence - perfect for your little darlings) to setting up portable potties so their tots can defecate on the shop floor, we see it all at the children’s bookshop where I do weekend shifts. One thing you learn is that everybody has ‘very, very bright’ (and I mean very, very, very bright) children. It...
The beginning of the book does nothing but teach your child how to lie, cheat...– Amazon.com reviews of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Our new favourite game: finding morally outraged American reviews of books we love.
Event: Literary Teens
Read Between the Lines, an event run by Live! magazine and Walker books to discuss teenage reading in the digital age left LBB feeling surprisingly optimistic, not least because the young (mostly male!) teens there were fidgeting less than us. Mal Peet, Peter Cocks (and no one sniggered either), Michelle Gayle and Martyn Bedford talked about the difficulties and pleasures of writing for...
Writing for the Grown Ups
Patronising or what? In reviewing Eoin Colfer’s “adult” novel Plugged (Picador) in the Guardian today, Mark Lawson, in an otherwise positive piece, refers to Colfer’s “experiments beyond the youth shelves.” Funny, isn’t it, that when a writer of adult novels decides to try his hand at fiction for children (there was an inexplicable rush to do so soon after...
Review: Rockoholic by C J Skuse
Unlike her brilliant debut Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic by C J Skuse (Chicken House) is more X-rated Jacqueline Wilson than Quentin Tarantino. Jody is obsessed with a rock star, to the extent that she “accidentally” kidnaps him after a concert. Jody’s best friend Mac is the voice of reason – “you can’t keep him in the garage like Skellig” – but by the time Jody comes to her senses, the rock...
Bookburning Watch: Go the F*** to Sleep
Hugely looking forward to the furore that will be unleashed with the publication of Go the F*** to Sleep by Adam Ansbach (Canongate), a picture book for parents. The sniping on Guardian online after Annalisa Barbieri’s piece yesterday, will be as nothing compared to the moral outrage from those who police children’s books on Amazon.com (God fearing folk and librarians who advocate...
Review: One Boy and His Dog
Eva Ibbotson died last year, soon after delivering One Dog and his Boy (Scholastic) and it has all the characteristics of her best novels: charm, old fashioned adventure and a sly wit. Hal is a boy who has everything money can buy except decent parents and the thing he wants most of all in the world – a dog. When he discovers that the mongrel his father gives him for his birthday is only rented...
Review: Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School
Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh (HarperCollins) says out loud the things we wish our children didn’t think. The narrator has to sit next to the new boy who is “different”. He wears a boater and glasses that he obviously pinched from a boy named Ray Ban. Worst of all “Marshall Armstrong’s arm is too close to mine. It is all white with red spots on it.” But when the...
Author Crush: Hilary Mckay
LBB is thrilled about the publication of a prequel (how very Hollywood) to Hilary McKay’s Casson family series, Caddy’s World (Hodder). McKay is a genius at portraying family life. The children, all named after paints from an artist’s colour chart, run amok whilst their mother, Eve, spends her time producing ‘not exactly art’ in the garden shed. Perfect. All LBB...