Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The right book

Nathaniel has always been fond of reading and has devoured a good range of books, but recently has been less interested. I've been horribly aware that this is probably because he needs some new ones, but ones that are right. We've been to the library a lot, but unfortunately they don't seem to have a big range of things that overlap with our priorities.

Admittedly we've got a bit fussy.

Nathaniel's thoughts on books:
- ideally they should feature something with wheels or a windmill (his interest in the Cat in the Hat is fueled simply from the last two pages where the Cat's amazing car appears)
- if they are non-fiction, the pictures should ideally be photographs (he's not desperately impressed with Usborne's set of Fimo models. He'll read the books once, but then loses interest)
- fiction should have a good story (though for some reason he includes Mick Inkpen's Kipper books in this category. I just don't get that!)
- rhymes are good
- pictures with loads of detail are best.

My thoughts on books:
- no tv character tie-ins unless the story and pictures meet all the other priorities
- pictures should be life-like - I dislike crazy distorted heads
- colour shouldn't be garish. NO DISNEY!
- rhyming books should scan
- limited anthropomorphism. Especially in wheeled vehicles.
- Language should be interesting and dialogue realistic.

So you can see that we've cut down our options rather. We've had great sucesses with the Little Red Train - the stories are good, the pictures are great and the little red train never speaks!

But then we had a triumph! At the Steiner School spring fair there was a book stall (actually a whole classroom full of books!), so I parked N in a corner and we both rifled through books for an hour. We came away with some gems - a selection of late 70's classics with sensible (and in some cases, beautiful), pictures and great stories. Who says I'm not stuck in the past?!

This was the piece de resistance:

12 pages of car brilliance. Simple text, complicated pictures. The background (the garage and its setting), stays the same but people, cars, tractors move round and the story develops.

And he reads it several times a day. Perfect!

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