Kids love stories more than they love toys

Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar
A copy of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold every 57 seconds. That makes it the best selling kids’ book of all time. Who knew? We like it round here, of course, especially the board book, which is indestructible as well as being a gentle, colourful and mesmerisingly-paced treat (Rosa, 18 months, is really enjoying it at the moment) I learnt this and loads more from a nice programme presented by John Hegley about the book on Radio 4 the other day.

Meanwhile, I learn from an article (which you’ll need a subscription to see) in The Economist that the retail toy trade is in big trouble, with major players (like Disney) getting out of the business all together and mega-specialists like Toys R Us shutting stores. This all fits my theory that kids are now looking less for the slightly circular thrill of a toy and more for the open and provocative experience of a narrative… Stories are big news, in half a dozen categories, from $1 Billion story-driven movie franchises (Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter, Spiderman…) to epic video games and – you know – those dead tree things kids seem happy to queue all night for when they come out…

One thought on “Kids love stories more than they love toys

  1. Of course the upshot of this is that you need to build narratives into toys. There is also the slight worry that stories support inactivity – are we becoming chubbier because we like reading more than moving?

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