I’m reading the kids the hilarious and wise Clarice Bean Spells Trouble – cleverly illustrated, contemporary and cheeky – and Lauren Child, the brilliant author/illustrator behind the series, covers the waterfront, with picture books for 3–6s and story books for the older kids. We all really look forward to bedtime while we’re reading a Clarice Bean.
Improbably, we love the music from the TV series based on Sendak & Minarik’s Little Bear books – what is it? A string trio plus piano? Beautiful, anyway (and better than the stories themselves, which are soporific – and how come Little Bear’s completely naked but his parents are fully-clothed anyway?). Olly (6) is reading an Elmore Leonard book! Seriously, Leonard’s written his first kids’ book and, not incidentally, the UK edition’s illustrated by Lauren Child. It’s called A Coyote’s In the House and it’s got the same terrific characters (only this time they’re dogs) and convincing, convoluted vernacular we love in Leonard’s grown-up books.
Sue ‘Cowboy Baby‘ Heap and Nick ‘The Time it Took Tom‘ Sharratt – together at last! Two of our absolute favourite picture book authors have jointly created Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly, which is a beautiful collision of styles for 3–6s. We often listen again to BBC 7’s seven day archive of the Little Toe Radio Show which is a consistently excellent story-packed hour (every day of the week) for the youngest kids (and we also burn CDs for the car, which is a very nice way of filling a journey with stories without buying expensive audio books).