Much as we live in a technology-driven world, it can never replace the joy of reading books. Books were a huge part of my childhood with favoured authors including from Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and E Nesbit to Alf Proyson, CS Lewis and Mary Norton. Some of my most memorable books were published before I was even born. Classics like The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) and Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) among them. I started reading to POD every night when she was just a few months old. I didn’t get much back in the very early days but making storytelling part of her bedtime routine has certainly paid off.
POD is continually surrounded by all kinds of books and its definitely helped her vocabulary level. She’s learning to read herself now and is so obsessed with writing she carries a pen and notebook with her everywhere! She draws all the time too and often says she wants to be a famous writer. Time will tell on that front (she’s only five!) but she’s certainly reaped the rewards of being read to these past years. The stories we read vary enormously from the likes of Julia Donaldson through to Beatrix Potter and Lewis Carol. She even has an old book called Epaminondas that belonged to my dad which I had as a child and now belongs to POD. Along with a selection from her now teenage cousins. That’s the wonderful thing about books, if you look after them – they can last decades and be passed down from generation to generation.
The wonderful folk at Penguin have sent us three very different books – all of which are just superb. First up is The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea (by Abie Longstaff and Lauren Beard). We know this series of books as POD already has The Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella by the same pairing which she loves. This story is centred around The Queen hosting a food festival to find a suitable princess for her son – Prince Peter. Kittie Lacey (the best hairdresser in all the land) gave all the princesses a special foodie hairstyle with the styling chair the key to finding the right girl. Fairies had given The Queen a magic pea when Prince Peter was born so a magic pea was placed beneath some cushions as a secret test to find the right girl. As you’d expect, everything didn’t quite go to plan but the Prince found his Princess in the most unlikely of places.
The Tale Of Kitty In Boots (by Beatrix Potter and Quentin Blake) is my favourite of the three. It tells a witty story about a serious, well-behaved young black cat who leads a daring double life defeating vile villains. When Miss Kitty sneaks out to go hunting in her wonderful boots, she gets herself into all kinds of scrapes – meeting Mr Tod, the foxiest hunter of them all, in the process. It’s an entertaining tale about mistaken identities, devious villans and there are even appearances by Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggiewinkle. This book was written by Beatrix Potter way back in 1914 but it was never illustrated. A century later, it’s been brought to life by Quentin Blake’s unmistakably charming illustrations. Quite remarkable.
The final book is Alfie and His Very Best Friend (by Shirley Hughes) which is a tale of friendship. By the award-winning author of Dogger (and other titles in the Alfie series), the story focuses on Alfie and his best friend Bernard who go on lots of adventures together. This includes the library, scooter races and making a special club that only has two members!
We have a very special someone who is going to receive these books as a gift very soon. POD turns six on Christmas Day and with her reading list so varied, it seems fitting to provide her with a mix of stories we can read together over the coming months. The Fairytale Hairdresser and Princess and the Pea is a lot of fun with The Tale of Kitty In Boots great for stretching her vocabulary level. Alfie and His Very Best Friend is definitely a book she can start reading herself. What about you – have you purchased some books as gifts for Christmas?
Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Penguin Random House. Opinions are as always our own.