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24 March 2006

So, where do we stand on burning books?

One of the more unfortunate side effects of the Minx learning to walk is that she can now follow me round the house clutching her favourite book and gazing at me with a pleading expression (the child is the most unbelievable bookworm - I'm not sure whether to feel very proud or tell her go outside and go skateboarding or something).

I say unfortunate because nine times out of ten that book is 'Miss Polly Had A Dolly' for which the Minx has conceived a passion bordering on obsession. This morning I had to go through it with her no less than eight times before she left for nursery. Is it very wrong of me to be currently plotting a particularly spectacular demise for both Miss Polly and her Dolly? The Oxfam shop is too good for them.


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*Donor of said book hurtles in*.

Ahem. Had you forgotten I do read this blog? ;-p

*chants* Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick
She called for the doctor to come quick quick quick.....

I trust you are doing appropriate hand and body movements. DaughterOne also loved this book (hence my searching high and low to secure it as a gift for the Minx, who is clearly more appreciative than her mother)and she is now a 16 year old about to embark on English A level and probably go on to read English at university. Haaaa!

I will be buying the Minx "Each Peach Pear Plum" when she is a little older and knows her nursery rhymes. Destined to be another favourite...with much more subtle illustrations so maybe this time you'll be happy too.

Now where was I?

*resumes chanting* The Doctor came with his bag and his hat
And knocked at the door with a rat-a-tat-tat
He looked at the dolly and he shook his head
He said "Miss Polly put her straight to bed"
He wrote on his pad for a pill pill pill
"I'll be back in the morning with my bill, bill, bill"

Have I still got it 15 years on? And hey...never thought about it before - Miss Polly goes for private health care. How politically incorrect is that?


No. I HADN'T forgotten. My revenge will be unexpected but swift.

Even the most comprehensive private health cover won't help Miss Polly when she sees what I've got planned for her...

(1) Lose hideous pink thing (sorry C) at once if it annoys you. Strongly recommend strict diet limited to Quentin Blake and the Ayckbourns, neither of which will ever, ever make you want to vomit.

(2) Maternal pride is premature here. I remember my mate Liv positively crowing because her one-year old was always demanding books while Ben preferred to play with the vegetable rack. At 16, her daughter regards all literature as a hopeless waste of time, while Ben is incapable of eating his Frosties without a book propped up in front of him and has had a play recorded by the BBC.

(3) Never feel guilty about reading or not reading to your children. Do it only if and when you want to. Having a wide choice of books lying around is far more important.

Consultancy bill in post,


The Ayckbourns, Lissie? For pre schoolers? :-0 or did you mean the Ahlbergs? Who indeed wrote Each Peach Pear Plum......

LOVE Quentin Blake. And Judith Kerr - the Minx will love Mog when she's a bit older. And has she discovered The Very Hungry Caterpillar yet? Or Brown Bear, Brown Bear? That was the Son's Miss Polly equivalent.

12 short years later and he's reading The Kite Runner. Not written a play for the BBC yet though...


The Ayckbourns??? Don't you mean the Ahlbergs? What kind of a consultant are you, anyway???

Just for the record, here are my personal selection of books that I am willing to read and re-read to tiny children. Not that I have to, any more *emoticon of joy*

'Peepo' by Alan & Janet Ahlberg. Nostalgic and sweet without being the least bit twee. Loads to look at and talk about in the pics. Also agree with Fi about 'Each Peach', and the Jolly Postman books also great fun when Lulu is more dexterous.

'Mr Magnolia' by Quentin Blake. (Nell voluntarily bought a copy for Lulu from her bookstall at the Brownie Bring & Buy). Sing-song and wacky. I envisage the Mrs Armitage books being a big favourite with you, too...

'I Will Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child. Surely the brightest new talent in children's books this century? 'The Storybook Wolves' are fantastially hilarious for slightly older kids.

'Lulu and the Flying Babies' by Posy Simmonds. You will adore; though more of a picture book (cf also Raymond Briggs)

The Mog books by Judith Kerr - pics are apalling, really, but there's something about them.

'Dogger' by Shirley Hughes (also the Alfie books). Her pics break all the rules about children preferring colourful, clear images, but I like the way her families look like real people, and the stories ring true.

'The Cat in the Hat' by Dr Zeuss. But am sure I am preaching to the converted here.

These are the books that now sit dog-eared on our shelves, while the beautiful boxed sets of Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh remain as shinily pristine as the day they were bought.


Dammit! Was hoping to get in with the Ahlberg thing before you. Witch. But glad to see the great tradition of synchronised posting is alive and well.

Good morning Paola. Lovely day for strolling through colourful Notting Hill. Bumped into any famous people recently? :-)


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