Tuesday, 14 August 2012

When you read books to your child, what voices do you use?

Fairly early on in our relationship, I found out that @thestrollingmum really didn't like my terrible talent for daft accents and impressions, so for years those voices lay dormant except for moments when I could sneakily take them out for a stroll when she wasn't within earshot.

As soon as Charlotte was born, and I started reading to her, I found I could sneakily dust down those accents and impressions and use them to give life and form to the characters in Children's Books.

I'm not the only one. I know all of you out there in bookland secretly do this as well (Right, Binky?) and what's more, you love doing it. Quite rightly too!

So I'm interested to hear what voices you use, what accents and how you make an already engaging story that little bit more interesting vocally.

I'll start - here's a small selection of books and characters, and the voices I tend to slip into when reading them...

The Gruffalo / Gruffalo's Child (Julia Donaldson / Axel Scheffler).

Used to read The Gruffalo as a broad Glaswegian, long before I heard the TV version with Robbie Coltrane's dulcet tones as The Gruffalo. I also rather like James Corden's mouse, slightly high and squeaky with that air of being a bit of a smart alec. Previously I always read the mouse as a slightly nervous reedy little fellah.

The various animals range from a rather posh and snooty fox, to a hooty and hollow-sounding voice for the owl.

The Gruffalo's child, can't help reading her as a slightly raspy 'Violet Elizabeth / Bonnie Langford'.

Splat the Cat (Rob Scotton)

We got Splat the Cat as part of a Booktrust Bookstart pack and it's such an excellent little book. Splat himself was always a high pitched "Brummie" accent, a bit like "Small" in the TV show "Big and Small". His mum was a softer non brummie, but Mrs Wimpydimple is always read as a cross between Miss Marple and Molly Sugden.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)

I think it was the opening page of this book and the words "By the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf" that made me think of "In The Night Garden" for some reason, so I find it impossible to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar without mimicking the narration style of Derek Jacobi. Soft and snuggly bedtime voice only for this one.

So over to you, how do YOU read to your child?