Monday, 22 April 2013

#ReadItMD13 - This week's theme week, "Book TV!"

Far more desirable than a Sony Bravia 52" HD Telly surely?
For this week's theme, I must admit to having a huge gap in my knowledge so I'm hoping lots of you lovely folk will be able to help me plug the gaps. You see, on average we watch probably about 2-4 hours of TV a week at home so we don't often have time to hoover up some of the brilliant book-based programmes that children can discover new books through.

When I was a whippersnapper, two TV programmes about books used to be required viewing.

The mighty "Jackanory" is probably remembered by quite a few folk my age. Celebrities (even royalty) used to read a children's book over the space of a week, with some utterly scintillating titles and guests counting themselves amongst the Jackanory alumni. Here's a fantastic clip of a 'Young Ones'-era Rik Mayall reading Roald Dahl's "George's Marvellous Medicine" in his own inimitable style!

The other programme I loved to bits was The Book Tower. With an utterly cracking (if somewhat surreal) theme tune by Julian Lloyd Webber, and presented by the towering presence of my favourite Doctor Who of all time, Tom Baker, the Book Tower was stunning viewing even if you weren't that interested in books (luckily I most certainly was at that age!)

It probably looks a bit old and creaky now (much like me!) but it had bucketloads of atmosphere and always featured the sort of books I couldn't get enough of as a kid (by the likes of Ian Serrailler, C.S. Lewis etc).

Moving on, children today have far more choice. From an early age, kids can enjoy the CBeebies lunchtime and bedtime stories - either read by the fantastic CBeebies presenters or, like Jackanory, by willing celebrities who do a fantastic job of fleshing out some of our favourite children's books. Here's John Simm taking a break from Life on Mars to read "Winnie the Witch".

CBeebies is also home to a rather loveable storytelling Lion. I still struggle to marry up the image of Peter Serafinowicz as Bernard Butterfield in my head with the rather softly spoken Driver Dan but nevertheless, Driver Dan's Story Train has become a firm favourite with kids - leading into a story reading with a little story of its own featuring the multitude of (sometimes loopy) characters that inhabit Dan's world.

Flipping over to CITV, you've got plenty of choice too. We could not run a theme week on Book TV without mentioning the mighty Bookaboo. Fabulous, fantastic, rocking. We've run out of superlatives. Though we've only checked out a couple of episodes, and though it's often on when Charlotte is still at school we really ought to watch it more often as it's fab. Here's Mel C on Bookaboo.

(Yup still the most fanciable spice girl).

Last but by no means least we've got to mention Signed Stories, simply because they use Child's Play books - and we really love those books very much indeed. Signed Stories mixes read aloud stories with signing, and you can also download an app from iTunes too!

Check out a clip below of Natalie 'signing' Rumplestiltskin.

So there you have it, these are just a few of the book-based programmes that children can tap into on TV and hear about new books, hear new stories and get some brilliant ideas for that next visit to the bookshop or library.