Thursday, 10 March 2016

A very special guest post to celebrate the "Violet and the Smugglers" Blog Tour. Over to you, Harriet Whitehorn!

Harriet Whitehorn, author of the awesome "Violet" series including the latest book "Violet and the Smugglers"

Today we're handing over the keys to the blog to a very special guest. Joining us today is Harriet Whitehorn, author of "Violet and the Pearl of the Orient",  "Violet and the Hidden Treasure" and the latest amazing book "Violet and the Smugglers". You've read our review, now Harriet's here to tell us all about her favourite children's books! Take it away Harriet!

My Favourite Children’s Picture Books by Harriet Whitehorn

Like many children, I learnt to read with Dr. Seuss. Even now, when I re-read certain pages I have a strong, small-child memory of the look of the page, and the smell of old library books comes wafting back through the years to me. I also loved my mother’s collection of Beatrix Potter books - as you can see she was a great believer in mending books with sellotape - and I still get a little frisson of fear looking at the pictures of sinister Mr. Tod.

The wonderful Babar was another favourite, along with Richard Scarry’s What do People Do All Day? and Robert the Rose Horse by Joan

I was particularly obsessed with Robert, the unfortunate horse who can’t stop sneezing whenever a rose is near. I’m not quite sure why it inspired such fervent devotion but it did, and my original copy was destroyed beyond even my mother’s abilities with sellotape.

Years later, I had my own children, and, as many parents will tell you, one of the joys of parenthood is that you get to revisit your old favourite children’s books and to discover so many more fantastic new ones.

And I really do have so many favourites; The Jolly Postman, Each Peach Pear Plum, The Tiger who Came to Tea Hairy Maclary, Orlando (the Marmalade Cat), Madeline and the Mog books.

I could go on and on but I just wanted to focus on two books which I think are particularly brilliant. The first is the eccentric tale of The Elephant and the Bad Baby.

I love the subversiveness of the name ‘Bad Baby’, in our world where you must never label children as ‘bad’. The unlikely pair go on a shoplifting spree, chased by all the shopkeeper’s, until the Elephant has suddenly had ENOUGH of the Bad Baby’s lack of manners.

 It’s a bit like a parent who has not had very much sleep and has been pushed a little too far. It has the dreaminess of repetition and rhyme which children love and the quirkiness of the tale is perfectly contrasted with Raymond Brigg’s beautiful illustrations. Rumpeta Rumpeta Rumpeta!

 My second favourite book is Julia Donaldson’s A Squash and A Squeeze. All of her books are amazing, and I have spent many happy hours reading The Grufffalo, The Magic Paintbrush and Room on the Broom.

But I think that A Squash and a Squeeze is a perfectly succinct study of human nature and its foibles, and I would urge you to read it if you haven’t.

It might just change your life.

Thank you SO MUCH Harriet for sharing some of your favourite childhood and children's books with us. We love your choices (and there are some new to us that we'll definitely be checking out!)

Don't miss the other stops on the "Violet" Blog tour, and definitely do not miss Harriet's awesome book "Violet and the Smugglers" with illustrations by Becka Moor, out now from Simon and Schuster Children's Books.