Friday 27 April 2018

ReadItDaddy's First Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 27th April 2018 - "I Do Not Like Books Any More!" by Daisy Hirst (Walker Books) @BIGPictureBooks

Our first Picture Book of the Week sees the return of Daisy Hirst's brilliantly busy little siblings Alphonse and Natalie for a second adventure - this time inside books!
Don't worry though, despite the title "I Do Not Like Books Anymore!" there's a lot of love for our favourite subject in this, and a lot of utterly brilliantly observed humour based around the way kids actually start to form a love for books, and how they feel when they take their first faltering steps into the world of reading themselves.

What I love about this is that Daisy has it absolutely bang on. Imagine for a moment if there was an incredible change in the way reading was taught in schools, using this book as the basis for showing how children's love of reading can be cruelly snuffed out right there, right at the start if they're only ever taught to learn in a fairly narrow way.

Natalie and her brother Alphonse really love books and stories. When Dad sits down to read to them (doing his silly voices, again very well observed Daisy!) they absolutely love all the silliness. When mum sits down to read with them, they love going on adventures in the pages.

Natalie cannot wait to learn to read herself, so when her teacher starts Natalie on her first book she's a bit shocked and dismayed to find that things start out a LOT simpler when you're tackling solo reading for the first time.

Natalie does not like this simple book about a cat, a cat who sits. "IS THAT IT?" she squeals. To her the words on the page look completely jumped and haphazard, and it's no better when she tries proper story books handed to her by her brother.

But her teacher and of course mum and dad explain that learning to read takes time and practice, just like learning to ride a bike or learning a musical instrument.

Alphonse still wants his big sister to read to him though, so Natalie comes up with a plan. She makes up the most brilliant story about an Elephant and a Caterpillar and a chicken farm, all off the top of her head. Alphonse loves the story so much that he wants her to write it down, and maybe even draw pictures for it. Thus begins a whole new adventure in reading and storytelling.

Oh my, I sincerely hope this book is a huge hit. It deserves to be because in so many ways it's like spinning the clock back to when C was a lot tinier, and was going through what Natalie did in this book herself. There were tears, there was frustration, there was a real dislike of the sort of books that she'd bring home from school but thankfully (with our encouragement) she persevered and now loves books more than ever.

A brilliant, brilliant book (and for would-be children's story writers, you could seriously get some great inspiration from some of Daisy's brilliant book titles worked into this story!)

C's best bit: Making up stories with Natalie and Alphonse.

Daddy's favourite bit: So utterly perfectly observed, such a great core message. Just absolutely fantastic stuff.

"I Do Not Like Books Anymore" by Daisy Hirst is out on 3rd May 2018, published by Walker Books (kindly supplied for review).