I’m beginning to suspect my 5 year old, Jason, of telepathy.
During a recent stealth-ninja room tidy (because if the kids are involved they want to keep every bit of tat that really should have gone to landfill-heaven ages ago), I shifted a number of books into a pre-jettison holding pattern, (I hid them under the bed). As it turns out, that was quite fortunate.
One of those books was ‘You Choose’, by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart. I admit I was moving it on, not so much because Jason had grown out of it, more that it hadn’t been mentioned for a while and I was hoping that out of sight might mean out of mind too.
How wrong I was.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book. In fact it’s a very good book, but sometimes the thought of reading a particular book one more time sends your brain into revolt. Your eyes start to glaze over, your limbs become leaden and you just cannot produce even a smidgeon of enthusiasm.
Let me start from the beginning.
Originally it was Frankie’s book. It was in the free ‘Bookstart’ pack that kids in the UK are given at age 2, and we quickly realised what a great book it is for adults to read with children.
Illustrated by Nick Sharratt in his instantly recognisable style, the first two page spread asks, ‘If you could go anywhere, where would you go?’ and as you look at the picture you see deserts, forests and oceans. Then as you look closer the detail becomes more apparent. There’s a city next to the ocean, a desert island in the middle of the sea, a castle on the clifftop, a tiny house in the woods, a spaceship heading for the moon. The picture opens up and you find yourselves debating whether to go somewhere together or to choose separate destinations and visit.
When you’ve exhausted those possibilities you turn to the next page (hint – don’t exhaust all the possibilities at once) and you’re asked who you’d choose for family and friends, a pirate? Father christmas? A ghost?
And so on.
It’s a brilliant interactive tool, not just for parent and child but also for children to explore together. You get different combinations each time and can make up your own adventures.
And Frankie loved it. She used to ask for it night after night after night…zzz…
Poor Jason. When it was his turn we just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm for it and it was regularly shuffled to the bottom of the pile.
Then, one night it occurred to me that this book might be a good example of the not-quite-so-good reading experiences.
About 30 seconds later, Jason asked for it.
I swear I wasn’t talking out loud, which leads me to ponder on the mind reading possibility – or (more likely) that kids have some kind of sixth sense that tunes into… hmmm, yes, that’s it – I don’t know quite what it is, but it’s that ability to come out with the very last thing you want them to say at the most inappropriate moment.
Needless to say, ‘You Choose’ has found it’s way back onto the bookshelf!