|Emma Chichester Clark's PlumDogBlog|
I spent some of the bank holiday weekend sorting out the Trefusis bookshelves, trying to make room for new favourites by getting rid of those the Trefusii had grown out of. There are some books, of course, that have woven themselves so firmly into the Trefusis family history, we can't possibly part with them. Biscuit Bear was given to Trefusis Minor when he was born and, along with Where the Wild Things Are, was read to him almost every day for years and years until we both had all the words by heart. No Fighting, No Biting and Green Eggs and Ham have also survived the cull, as has a children's story by Ted Hughes called Shaggy and Spotty, The Tiger that Came To Tea, Mog the Forgetful Cat, all Roald Dahl, of course, and Emma Chichester Clark's 'I love you, Blue Kangaroo' which is now more sellotape than book, so loved has it been.
I'm delighted to hear that there's another Blue Kangaroo story coming in August, called 'Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo', but in the meantime, have a look at Emma Chichester Clark's adorable blog about the adventures of her dog, Plum. I can't wait to show the Plumdog Blog to The Tiniest Trefusis who is obsessed by dogs, particularly Belgian Waffling's whippet, The Weepette, with whom she spent her 'best holiday ever' and who has become, for the TT, the platonic ideal of dogs, the dog against which all other dogs are judged.
Other books the TT has enjoyed recently include The Astonishing Adventures of Awesome Man, by Michael Chabon (with lovely retro-style illustrations by Jake Parker) - it's a simple, agreeable story featuring a little boy whose alter-ego is Awesome Man, perfect for five year olds. She also liked the latest Judith Kerr - My Henry - in which an old lady daydreams about adventures with her late husband. I don't think it will become a permanent fixture on the Trefusis bookshelves, unlike Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea but My Henry would be a particularly good book buy if a grandparent or other elderly relative had died recently - it's sentimental without being at all mawkish and it allows one to have what can be quite a tricky conversation with a small child.
Getting Trefusis Minor to read for himself is incredibly hard - is this just him or are all eight year old boys reluctant readers? I've even bought him Beast Quest in an attempt to get him going. He loves being read to - we've been ploughing our way through the entire Harry Potter oeuvre since last November (now on book five, which feels like progress of sorts, though I can't help but wish the chapters were shorter) and I'm sneaking in my own childhood favourites like Emile and the Detectives and Professor Branestawm at bedtime too. I was beginning to despair that he would ever read independently (well, voluntarily) until he discovered the Tom Gates series, which he's zoomed through. I suppose it's because it's partly a kind of cartoon book - but I don't care, at least he is reading and has found a book that he enjoys.
Does anyone have any suggestions for other books that might capture the imagination of an eight year old boy? Or classics for five year old girls*?
*I will caveat this request- no princesses, nothing pink, and nothing in the Rainbow Fairy series. The TT loves the Rainbow Fairies with a passion, they make me lose the will to live.