Your book choice this week has been brought to you courtesy of my freakish sense of humour and love of trying to get free stuff.
The parental selection is The Night Rainbow by Claire King
I was sent this free by the lovely people at The Reading Agency – an organisation dedicated to getting people, especially children, to read more, appreciate libraries and sing the praises of books and writers. I do all of those things. Anyway, the Reading Agency sent 10 copies for my reading group and it was this month’s choice. It was a pleasant undemanding read, nice enough but perhaps not as dramatic as the author was hoping? The book is narrated by six year old Pea, a french girl growing up in the countryside following the death of her father and, we learn, the death of a baby. Her mother, heavily pregnant with a third child, is clearly suffering from grief, depression and general exhaustion and Pea is left to play with Margot and Claude. Who are Margot and Claude? Well, I’ll leave you to find out. Stories narrated by children can be irritating but their main flaw is usually that the child, for the sake of the story has to be more perceptive than they would actually be at that age (if that makes sense) and this is the case here. Nevertheless I was prepared to overlook that as she’s a charming narrator and because my soppy heart felt for her so much when there were lines that betrayed just how lonely she was and how much she needed her mum to cuddle her.
Yeah I know. I don’t know what’s happened to me either.
E’s choice this week is a family favourite. We were given it by a friend who remembered me saying what a fabulous title it had and how I found the title alone to be amusing.
My sister had a counting book when she was little that my mum got so sick of reading out loud – she can still quote it by heart. “One little bee, all alone, flew around looking for home.” This is in a similar vein. One hippo is lonely and calls two hippos, three turn up then four and so on up to nine whereupon they have a party “ALL THE HIPPOS GO BERSERK!” and then they all leave back down to one again. The illustrations are simple but full of warm humour and character and the line where I read them going berserk always makes E smile (though that could the mad way I read it to her.) Berserk is a word that we should definitely bring back into fashionable use.