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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Bear, A Sarah, A Duck, Some Penguins and a Caterpillar

November 25 2014

My mum was a big fan of teddy bears and she's passed it on. Her favourite was Sooty, Linus was a brief fan of the current show but it was a little unsophisticated for him. I think the Anne Widdecombe cameo was the last straw for him! My childhood was very Rupert heavy, I remember reading through all the books in about a week. Paddington Bear was another much loved character, the very charming TV series narrated by Michael Hordern was excellent. Linus hasn't yet seen that version and we're not too sure if the new film is suitable but we have a few of the books.

Paddington: The original story of the bear from Peru is, I believe, the first story taken from Michael Bond's original 1958 book, "A Bear Called Paddington". It's been put into picture book form, presumably as an update for today's market, or so they could get half a dozen books out of one. We read this one quite rarely, it's way too long and a little old for Linus. There are some shorter picture books of Paddington now available but they were passably ok, rather than anything exceptional. The story is lovely and Linus listens attentively. R. W. Alley's illustrations are entertaining too, so plenty to keep him occupied. I do like to see how much he's taking in, it seems like this is a good one for testing when he'll be ready to listen to longer stories.

Linus has two favourite shows, Bing and Sarah & Duck.  Bing started life as books and progressed to TV and Sarah & Duck did it the other way around. Linus' current favourite S&D episode is one where they recreate Duck's computer game in their garden. How cool is that as a message? You can sit and play on your computer or we can recreate it in a fun way outside, awesome. Sarah Gomes Harris is the creator of S&D and is the author of Sarah and Duck meet the Penguins. It is very much a version of the TV episode, unlike the Bing books based on the TV show, this feels very much like it has just been pulled from that. Linus really enjoys it but I don't think it adds much from the show as a reading book. I can't imagine anyone who hasn't seen the TV series being enthralled by the book.

Finally, for the first time in this blog we read an Eric Carle book. I don't dislike Carle but I do think he phones it in for some of his books. I can read Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon or Big Red Barn over and over but Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother Too gives me the irrits (as the Australians would say!) after a couple of reads. Carle's most famous work is  The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Linus likes to "pop" at the right time and he can get most of the food items now, especially pickle. It is a thoroughly charming book, I don't really get why it is so overwhelmingly popular and why it has spin offs wherever you look. It's a little bit older than me and I'm fairly sure I was unfamiliar with it before Linus came around, so whether it is slowly infecting the UK or I just missed it, I don't know. I guess it's one of those books that every generation will have. I guess with a change of food stuffs here and there it will never date.

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