Guest editor

Jamie, A Day In The Life Dad

A dad/climbing frame/ponytail fixer/train track builder to Edie and Arlo and also an award winning blogger! Jamie won Best Baby Blog at the MAD Awards 2016 (Mums and Dads Blog Awards).

www.adayinthelifedad.com

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Jamie, A Day In The Life Dad

Q&A

What attracts you to a book?

What, you mean apart from a 2-for-1 deal or an aesthetically pleasing bookshop display? Usually a decent review, whether that’s in the media or through word of mouth. Plus, in the last year or so, I’ve also found myself checking out certain titles off the back of praise from like-minded Instagram accounts. Amazing how easily swayed I am by a flat-lay that includes a book and a steaming coffee!

Who are your favourite children’s authors and/or illustrators?

As I’m sure is the same in a zillion cosily lit bedrooms around the world each night, Julia Donaldson’s brilliant characters and Axel Scheffler’s exciting drawings often become part of our bedtime routine.

The perfect rhyme provides a good tempo and makes the tales memorable. Thanks to this, my daughter Edie (4-years-old) can recite a lot of them word for word - to a bystander (not that there should be a bystander at bedtime!) it might appear that we have an incredibly advanced reader! The familiarity is great plus we love searching for the small Gruffalo hidden away in Scheffler’s animation.

I also have a soft spot for Stéphanie Blake, author of Poo Bum – who wouldn’t like someone who wrote that book?! FART! Plus, I really like Sophy Henn and her Pom Pom books. Her stories are charming and her illustrations are so expressive.

Are there any characters in children’s books you have read that you would like to be friends with or be? Why?

Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake. He’s one cool dude right? In his electric blue penguin jacket, bombing along on his scooter. I love his eccentricity but also his sheer joy at the end when he receives his new boot. What a guy.

How do you choose books for Edie and Arlo to read?

Edie usually picks her own these days. Like most young children, the draw tends to be an exciting front cover or a character she recognises, but thankfully she has varied tastes so it’s not all princesses and tiaras. Actually, come to think of it, it’s rarely princesses and tiaras, it’s more likely to be raging dinosaurs or wild monstrous beasts with her.

When it comes to Arlo, his favourite thing to do is point out animals or objects in books. He’s just moving away from those ‘baby’s first words’ books now and moving towards short stories or pop-up books (thankfully he’s getting past the stage where every pop-up tab is savagely torn out!). I’ve been reading short stories like Postman Bear (Donaldson/Scheffler – again!) and Dear Zoo (Rod Campbell) to him, plus he loves the ‘That’s Not My… ‘ series by Fiona Watt/Rachel Wells.

What have been Edie and Arlo (and your) favourite 5 children’s reads of 2017 so far?

We get through a lot of books (Edie has two per night), but these are five we’ve been coming back to a lot over the last couple of months:

David Litchfield

The Bear and the Piano

Laura Ellen Anderson

Snappy Birthday

Chris Wormell

Ferocious Wild Beasts

Rosie Reeve

Rory and the Monstersitter

Tracey Corderoy/Steven Lenton

Shifty McGifty and Slipper Sam – The Diamond Chase

 

Do you have a favourite children’s book you go back to time and time again? What do you think it is about this book that you enjoy so much?

I still love The Gruffalo despite reading it well over seven million times. I’ve noticed bit of a social media backlash towards Julia Donaldson. Perhaps we should be spending our money on up and coming authors who don’t rake in millions each year like she does, but I enjoy this famous tale, and most importantly, so does Edie. Aside from the rhyme and memorable brains versus brawn tale, the characters and their words are perfect for the worst accents I can muster. Just good fun on so many levels.

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