The school book fair. In theory it should be awesome: kids’ books on sale to drum up cash for books for the school. What’s not to like?
Except, have you seen the books they’re peddling? I’ve given up poring over the catalogue that appears in Toby’s school bag during book fair time. I find it pretty depressing that the selection on offer is usually dominated by film/tv/video game tie-ins, One Direction annuals and overpriced themed sticker books.
I get it, I really do. They need to sell books to raise money for books so a commercial focus is necessary. But, I think we’re doing our kids a disservice by assuming that the only way to engage them in reading is to plaster Frozen over some bound glossy paper to pass it off as a book.
I wouldn’t mind so much if some of these tie-in titles were actually of decent quality but so very often there is little attention paid to the quality of writing and an absence of any real narrative. It’s blatantly clear that they’ve been rushed through the production process to capitalise on the latest fad before it fades into bargain bin fodder.
So, I stayed out of the book fair this year, and gave Toby free rein to buy whatever book he wanted with his own pocket money. I didn’t have high hopes when I noted an order slip in his bag for a book called Predator 3D.
However, Predator 3D indeed turned up in his school bag this afternoon and I’m impressed.
It’s a glossy factual book published by Dorling Kindersley, which excel in children’s reference and non-fiction titles, full of well-written facts about predatory animals and some stunning photography. It’s fantastically produced.
Better still it comes with 3D glasses. Remember the red and blue type we got in the 1980s? Yip, those.
And when you put them on the creatures really do jump out at you. Freaky, as Toby would say.
So well done Toby, you’ve picked a book that is a worthy addition to your home library, and one that will see you through a few years too. Plus, we’ve helped raise cash for school books in the process, so everyone’s a winner. And not a One Direction annual in sight. Phew!