However I also think it’s important for kids to own books, so that they can revisit them independently or at different stages of their lives, and sometimes libraries can have a limited selection so it’s easy to get stuck in a reading rut. So, I thought it was about time I treated Toby to a new book, and since I work across the road from a rather fabulous children’s bookshop (Blackwells, Edinburgh) I had no excuses not to.
I love disappearing into the bookshop during my lunch break. I treat it as a real sanctuary, mentally bookmarking all the titles I’d like to read.
We’ve just waded our way through The World Cup: A Very Peculiar History and I was keen to return to fiction for Toby. The choice was overwhelming and I was faced with lots of authors and books I’d simply never heard of. Many of the books had similar covers – bold and bright graphics that didn’t really appeal to my more mature tastes! In the five to eight age bracket humour is a strong feature but I was looking for a really strong story with memorable characters and nothing was jumping out at me.
I considered Flat Stanley, a book I remember from childhood but I was genuinely worried that Toby would be a bit distressed at the thought of a boy being flattened (I’m not being overprotective; he has form with characters getting harmed).
I settled in the end on Eoin Colfer’s The Legend of the Worst Boy in the World. Toby is a Horrid Henry fan so I thought this might also appeal, and I’m aware of Colfer’s reputation as a children’s author so I felt secure that we’d see some quality writing.
I made a good choice. Toby was delighted when I brought the book home and eager for us to make a start. So far I’ve really enjoyed the writing style and the vividly drawn characters, and think this is going to be an enjoyable bedtime story. After reading football facts every night, it’s a real pleasure to be reading fiction again.