Do you ever hear a piece of news about someone you admire but don’t know and you’re SO happy for them, like they’re your best mate or a family member? Well, that just happened to me when I read the news that the artist and children’s book writer Oliver Jeffers and his wife Suzanne have just had a baby boy, called Harland.
This is a man who understands children. His books are about friendships, loss, adventure, not being afraid to stand out, and the general ridiculousness of life. His illustrations are beautiful, and instantly recognisable. AND he grew up in Belfast. You can probably tell I’m a huge fan. If you’re not reading his books to your wee ones, you should be.
That is one lucky kid right there – just imagine the bedtime stories he’s going to enjoy.
This is one of our current library books and it’s an absolute gem:
Written by the always reliable Julia Donaldson, with lovely illustrations by Rebecca Cobb, it tells the story of a little girl who’s mummy helps her make some paper dolls, and then the paper dolls have a big adventure. I don’t want to spoil the story but if, as a mother, you don’t well up reading the last few pages, THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU.
The dolls are called Ticky and Tacky, Jackie the Backie, Jim with two noses and Jo with the Bow. Little B instantly fell in love, and the morning after we first read it as a bedtime story, she had me cut out some doll figures, painted them, and named them Jimmy and Pokey, Curazozo, and Fred. (She has a way with made-up names).
They’ve since gone on to acquire girlfriends, with skirts, but their names seem to change every time I ask her about them and are also in some weird toddler language, so forgive me for not sharing them:
We loved this book. It’s beautifully written and illustrated, has just enough pathos to stop it being overly sweet, and the ending WILL make you choke up. It is still being read every night, my voice is still going funny those last few pages, and there are still paper dolly chains being painted. It’s a lovely book and a lovely activity all in one. What more could you ask for?