And as many great picture books there are out there, Julia Donaldson has always been a firm favourite in our house. So today, I thought I'd write a bit about her but also about the effect her books have had on the boys and me.
I actually really love the sound of Julia Donaldson's life so far - growing up in a house full of family in London then going off to university. Spending time busking with her husband in different places. Which leads to a career in song-writing and writing books. It sounds such fun and very creative. Until June 2013, Julia is the current Children's Laureate, championing libraries and reading aloud. She encourages children to act out stories and perform, as well as linking music with books.
Then of course, is The Gruffalo. It is a favourite of both boys. They love the rhyme that comes with a Julia Donaldson story and I find the illustrations by Axel Sheffler to really stand out. The Littlest had a Gruffalo birthday cake recently, we've all sat and watched the BBC adaptation on the telly (of both The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child) and both boys can recite The Gruffalo by heart. I love that. The Gruffalo character really seemed to inspire E. In the same way that he's been interested in Roald Dahl's books and Dr. Seuss' books, E was first excited and inspired by Julia Donaldson.
There's a local theatre company who regularly puts on plays based on children's books and a few years ago we took the boys to see their production of Room on the Broom and it has quickly become MY favourite of her books. It's just so much fun to read. I'm not normally one for putting on different voices for different characters (that's N's speciality!) but even I get into the spirit with this book and put on a voice for the dragon as he decides to have witch and chips for his tea. It was a wonderful thing seeing this book performed live and I don't know why we haven't thought about acting out more of our favourite stories with just our little family. It'd be lots of fun!
I always have great fun reading her stories. We have nearly all of them, A Squash and a Squeeze, Tiddler, Charlie Cook's Favourite Book, and on and on and on...
To find out more about Julia Donaldson, please visit Julia Donaldson's official website.
Do you have a favourite Julia Donaldson book? Or a favourite picture book?