Why are kids’ books universally woke?

6 Mar

When I was a child and was dragged along to church against my will, I would occasionally fight the boredom by reading the small picture books they had lying around. They told the stories of the saints of the Catholic Church. It wasn’t quite The X-Men, but reading about St Patrick banishing the snakes or […]

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What should I read my son?

6 Mar

For World Book Day my son, who is six, dressed as Dennis the Menace. Last year, our electrician gave us 200 copies of the Beano — in his forties, I suppose he felt ready to give them up. Dennis is my son’s platonic ideal. His ultimate ambition is to be a menace, and he has […]

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The modern world doesn’t belong in kids’ books

4 Mar

If you look at the iconography of writing for children — from the very first A B C wallchart you Blu-Tak to the nursery wall — there’s something very odd about it indeed. A is for aeroplane, and like as not you’ll see something with a propeller on its nose. T is for train, and there, […]

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Why are children’s books so ugly?

3 Mar

The best way to learn what someone really believes is to watch what they teach their children. For every ten middle-class families who pay lip service to the idea that manners are an outdated, classist construct, nine will still teach their children to use a knife and fork and say ‘Thank you for having me’. […]

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Children’s literature has lost the plot

2 Mar

A new era is dawning in my home: my youngest child is on the brink of coming out of nappies. Eight and half years since my first encounter with Pampers, my relationship with absorbent undergarments is finally coming to an end, at least until I hit my dotage. The only downside is a horrific book […]

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