It is our delight to introduce the first, but definitely not last, guest post by Rachael Rogan. Storytime storyteller, book enthusiast and all-round cool cookie. In celebration of National Childrens' Book Week, (7th-11th October.) here Rachael talks about her long answer to the question 'what is your favourite childrens' book?'. If you have a favourite, or indeed a similarly hard time picking your favourite book (childrens' or otherwise) and you would like to contribute to this new Storytime category on our blog, please do get in touch. (firstname.lastname@example.org) My daughter is going through a ‘phase’. It’s quite frustrating. When faced with a decision-making challenge she will go from a wobbly “What do you think?” to “I don’t know what to do!!! WAIL”. In the time it takes for me to realize it was probably an error to give her a choice between pizza or sausages lentil lasagne or home-made shepherd’s pie, she has entered a full scale tailspin from which it is near-impossible to haul her. The paralysis by analysis is quite startling. This comes fairly close to my reaction when asked to talk about my favourite children’s book. For those of you who are unaware of my obsession healthy appreciation of books, they play a fairly important role in my life. I suspect the near-translucent quality of my delicate epidermis is due to the hours I spent ignoring my mother’s pleas to “put that book down, come outside and get some sunshine” during my formative years. There are so many books that could potentially seize that title – how to choose?
Do I choose ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’? The book I discovered as a small child in my local library, but secretly issued for many years, although I had ‘allegedly’ outgrown it? The book I made my nephew learn by rote to recite at his pre-school class when I had no children of my own? The book I bought ‘for my daughter’ a minute after she was born? The book I already read to my son because of the ‘rhyme and repetition (Plum pie in the sun, I spy everyone!) that is appealing to young children’?
How about ‘The Gnome from Nome?’
The book bought for me as a Christmas present by my aunt in America? At a time before the Internet, before email, when my contact with my (enormous) family in the States was limited to those tissue-thin airmail sheets that you licked to seal them, and a crackly phone call once a year late in the evening to try to find a suitable time that met the requirements of both time zones? A book that represented the physical reality of an almost mythical family?
Or do I go for ‘A Necklace of Raindrops’ (written by Joan Aitken, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski)? A book I still recall buying on a whim from a church fair at my Grandma’s place of worship? A book I cherished dearly, lost (perhaps, my bedroom at my mum’s house is kind of a monument to my inability to throw anything away, so it could be underneath one of the countess piles of, well, stuff), sought for many years in my adult life, found on ebay, and can sometimes be found stroking in a not at all creepy way? The book that prompted me to buy the Tiffany Elsa Peretti crystal teardrop necklace because it looked like a necklace with a raindrop on it?
Emotion is great. But Tiffany is sparkly. So I pick ‘A Necklace of Raindrops’. Because it wins on my ‘OhMyGodILoveBooks’ level and also my ‘IGetToBuyTiffanyStuff’ level. I think you’ll agree, that’s a damn fine way of avoiding a decision-making crisis. Maybe I need to find a way of incorporating expensive jewelry into mealtimes…