Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Back to school with Mr Duvet Slug

"The Big Jump!"
We've only recently discovered the books of Rebecca Patterson in our house but she already has become a firm favourite. Last week I <ahem> accidentally found myself in Foyles and <ahem> accidentally found a copy of "Not On a School Night". Mr E. (age 6) immediately opened it up and started reading it and the bookseller had to scan it while he was reading it as he wasn't going to stop- he was laughing too much. All the way home he was reading it over and over while walking down the street and when we picked Mr S. (age 3) up from nursery he looked through it in his buggy and the two of them laughed, and laughed and laughed!

It was this page that made all of us laugh the hardest and it has been staged most nights in their bedroom ever since....

Mr S Duvet Slug

We've only had another one of Patterson's books "My Big Shouting Day!" for a few months but it has become such a part of our lives now that all you have to say is "Mr S. was having a Big Shouting Day" and everyone knows exactly what you mean.

What is so brilliant about Patterson's work is the humour and the depth of insight- you instantly identify with the situations in these books and they are seen as ridiculous and hilarious by both child and parent alike. Being able to laugh at these points of family tension and at yourself is a very important lesson for us all. I love the look on the face of the mum in the photo above- that is exactly how I feel when I have to deal with bedtime shenanigans. At the end of the book there's a double page spread depicting "Saturday morning"- tired parents in pyjamas, a house covered in toys, boys leaping everywhere. Picture books that so accurately depict family life are reassuring.

There aren't many picture books that portray temper tantrums in the way that "My Big Shouting Day" does and yet they are such a part of the lives of young children, parents, early years teachers and long suffering siblings and they can be very stressful for everyone involved. Alfie's little sister Annie Rose has a memorable tantrum in "Annie Rose Is My Little Sister" by the incredible Shirley Hughes and last night when I was reading Helen Cooper's "Delicious" we noticed that the duck throws one over the flavour of the soup. Mr S. had a Big Shouting Day a few weeks ago and Mr E. and I were able to joke about it by quoting lines from Patterson's book. This definitely helped us get through the day and strangely enough Mr S. stopped at one point mid-scream and joined in with "I have a hurting foot!". It didn't stop him carrying on with the scream of course but he knew, and we knew that he knew that he was being ridiculous and this did genuinely help!

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