I am so terribly excited. In early December this year I am to become a grandma!!!! My daughter Elinor and her husband Craig are expecting their first baby. Of course, as soon as I heard the news my thoughts turned to literary associations. If this baby really wants to get off to a good start with its grandmother, it will arrive on 16 December (Jane Austen’s birthday). And I’d love little Jane or little Austen to be given a nice literary name – not that I have any say at all in the matter, but one can always hope.
I have already given the baby its first present – a book! The one I chose was one of the very best books for young children – Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The story is charming, but as well as entertaining a young reader, it also teaches counting, the life cycle of the caterpillar, the days of the week, and a range of food types. Did you know that there is an Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts? Eric Carle, who founded the museum, was the author and illustrator of over 70 books for children. It was the first full-scale museum in the USA devoted to picture book art. And just recently the world’s first Dr Seuss Museum opened. It is in his home town of Springfield, Massachusetts and is very interactive.
But there are so many fabulous stories to teach little ones a delight in books. I will be buying my grandchild many old favourites – The Story of Miss Moppet, Dear Zoo, Hairy Maclary, Where’s Spot, Green Eggs and Ham, Crictor the Boa Constrictor, Horton Hatches the Egg, Are You My Mother?, Little Black Sambo (not a p.c. book these days, but kids love it), Where the Wild Things Are, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Possum Magic, and so many more.
The knitting needles are out, I’m looking at baby clothes in shops with a whole new interest, and I have been giving some thought to grandparents in literature. Which ones are good and kind, which ones are horrid?
My latest Literary Snapshot, Grandparents in Literature, will update you on the good, eccentric, neglectful and the horrid literary grandparents. Click here to purchase for only $3.00 to download and print at home. This fascinating look at grandparents comes with a recommended reading list to help you enjoy discovering Grandparents in Literature. How many can you name?
I think you’ll enjoy it. You might even be able to send me suggestions of other fabulous or ghastly grandparents who appear in fiction.
Are you a grandparent? Do you have books you especially love to read your grandchildren? Tell me by leaving a comment.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Story of Miss Moppet by Beatrix Potter
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Crictor the Boa Constrictor by Tomi Ungerer
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs
Possum Magic by Mem Fox
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