Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: frozen

The children’s books that belong in room 101

I love books. Matilda and Henry love books. We have books in almost every room and if you sit down for more than 10 seconds you are likely to be handed a book to read. One of my very favourite things is reading a bedtime story to them. But sometimes I see Matilda walk around the corner carrying a book and my heart sinks, for in her hands is a book that is simply painful to read. A book that makes your ears bleed a little as you hear yourself reading it.

These books are destined to be lost very quickly, hidden in a bag at the back of the cupboard until you can get them out of the house and safely deposited at the charity shop where another lucky parent can experience the joy of reading them.¬†Or wrapped up and given as a present at the next birthday party you attend, although that is of course a risky strategy if presents are opened at the party and your child realises what you’ve done.

So ladies and gentlemen I submit to you here the books that I think deserve to be put into room 101:

Frozen Disney bookAll books published by Disney; I’d potentially go as far as to say that any book that started as a film and then became a book should be in this category. These books are just another piece of merchandise that good old Disney can sell us along with all the other tat. The strategy seems to be to summarise a whole film into 20 pages or so in a writing style of a primary school student and then throw in lots of colourful pictures. Matilda received a Frozen one for Christmas (of course) and it’s just dreadful which is amazing considering that the film is so good (maybe it’s the lack of singing in the book).

The whole collection of Mr Men books; one of my earliest memories is being primary school age and watching a Mr Men cartoon featuring Mr Strong and loving it. I think I might even have had a Mr Strong bag I loved it so much, but this is definitely one childhood memory that should stay in the past. When Matilda was old enough I quite excitedly sat down to read her her first Mr Men book, one of those big moments as a parent where you share something you love with your child. But the puzzled look on her face said it all, the story had no flow to it and didn’t really make sense. The prose certainly wasn’t a patch on Shirley Hughes or Roald Dahl.Mr Men, Thomas and Friends books

Any book with wee or poo in the title; or any bodily fluid for that matter, when I sit down to read a bed time story do I really want to describe a dinosaur pooping Christmas? I have no doubt that were Henry and Matilda 2 or 3 years older they would think all the mentions of poo hilarious, but this trend to make children’s books disgusting just feels like cheap laughs.

Thankfully the books we read regularly tend to be a little bit more sophisticated, things like The Ladybird heard and Alfie’s new boots, they’re the ones the children take off the bookshelf time and time again. What about you, what books would you put into room 101?

Daddy, I want to be a princess

When you take one small girl whose list of top 5 favourite things to do would include wear pretty dresses and play in the snow and introduce her to a film featuring both of those AND singing you end up with my life just now which is a constant loop of “DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN” sung very loudly and accompanied by swishing dresses (her not me).

Matilda in Princess dress

It also results in conversations like the one I had with her at the dinner table last weekend:

Matilda – Daddy? I’d like to dye my hair.

Me – *picks himself up off the floor* *panics, thought he had at least 10 years before having this conversation* Would you? What colour would you like to die it?

Matilda – I’d like it brown with a white bit at the front here

Me – *penny drops* you mean like Anna from Frozen?

Matilda – yes exactly

We’ve also had teenager like anguish that she wants to grow up so that her hair is longer (like Anna and Elsa) and demands that we plait her hair like Elsa’s. But that isn’t where the princess obsession stops, oh no! Her favourite book right now is called ‘a Royal fairytale’, it was a freebie from Britmums 2 years ago if I remember rightly and has been hidden away because I didn’t like it. It’s the story of William and Kate and she loves the pretty dresses and how they live happily ever after with a little baby called George (which incidentally is her favourite name for our baby).

I’m all for letting her choose what she wants to be in life and we’ve done our best to avoid gender stereotypes but I fear that the power of Disney and the classic fairytale has been too much this time. But on the positive side if you put Frozen on in the afternoon she’ll snuggle down on the sofa and fall asleep in less than 30 minutes. Strangely enough it seems to have the same effect on the lady of the manor too and while I’ve been on holiday this week has meant at least an hour of blissful peace as the only awake person in the house.

Matilda in dress and wellies

For now daddy’s little princess is going to be exactly that and I love it. I also love that while she loves her pretty dresses that she can swish in she also loves going for a walk to find the combine while wearing the dress paired with some wellies. Not entirely sure what that style is called but I like it. But I think I’d better start saving for all the Frozen themed presents she’s going to ask for for Christmas.