One of my favourite tales as a child was ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ I think I liked the idea of these magical little elves making shoes as big as themselves. As an adult I often find myself wishing some elves would come during the night & work magic on my never ending ‘to do’ list.
Part of my fondness for the story is tied up in the specific ladybird edition I read (I am intrigued by the change in illustrative & language style across the years for these ladybird editions, but that’s a post for another day) While I couldn’t share the same edition, the copy we have is much loved by Bryn and a perfect size for when out & about.
I recently picked up a copy of ‘The Real Fairy Storybook, Stories the fairies tell themselves’ by George Adams & Sally Gardner. A collection of 5 stories framed by a running conversation between a group of fairies sewing a ball gown for the Fairy Queen. I picked up this book as I loved the varied styles of illustration & while pink on the outside inside is a riot of colours, textures & attitude. The story Bryn is most fond of is ‘The Shoemaker & the Robber Elves’ a funny retelling of the Elves & the Shoemaker story where the Elves are the cause of the shoemakers misery by stealing all the shoes, luckily a fairy comes to the rescue for a happy ending.
I enjoy the magical fun quality elves & fairies can inject into stories especially with regards to scale and it seems Bryn does too. As this previous post shows Freya has also shown an early interest in Fairies.
Freya received a number of books for her first birthday which she has been testing to destruction.
Bryn & I chose ‘pop up peekaboo, things that go’ from our recent visit to the Seven Stories bookshop. I like this series of books with it’s bright colours & prominent use of familiar toys to set playful scenes. Each double page spread has a flap hiding a vehicle, which Freya likes to tug, and then pull, until the vehicle is in her hand. It’s a fun book to read with her as she squeals in delight when you lift the flap but not one to be left without some supervision otherwise you could return to a paper massacre.
Peppa Pig Birthday Suprise, is another lift the flap book but with a big red squidgey balloon at the start & end of the book. Freya enjoys lifting the flap, particulary the one uncovering ‘Dine-saw’, I suspect having a dinosaur obsessed brother has had an influence. The story itself, of Peppa desperate to open others presents on their birthday but being made to wait for her own, was ideal for Bryn who struggled with all the attention & presents Owen & Freya got.
Her ’10 little alphabet books’ are the perfect size for her little hands to flick though the pages & occasionally chew on. They are currently her distraction of choice when being changed. The books come in a handy box from which Freya enjoys decanting them, before scattering them around the room for me to trip over.
Freya also received a few cloth books. The Jungly Tails book by JellyCat is in the same series of Fishy tails, perfect for a teething baby. We also have an Usborne book called ‘Frog’ with a squeaker at the end, so far the bunny ears are a favourite for chewing on.
The way Freya treats these provides a good picture of her interaction with books. It often feels like she attacks them with scientific rigour, always pushing & pulling to see how far the books will bend to her will. When not pulling at the pages, she often chews them instead. But there are times when she happily sits for a while, amusing herself turning the pages & occasionally studying the pictures.
The stories within these books are of very little interest, but the mechanics and construction of the books are fascinating.