In March, we received a particularly cheering letter from someone we didn’t know: Melanie Stephens is three year-old Hugo’s mum, and she said:
“We are writing to you to say thank you for Pip and Posy!
I have a three year-old called Hugo and he is a massive fan of these books. The illustrations are brilliant, but the stories!
They are so simple, but really go to what little babbas are worried about: the early beginnings of friendships; leaving your favourite toy behind; learning to compromise and share; potty training… Amazing! Absolutely amazing!
My son loves them. Our favourite is ‘The Big Balloon’ – the way it’s resolved with bubbles and the wording is just perfect.
To us, there’s nothing on the market that is anything like Pip and Posy, and we recommend the books to other mums all the time. Hugo began to read them from two years-old and they seemed perfectly suited for his age. We love that every book ends in “Hooray!”, and we cheer and smile each time we read them.
So thank you for putting books like this out there. They are fantastic!”
As a publisher, this is just the most fantastic feedback. We put so much time and energy into making each of the books we publish and we are truly motivated in our task by the idea of the children (and their parents or carers, teachers and librarians) enjoying them, and, we hope, loving them and reading them again and again.
As well as sharing this with Axel Scheffler and Camilla Reid who work on these books together, I called Melanie to thank her for the letter, and we spoke together about the importance of sharing books with children from the earliest stage. I asked her to share some of her thoughts about reading aloud with us as part of a blog post. This is what she wrote:
“I think that the greatest gift you can give a child is the joy of reading. And the best time to start is at the beginning. As soon as my children were born, they had a cloth book and a bath book: you’d be amazed how early babies can turn a page! A favourite with all three of my children was Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. The rhyming repetitive words create a natural melody, speaking to a baby’s love of music. The child also recognises one of the most instinctive game parents play with their babies: peek-a-boo. Every book you read with them benefits your children. Books with large flaps encourage independence as children grapple with them themselves; books with textures encourage the baby to explore the world around them; and one of the best series for 2-4 year olds is Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler. Each Pip and Posy story seems simple but is completely relatable to little toddlers and is presented in such a fun and friendly way.
Books are more available than ever before whether you buy them or borrow them. It has never been easier to share that special moment with your child. Turn off the world and share the experience together. Laugh at the funny bits, feel sad when things go wrong, and cheer with the “hoorays” at the end. Have fun with stories and your child will want to hear them again and again. Take books with you wherever you go, and you will give them a love that will last a lifetime.”
Thanks to Melanie and to Hugo, pictured above.
Here’s to stuffed and varied bookcases of loved books like Hugo’s.
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