Thursday, 12 September 2013

Lola's Modern Classic

Charlie and Lola have a very special space on the Evie's Books bookshelf. Over the years I've found myself captivated by the two children, first from the TV series and then from the books. Whenever there is a Charlie and Lola book in the house, it's always top of the reading pile for both girls.

I have a particular fondness for Charlie. Yes, Lola is cute and funny and charming but Charlie is a really great big brother. I love that he has so much compassion for his sister, and that he finds gentle solutions to problems, even if he gets quite cross at first. I will not ever Never eat a Tomato is Charlie's solution to getting Lola to eat her dinner; faced with a long list of foods that Lola won't eat, he comes up with the trick of making the food exotic and tempting. Mash is cloud fluff, peas are green drops and carrots are orange twiglets from Jupiter. It's siblings without (a lot of) rivalry; it's fantastic to have a role model of an older sibling for Abigail who really struggles with being the big sister. Maybe she should adopt the mantra, 'what would Charlie do'!

Both girls are captivated by Charlie and Lola books, and especially love finding the little treats that Lauren Child hides in her illustrations. There are always squeals of delight when the see the pea with Lola's eyes, and they have great fun counting through the list of food that Lola won't eat. Abigail would like every one to please note that Lola will eat cucumbers, because cucumbers ROCK.

I'm always fascinated by the way that the words are laid out in a Lauren Child book. The words come in different sizes, some words are in bold, some are not. Sometimes the words wind round the pictures instead of sitting by themselves in a block in a corner or at the bottom of the page. I spend a great deal of time over-analysing what this could mean. I won't go on about it for hours, but I will say this: anything that makes language vibrant and alive for both adults and children is a good thing. For a child like Abigail who just is not keen on reading, seeing her follow the words around the page and engage with them in a way she never does with school reading books is a pure joy.

Long live Charlie and Lola.

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