This is not a sponsored post in any way. My lovely Twitter mate, Andrew Butler, AKA @designcredo, wanted to share it and thought it would sit better on Mediocre Mum than his communications blog and I have to agree!
I heard something on the radio the other day suggesting that, possibly contrary to what one might expect, children actually learn more from reading the same story time and time again. I have a friend who’s daughter used to listen to the same tape of Stephen Fry reading of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy every single night. Now, I am no longer lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of Le Fry from a nearby room but I guess it still happens.
I suppose I once fitted into the category of ‘boys with literacy concerns’, I never read comfortably as a child and now find myself slightly envious of those who can lose themselves in books. But there were some childhood havens and to this day I am never far from a copy of Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas and Silly Verse For Kids, Spike Milligan.
Although very, very different there are similarities to be found in these two books. Firstly, and most importantly they are both really thin. When the Penguin or Puffin book clubs came to the North Kesteven Grammar we all had to choose a book. I chose the thinnest and these books have been with me since my school days.
Beyond physical characteristics though, common to both books, there is a delight in words that, although expressed very differently is nevertheless very apparent.
Last night, not for the first time, my daughter’s bedtime ended in tears. The tears were tears of laughter (mine), I was trying to read Nice Doggie by Spike Milligan.
My neighbours have a barking dog
Bow wow wow wow wow
A little black French poodle dog
Le Bow Le Bow Le Wow!
For me laughter at a child’s bedtime is about as good as it can get.
The Milligan thing has now been passed down the line. We used to read from my old version of Silly Verse For Kids but, like me, it is ageing and falling apart. At Christmas I went to Waterstones and asked if they could still get the book. Yes they could, but as an alternative I was introduced to ‘A Children’s Treasury of Milligan’ (Virgin). This lovely book contains stories, poems and even comes with a CD of Spike reading the poems. The best thing is that all this can be had for a frankly ridiculous £8.97 on Amazon but if you can’t wait go to a shop, now.
Around that time, as a result of this find I mentioned the Silly Verse poems on Twitter. There was a tremendous response, from adults who, like me, still treasured these words.
So go get the book, but be warned, there may be tears at bedtime.