Michael Morpurgo explains where the idea for writing War Horse came from and why it’s so important to remember the suffering of the first world war
In February, the young readers in NPR’s Backseat Book Club read a pair of books: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. They were published 60 years apart but share similar themes about standing out, getting teased and being strong.
Created in 1971, the Mr Men books have been an important part of many childhoods. Inspired by the author’s son Adam, who one day inquired, ‘what does a tickle look like?’, the first character was born. Worldwide sales have exceeded 100 million, and today the brand is flourishing under its new owners. Stephanie Flanders, BBC economics editor, examines the appeal of Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men books and how these bold, colourful drawings and simple stories continue to capture children’s hearts. Stephanie takes a look at the Mr Men business and its growth over the years. She speaks to Adam Hargreaves, who tells the story behind the books and what inspired his father to create such a simplistic, yet hugely influential brand. Created in the humble surroundings of a small home office, the characters have reached a global audience, and they appeal to today’s children as much as they did to their 1970s counterparts.
Guardian Books podcast: Children’s books for Christmas, with Michael Rosen and Andy Stanton | Books | guardian.co.uk
Children’s books for Christmas, with Michael Rosen and Andy Stanton
Children’s editor Julia Eccleshare recommends books for Christmas, Andy Stanton reads the latest Mr Gum and Michael Rosen discusses the true meaning of Babar
* o o Share45 o Reddit o Buzz up * Presented by Claire Armitstead and produced by Tim Maby * guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 December 2010 16.17 GMT * Subscribe via iTunes * Download mp3 * Podcast feed URL
As the countdown to Christmas begins we look at some of the books that would make the best presents for children. We take personal tips from our Twitter followers, and get the expert view from Guardian children’s books editor Julia Eccleshare.
We find out how humour makes the words go down in an interview with Andy Stanton, author of the best-selling Mr Gum books, and we talk politics with the poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen, who explains why some books that we, as adults, remember with affection might not be right for the children of today.
Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton (Egmont, 8+) Mother Goose Treasury by Raymond Briggs, (Puffin, 0+) We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury (Walker, 2+) Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson and Emily Gravett (Macmillan, 3+) Aesop’s Fables retold by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Fulvio Testa (Andersen Press, 5+) Amazing Pop Up Machines by Robert Crowther (Walker, 6+) Wild Alphabet (Kingfisher, 6+) Alienology (Templar, 8+) Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (HarperCollins (9+) Letters from an Alien Schoolboy by Ros Asquith (Piccadilly, 9+)
Our tweeters recommend:
Persephone: A Journey from Winter to Spring by Sally Pomme Clayton and Virginia Lee (Frances Lincoln) Green Knowe series by Lucy M Boston (Faber) Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne (David Fickling) Ottoline at Sea by Chris Riddell (Macmillan) Dark Is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper (Bodley Head) Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff (OUP)