As a kid I was in to everything from Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles to Ghostbusters and Thunderbirds but the thing I always loved the most was to read. Back in those days I would sit for hours silently devouring any book that was given to me and surprisingly not much has changed now that I’m an adult. I like to think I will always be asking that question, ‘And what happened next?’ and I have people like Judith Kerr to thank for this.
The best thing about kids books (and yes I still read kids books now because they truly are the most incredible things) was and is, all the amazing pictures. Do you remember those days when you were wowed with every page turn and no matter how many times you’d read it, the pictures still set your imagination on fire?
Whether it was in Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile where the crocodile is pretending to be a see-saw or when Things 1 and 2 go bananas in The Cat In The Hat, you would laugh, you would shout and sometimes you’d be shocked but all the while you’d be riveted.
One of my personal favourite books as a child was Burglar Bill.
Much to the chagrin of my parents, there once was a time when, if asked what did I want to be when I grew up, the answer would come back, a burglar.
More than once my parents found me with a pillow case over my shoulder filled with oddities. A block of cheese… I think I’ll have that. Dad’s work shoe… I think I’ll have that. The family dog… and so on. Such was the power of that book on me.
Another favourite book of mine was The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
For anyone who doesn’t know, The Tiger Who Came To Tea is exactly that, a tiger turns up at the door and invites himself in for dinner. This title alone threw up all sorts of wonderful questions to my childhood brain. ‘Why would a tiger turn up at your house?‘ ‘Why would it ask to have dinner…? Surely you’d be the dinner!’ As a kid this was exactly the kind of story that I had to stick my head in to and not surface for hours.
The reason I talk about this is because the author and illustrator of The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Judith Kerr turned 90 today.
From fleeing Nazis as a child to enchanting generations of children and being awarded an OBE, Kerr is a truly remarkable lady whom you should definitely read up on if you get the chance. Here’s a link to her bio on her publisher’s page if you’re interested.
Happy Birthday Judith Kerr. Thank you for making my childhood a brighter one and for helping to instill a love of books inside me.