Many young children go through a block when they start to read for themselves and this can come from a variety of places and manifest in different ways.
In Daisy Hirst’s I Do Not Like Books Anymore it was partly because Natalie was struggling with the mechanics of reading, converting squiggles into sounds which is understandable and partially because the early books that accompany that process are mind numbingly boring compared to the fantastic array of fiction that children will have enjoyed through read aloud picture books before. The latter was certainly the case that we faced with Littlefae who adored books and wanted to read but flat out refused to read Biff, Chip & Kipper and similar Cat sat on the Mat style books. Luckily we had the privilege of being able to work with her needs and pace and by doing so she now reads beautifully and passionately at a level that makes my heart sing.
But what about the children who don’t make that step? What about the children who think books are boring possibly due to the diet of reading material they have been fed learning to read that puts them off picking up a book for pleasure?
THAT child is Mabel, and Emma Perry and Sharon Davey have brought a reluctant reader to life and a love of books with humour and wonder.
Mabel is sick and tired of all these books. Books for presents, books for surprises, sometimes just for anything. Nope, Mabel does not like books and sees nothing useful in all these piles other than as step ladders and sledges!!
But soon enough, the books have had enough and hatch a plan to help Mabel realise there is much more to a book, it just takes finding one that captures your imagination.
I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End has brought a lot of entertainment & thought to our house. Littlefae and Tinyfae as huge lovers of books and stories were horrified that Mabel didn’t just dislike books but that she did terrible things to them- although there was a little blushed face at the standing on books to reach things from Tinyfae!
They were absolutely delighted when the books decided to show Mabel how great they can be if she took a chance, and loved the idea of the stories speaking to Mabel to make her interested enough to turn the pages and it has been a really inspiring read each time generating lots of discussion about why we like the books we do.
The artwork by Sharon Davey is lovely with it’s soft dreamy, pencil feel throughout, bringing a warm and comforting feel to the action, which possibly may be a little scary for younger more sensitive children! I especially liked the way the background changed tone to a creamy paperback pages tint colour when Mabel is drawn into the books, it’s subtle but a very clever distinction.
I feel this picture book has a broad appeal, and could easily spark inspiration and activities in children older than the typical picture book age range, in fact in an educational setting could be used across age groups or even as a whole school initiative say for World Book Day.
‘Persuading Mabel’ with the Fae
I was hugely inspired by I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End seeing a range of ideas to tease out skills with the girls. One of the things that kept popping up for me was the persuasive element, how each book persuades Mabel to read it alongside both Fae’s love of the section where Mabel is inside her books.
So after a reading of the book, armed with pencils, paper and some favourite books from the shelves the girls chose a book that they love that Mabel could be pulled into so they could recreate their own pages and persuade Mabel to read that book too!
Tinyfae chose her current favourite Amelia Fang by Laura Ellen Anderson which prompted her first drawing of faces with limbs! Whilst Littlefae wanted to do The Gorblimey from Skeleton Keys by Guy Bass and Pete Williamson and then as she was warmed up was excited to then try Picklewitch from Picklewitch & Jack by Claire Barker and Teemu Juhani.
There’s definitely lots of potential for children to gain from this book, from simple discussion of what kind of books they like and to compare and contrast with each other, to create display work for home or classrooms about favourite books or indeed use it as an alternative form of reviewing books; to create a picture that represents the book and a short few sentences to sum it up. This is a book that I know I will be able to return to again and again.
Overall, I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End is a wonderful book to encourage a love and a curiosity about books and I thoroughly recommend it to parents, educators, librarians and so on to explore Mabel’s story and to help children find the stories that inspire them to pick up a book.
I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End by Emma Perry and Sharon Davey is published by David Fickling Books.
Thank you so much for our early review copy 💜