Top Reads 2016
King Baby by Kate Beaton (Walker Books)
The Dear One @BIGpicturebooks put this terrific book in my hand on a recent visit to Walker Books HQ. I’ve never seen a poor Walker book so I happily accepted, along with a slice of the wonderful cake she’d bought in for our meeting.
D, Anton, Cake and books at Walker
But I didn’t read it until the following weekend when my family was visiting and I thought, ‘I’ll try it out on Chester.’
Chester is five and has a tiny baby sister, Agnes.
I’ve only once or twice* seen a book read with such appetite. We stayed there, where we started, on the kitchen floor, reading it once, twice, three times, each time Chester’s eyes seemed held, almost despite himself, to the pages, his body shuddering with small laughter. It was the uneasy, rather adult, laughter of surprised recognition.
Yes, they do adore you!
And yes! Babies do demand a lot of their attention!
And – hmm, yes, the gap of consciousness between me and those misunderstanding adults!
And – huh – what a lots of mess a baby makes!
And I, mother of two and grandmother of four, was laughing too. That maniacal ego! That utterly preoccupying determination to be more, oh, I recognised it all right. Six times my offspring over I recognised it.
Kate Beaton has made a tremendous book, a real contender for this reader’s no.1 Book of the Year spot. Especially good for exhausted parents expecting their second baby, but everyone with any kind of memory of anyone’s early childhood will recognise this all too human, all too fleeting human reality. Top read!
*I have written about one of those reading occasions in The Reader magazine and will reprint it here sometime.