Simon and Gaspard

Children (and indeed adults) often name pets after their favourite characters in books. As a child my rabbits were (rather obviously) Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontails and, if she’d been a boy, I would have really liked our dog to be named Timmy. A generation on and Mollie has her own rabbits and full freedom and responsibility for naming them. Beatrix Potter is still very much loved in this household and Flopsy and Mopsy or Peter and Benjamin were a very real option. But Mollie’s love for the anarchic and quirky has led to the arrival of Simon and Gaspard. Or PooBum and StupidBaby if you are on good terms and have a dandelion to offer.

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Simon and Gaspard are named after the rabbits in Stephanie Blake’s series of books about a rather pesky rabbit called Simon and his brother Gaspard. We have LOVED these books ever since Mollie’s Grandma came across Poo Bum in her local indie bookshop. Poo Bum introduced us to Simon who would only say the words ‘Poo Bum’. A Deal’s a Deal and a very large bogey followed and then, hooked, we bought Stupid Baby. These books celebrate children and their crazy ways. They relish silliness and encourage children to test their boundaries and play with language. What’s not to love? There is nothing better than reading these books with kids and watching them giggling behind their hands and falling about with laughter.

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I Don’t Want to go to School is the latest in the series. Our lovely Gaspard is due to start school but he is not at all taken by the idea. His mother and father encourage him and tell him he is their big brave bunny. He will only reply ‘I’m not going!’ The dreaded day arrives and Simon is delivered to school where he does hundreds of things. At the end of the school day his mother comes to take him home… and you can guess what he says.

Another triumph. What Stephanie Blake is fantastically good at is looking at important events in children’s lives, like a disappointing swapsies, a new sibling or starting school, and writing it honestly from the child’s point of view. She can get into the child’s mind and create a book that portrays their thoughts and ideas and decisions and fears. All the hundreds of emotions that young children go through every day. And she reduces them down like a fine sauce and portrays them simply, with humour and style, so that children can see themselves and relate to the events and emotions they see. She shows (rabbit) children behaving as children. Bravo!

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So if your little one is due to start school in September and you are looking for a book to support them through their worries, this is the book for you. It doesn’t belittle the child’s fears or anxieties but neither does it put extra things to worry about into their heads. It shows them it is okay to be nervous and it’s alright to have a little cry but then they will be far too busy having lots of fun and… it will all be alright in the end. Hurrah for that.

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Source- kindly sent for review by Bounce Marketing and Gecko Press.

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