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Three favourite children’s books

January 15, 2015

It’s difficult to pick up again with my blog after such a long pause. I blame facebook… in the summer I was advised that I just had to have a presence on it to promote the hostel, I succumbed and needless to say I’m now addicted.

So in an effort to wean myself off it and learn to use words again I’m going to talk about books. I enjoy having a small library in the hostel. I tend to stock it with books from my house but sometimes I’ll see a must-have in a shop and justify buying it by telling myself it’s for the hostel. A good trick that usually works. It’s a pleasure trying to keep an interesting selection and guests seem to enjoy it. People are so honest. It’s amazing how many packets I receive in the post of books being returned from guests having borrowed them to finish elsewhere.

Iona itself has a lending library -the little pitch pine lined building between the school and the village hall. It’s one of my favourite building on the island and the lending service still operates on Saturday mornings. The Abbey has a splendid barrel vaulted library and it is my favourite room on the island. It is currently being catalogued with discussion as to its conservation and future use. Its a significant island resource which could probably be make better use of.

I enjoy children’s books, probably because of the pleasure and excitement they brought me when I was wee. My three current favourites have been bought from the two bookshops I go into at any opportunity: Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge, Edinburgh and the vast arts bookshop in the Pompidou Centre.

Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch (Gecko) is the kind tale of a duck who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death. The Tulip is a curious character (the most interesting?) and held in Death’s hand for the first few pages but kept well hidden from Duck’s sight. Movingly, it reappears when Duck dies.  It’s a curious book but one with a simple story and gentle and elegant illustrations. From reviews, it appears to be suitable for five’s and over.


Nuages by Gong Gwang-kyu (Picquier Jeunesse) is a gorgeous large format picture books of clouds -and the animals that they can look like -or are? Dragons, horses, pigs and a dog that looks uncannily like Snuffy are there. Beautifully produced and illustrated. Any age.


and lastly,

This is not my hat by Jon Klassen (Walker Books). I bit of an international hit, this one. The story of a little fish that makes the mistake of stealing the hat of a bigger fish. Great romping story line with a moral and brilliant illustrations. I love it -so, any age!


Enjoy them.



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