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I Had a New Horn and a Paper Hat


Many of us still have books stamped across our brains from an age whose more obvious landmarks - what house, which school, what friends - remain stubbornly foggy. I do hope our kids are so lucky. Because, apart from a couple of outliers, it’s not like we grew up in such a golden era of children’s literature that we shouldn’t have been doing just about anything else – watching Gilligan’s Island, say, or George of the Jungle, playing Pong.

No, here is that golden era now, believe it or not, which is kind of the point of all this trumpeting and beating of drums, and yes, the occasional screeching. There is undeniably a lot of twaddle monopolizing shelf space at the moment, and marketing budgets, and bestseller lists, still it’s the striking evolution of the wallflowers – in themes, and ambitions, and original art – which suggests the problem is not with the form, but our underestimation of it.

So let’s take a moment, please, to acknowledge the simple, single moments which have somehow transcended our many years and expectations. For me, these begin with a lion combing his hair in the forest, two elephants in knitwear, and a rabbit who just wants to be included - but what about you? Do you have a place like that? Which you never emerged from completely - or maybe left the door a little cracked…

“Good-by! Don’t go away! I’ll hunt for you another day….”


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