There are certain characters who can't be missed out in any perusal of children's stories and 'Winnie the Pooh' by A.A. Milne has to be top of the list. Again I no longer have the set of books that my friend Michelle bought for Lewis when he was a toddler but they were read and read and read. They are such lovely stories, this wonderful safe and slightly magical place, The Hundred Acre Wood, where a group of toys come to life and live and play together. The best writers tune in to the way children think, and imagining your favourite toys as real life friends is something all children do. I think my favourite is the one where Pooh and Piglet walk round and round the spinney thinking they might be hunting a woozle but are only following their own footsteps.
Another much loved illustrator is Jan Pienkowski and I think that 'Meg and Mog' (with Helen Nicholl) may well have been the very first children's book I ever bought. I love the bright simplicity of these books. I sometimes wonder what small children make of the idea of a witch on a broomstick, but then again perhaps it is no more surreal than an elephant to a child who has never seen one.
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