Monday, 19 November 2018

Some not very serious life lessons from picture books by Jane Clarke

Last week, Book Trust tweeted




So, inspired by this thread, and with tongue firmly in cheek, here are some life lessons from  a few of my favourite old picture books. I’ve confined myself to sausages, elephants and poultry - but feel free to add anything in the comments at the end :-)


1. If you strut about with your beak in the air, you’ll miss a lot of exciting stuff.


2. Never underestimate the power of compromise, especially when arbitrated by a duck.


3.  Fake wings may be cool, but they won’t enable you to fly.


4.  Be nice to demanding house guests and treat yourself to sausages, chips and ice cream at a cafe after they leave.


5.  It's wise to keep sausages handy in case you need them to determine which end of an Earth Hound has the fangs, and which end has the waggler.

 Dr Xargle's book of Earth Hounds by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross


6. Elephants are happiest when they don’t try to hide their true colours.


7. If there are four elephants in a bath, only three have fun.

Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy

8.   If you spend all day going rumpeta, rumpeta, rumpeta all down the road with an elephant, you will need to lie down at the end of it.

The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs



There are huge philosophical truths to be extrapolated from picture books and I recognise (somewhat guiltily) that the subject deserves a much more serious post than this. In the meantime, though, I hope you’ll leave a comment to let us know more life lessons (from the silly to the profound) you’ve learned from picture books.


Jane's just finished writing the Dr KittyCat series and is currently working on a third picture book to be illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, and the fourth book in the Al's Awesome Science series illustrated by James Brown.

6 comments:

  1. Hilarious! But you’ve given me an idea for a post next year. :) I think all picture books have wisdom in them. Like Little Beauty by Anthony Brown or Ssh! We have a plan by Chris Haughton - think Brexit when you read this one.

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    1. Yes, you're right there is much wisdom to be found in picture books - I'll look forward to reading your post, Chitra.

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  2. Thinking of a series of three wonderful books, are hats really worth all the aggro?!

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  3. Oh yes, thanks for making me laugh Paeony!

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  4. Perhaps one of my favourite books Tadpoles Promise - "we all make mistakes.'

    Spolier alert - one character eats the other

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