Letterland Bedtime Stories by Louis Fidge got a rare run-out yesterday evening. An old favourite, both kids were mildly amused by "Clever Cat's Cafe" and enjoyed pointing out the alliteration that is shame-facedly shoehorned into every story. Letterland Bedtime Stories was picked up from a charity shop circa 2007. It joined the key work in the oeuvre, Letterland ABC and the lesser known works Quarrelsome Queen's Quiz and Ten Cakes.
Letterland holds a very special place in my heart. It's a phonics system where each letter of the alphabet has a pictogram of a person or creature associated with the letter (E is Eddy elephant, R used to be Robber Red, but is now something more PC). When I was a very teeny child, growing up in a suburb of Southampton, which used to look brand-new and spangly, and now looks a teeny bit dog-eared (in an accurate reflection of my own looks), my school trialled the Letterland phonics system. There were posters (amazing), books (OK), worksheets (again, amazing, but then I was a kid who used to make my Mum set me extra homework) and some songs. The songs were immense. One day my brother came home from school, having learnt a new sound and a new song (I don't remember this bit but the tale has gone down in family legend). Apparently, when asked for a rendition of the new song, my brother lustily sang "Fireman Fred says f-in words, f-in words, f-in words" and was slightly crestfallen when my Mum's reaction was horror and then hilarity! I think they changed that particular song after the pilot.
Anyway, Letterland taught A her letters before she started school. C only learnt X and Z, both of which he became slightly obsessed with. (Two things the avid reader will have learnt from this blog so far: 1) I like buying high quality books at bargain prices from charity shops and 2) my son is particularly prone to becoming obsessed by items as wide ranging as a 17th century Catholic terrorist and the letter x). Both have really enjoyed the books though, so I haven't quite got round to giving them away yet, despite the fact that neither of them now need the Letterland folk to remind them that Fireman Fred says f'in words.