Sunday, 29 January 2012

Book decluttering - a cautionary tale.

My friend that raises money for cancer research has a book stall at her events; and I am a relatively regular supplier. The time has come that she is running low on children's books, so we spent a productive hour today clearing the bookshelves of non-adored books which the kids have grown out of. I now involve them in this process, after an incident which occurred last year.

A had had a bad day at school, and said "Mummy, I want that book I had when I was a baby, about the bear who'd just learnt to walk." Said book being Wobble Bear by Ian Whybrow, which I had bought as a set from the Book People with Wobble Bear Says Yellow for £3.99 in 2004, and which I had got rid of a few years before. Ooops. Cue much whooping and wailing. One very upset girl, and one very guilty Mummy.

I felt so guilty, that I re-bought both books. Both had gone out of print in the version that A had, so I paid around £7.99 for them both. Lesson learnt.

The books we got rid of today fell into three distinct categories: Crap TV/toy tie-ins, fairy books and Thomas the Tank Engine. Crap TV tie-ins irritate me. It's as if the authors think, "This is going to sell anyway, because it's got the Numberjacks on the front. So I'll just write some lazy description and shocking dialogue and slap the character's names in here and there and job's a good-un." Honourable mention here for non-crap tie-in goes to the Moshi Monsters Moshling Collector Guide, which is really nicely written and good quality.

A has now officially grown out of fairy books. We have kept the Usborne Fairies Touch and Feel book, because it used to be A's favourite, but otherwise there was a fairly ruthless cull of the pink glittery creatures. Good riddance say I.

Thomas the Tank Engine used to be C's favourite. He had an encyclopeadiac knowledge of the engines, and associated characters. In fact one of his first sentences was "There's Cranky, Mummy!" as we passed a crane in town. He now spurns Thomas. He's "for babies", apparently. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of all of them, but the peripheral books have now gone, including Find that Freight, one with pressy buttons and accompanying irritating noises. The old favourites have been squirreled away for me to weep over when C is over six-foot and doesn't want to acknowledge his mother in public anymore, let alone sit on her knee and read a story.

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