Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Some books Eddie hearts in an absolute and immediate way on first introduction, there are plenty he hearts never, despite objective merit  and a select few are slow creepers, that must be read a few times in his hearing whilst he runs-up-and-down-paying-no-apparent-attention-at-all until; all of a sudden, he GETS them and then Will not Be Parted From Them Ever Again. There is no knowing in advance which way he'll go.

The wonderful 'Claude' books by Alex T. Smith I am delighted to announce have recently come into this last category. Phew. I'd been loving them for a while; they have great parent appeal, but it's reassuring that they have also become a hit with the intended audience. The occasional division between parental admiration and child-love for books is a problem many will recognise. In the same way my lovely homemade lentil and tomato soup is spat out in favour of Heinz, one's children can show TERRIBLE taste in books. (Please God not the Mr Men again, please God no. Please. Noooooo!...)

 Claude is a small, natttily-dressed and extremely talented dog with a thirst for adventure not always shared by his life companion; the enigmatic Sir Bobblysock. Who, in case it needs clarifying, is a sock. The books are packaged as perfect small illustrated chapter books, whilst not containing very much more text than a long picture book. Just the right amount for a newly confident reader to enjoy in one or two sittings and Feel Proud.

The parent appeal is in the very gentle innuendo and playful illustrations. It's fairly high camp: Sort of 'My First Carry On Claude'; (think saucily positioned vegetables) but in the most sweet and warm hearted way. Funny and fun to read.

Anyway, Eddie was given 'Claude in the Country' for his birthday and I read it to him a few times without him really 'noticing' it. Then we got 'Claude at the Circus' and a dramatic change occurred at a spread where Claude and Sir Bobblysock go ice cream shopping in the park. He stopped running back and forth and came over to assess the ice cream options very carefully indeed: "Sir Bobblysock chooses an ice lolly Mum. But I think I would choose a chocolate ice cream, maybe with a chocolate flake and maybe with a cherry on top."

That was all it needed. Claude sold. Eddie passionately engaged and now a near complete collection of Claude books in his bed and part of his nightly repertoire.

As I say. phew.

There is a moral here: Authors! Including choices of pudding items early in your books to maximise Eddie attraction. Ice cream sells.
A trio of Claudes- and there are more! Huzzah.

This is a very good example of the type of ice cream picture you may wish to include
'Claude at the Circus' (and others) by Alex T. Smith, pub. Hodder, isbn 978-0-340-99903-5


  1. Your boys sound very like C and H, with H being the one who needs to pretend the 'new book thing' isn't happening for a few days before he'll suddenly jump on board with gusto (or not, in some cases!).
    We have one Claude book (which I totally and utterly heart big-time) and I'm thinking C is just coming up to the right stage to start enjoying it. I'll let you know how we get on :-)

    1. Fingers crossed for a hit then!