Just Classic September 01 2014


It’s cold and wet and winter seems like it is dragging on foreverrrrrrrrrrrr… Things are soggy. The washing is unending and full of bulky goods they take an age to dry and then all of a sudden are filthy again. We have sniffled and snuffled our way through the season. My bones are cold, even in 10 layers and a horrendously-stained-totally-unsexy-fluffy-once-pink-now-grey-dressing-gown. In short we are all over it.

Don’t get me wrong - I love rugging up in coats and scarves and relaxing by the open fire and goodness me, marshmellows… but enough is enough – it’s the last week of winter but spring still seems a lifetime away. I want to shed layers (possibly marshmellow induced)… I want salt and sand and warmth.

My Instagram and Facebook feeds are not helping. Everyone I know seems to be on a tropical island. Drinking large, fruit filled drinks of deliciousness - that I know are chock full of adult-fun. They have that healthy happy skin glow (yes, they are probably also super sunsmart, and it may come out of a spray nozzle but they are three months closer to a bikini than me so I am nonetheless horrendously jealous).

I know of course summer will come – eventually. To the farm it will bring baking heat. Long sleepless sweaty nights. And the flies. And I will once more dream of fireside cuddles under numerous throws. So I must stop dreaming the days away thinking of pina coladas and pink bikinis and live for now.

There is something still to be cherished about this weather, and the seemingly unending winter. The snuggle. Winter is a season when personal space is much better shared. For example, the kids and I can cuddle up on the couch without sticking to one another or sliding off.

What better to do in this four-way-snuggle than share a few books. With a four year gap from top to bottom it’s fair to say reading abilities and interests are different and diverse. Biggest boy is learning to read. Baby is learning first words. My middle child is only into cartoons. We need to find a happy medium.

I am big on the classics. Daughter of an English teacher, I read Austen in primary school and begged for more. I devoured anything Dickens. I inhaled books. And I want that for my kids. I want that magic feeling where you just have to finish the paragraph…page… chapter….Oh blow it, finish the whole book and then the engulf the bloody series! But where to start? How to create that love for literature?

Thank goodness for Babylit. They’ve nailed it. What an amazingly simple, yet brilliant concept. All the classics are there - Alice in Wonderland, Anna Karenina, Pride and Prejudice, Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, even some Shakespeare. But they are accessible. The illustrations are inviting. The words simple. The themes engaging. And the heavy cardboard means they are durable too - to ‘sharing’. I love them possibly more than the kids for the love of reading they rekindle in me. And in the very least ‘Anna Karenina – a fashion primer’ is teaching my baby girl all the essentials ‘gown’, ‘gloves’, ‘hats’….

You think you only need one, then all of a sudden there’s a whole set. The kids’ library now mimics my own collection – and I couldn’t be more thrilled. And then you start gifting them. I reckon I have slipped at least a dozen into newborn parcels for happy friends and their new little families to enjoy together. It’s addictive. And who wouldn’t want one of their little girl’s first few words to be ‘Mr Darcy’?!!

What’s your favourite classics to read to the kids? And does anyone have any tips to make boys love literature for life?!