A couple of weeks ago I reviewed a wonderful new children’s book called On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Illustrated by Benji Davis. It is a lovely book and my children ask to read it frequently. To celebrate the release the publishers Simon and Schuster have put together a brilliant blog tour which i’m thrilled to be part of. You can find all the dates and locations below, its a tour through some really wonderful blogs which I am sure you’ll enjoy.
On Sudden Hill deals with friendships and so we asked the author Linda Sarah and illustrator Benji Davis for their favourite friendships in childrens books. Over to them:
Linda Sarah author of On Sudden Hill:
Hello Being a Mummy – thank you so much for having me here!
Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet (A.A. Milne.)
Ant and Bee (and Kind Dog) – (Angela Banner)
Wilbur and Charlotte (E.B. White)
Tintin and Snowy (Hergé) (I know I’ll think of many more once I’ve sent this off!) I’m not very good at analysing/thinking about why I like certain things – mostly they just make me grin, or giggle, or both – but I’ll try… With Snufkin and Moomin, in fact all the friendships in Tove Jansson’s wonderful worlds, there’s a huge spaciousness – physically and emotionally – room to make mistakes, stumble, not know stuff, be sometimes confused, or overwhelmed. It’s like there’s a big sign saying: All Feelings Welcome Here – Bring Your Very Own Special Self! And I think this goes for the other friendships too. Ant and Bee (and Kind Dog) have a lovely, bumbling-along, gentle kind of friendship, dealing with stuff together in a really sweet way. Nothing’s impossible, or too much of a problem when you’re with good friends. I last read Charlotte’s Web such a long time ago, but I’ve been left with this feeling that it’s a friendship full of the best ingredients, encouragement and support and wamth, the kind that make you feel: Yes! I can do this! Friendship that makes you grow and blossom. And humour. Asterix and Obelix, they’re funny, adorable, silly, lovely. There’s big space in all these friendships for giggles and silliness. And curiosity. Tintin and Snowy, they’re just amazingly cool. In fact, I think I love all person-and-dog friendships in books. Dogs are amazing, and Herge’s depictions of Snowy are masterful and so observationally brilliant and funny. Perfect!
Benji Davis Illustrator of On Sudden Hill:
My all-time favourite friendship in a children’s book is Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel.
They’re always there for each other whatever the weather. The simplicity of their interaction is life affirming.
In a similar vein, Ratty and Mole from The Wind in the Willows.
You feel that when they knock on each others door, there’s a friendly face, a comfy armchair and a kettle over the stove (and maybe some biscuits).
It’s really important to give children stories about good friendships, about people being able to depend on one another, to look out for each other. As they grow up and test their social boundaries. I think stories about friendships can give them a sense of security and a way of looking at social situations that feel confusing. I think Linda’s text does this brilliantly. Like the boys in On Sudden Hill I remember being left out of a trio of friends at school, being ignored in the playground, and being deeply affected by it.
Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is about a magical friendship between the boy and his snowman. I once made a snowman in the front garden and when I woke up the next morning someone had kicked it to bits in the night. I probably half-hoped he might have come to life during the night but there he was all smashed up, his tangerine nose halfway across the lawn. It would have been easier to understand if he’d just melted away (like in the book). It felt really cruel and unjust.
Somebody said the illustrations in Sudden Hill reminded them of Calvin & Hobbes and I think subconsciously there is an influence there, of legging it round outdoors in the long grass. Calvin & Hobbes is a really energetic, rough and tumble friendship, that blurs the line between reality and imagination. At its heart it’s about two inseparable pals.