What good news! I actually don’t like ‘Gorilla’ very much but love some of Brown’s other books, notably ‘The Tunnel’ and ‘Changes’. Browne’s near-photographic realism is always sprinkled with touches of the surreal, and a plethora of visual puns. And I, along with millions of others, find them very touching too. tunnel

The Guardian reports: Browne said that he would use his two-year stint as laureate to focus on the appreciation of picture books, and the reading of both pictures and words. “Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book,” he said. “Sometimes I hear parents encouraging their children to read what they call proper books (books without pictures), at an earlier and earlier age. This makes me sad, as picture books are perfect for sharing, and not just with the youngest children.”

Interesting that in yesterday’s Guardian the outgoing Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, deplores the programme to teach children to read that has no policy on reading books. Children who come from homes where books are being read get access to the kinds of abstract and complex ideas that you can only get hold of easily through exposure to extended prose. The rest are being fed worksheets.

Rosen quotes with horror – shared by us all I trust – the teacher whose pupils have been working on his poems: The ‘quicks’ have been making up poems of their own and the ‘slows’ have been doing a wordsearch. OMG! I had no idea that poetry could be streamed!