I love picture books. They’re often stunningly beautiful, creative and laugh-out -loud hilarious but also nothing else is so quick and effective at mainlining the story-vein in our brains. The telling is short though you can play it out if you wish: tease out the rhymes, study the images, and savour the enjoyment. Books such as Colin Thompson’s How to Live Forever: I’ve read this with children aged 5-10 years old as well as adults. It has beautiful images but it also allows you to load up in the audience’s mind the question/concept of what you would miss in living forever. Change.



The Ancient Child who is ‘frozen in time.’ “I keep saying that I had everything, but all I had was endless tomorrows. To live forever is not to live at all.” Teasing out the possible meanings of these words has led to more questions and more knowledge of ourselves.

Anthony Browne’s Look what I’ve got – the joy is in the pictures, in what is just out of view, and which you will miss if you just follow the words. I remember Y3 children reading the book and the experienced readers racing through missing 75% of the book as they gobbled up the words, never looking up at the amazing things going on in the pictures, in the margins. Back as a group we talked about the pictures, how they linked with the story, and this released the not so confident readers into giving their opinions and then we were all in the story, challenging each other, throwing ideas around without fear because it wasn’t just about the words anymore, it was the pictures and the story and we each felt we could add something.


Talking about the pictures brought out the curiosity in the children, delighted with what they found, unable to stop themselves shouting to their friends. And when we finally went back and read the book together we all felt the story had got bigger, more complete.