Ask me my favourite book, and I might smugly shrug and utter the name of some rather obscure French title I suffered through at university.
Très impressionnnant, non?
Raise your eyebrows at me, and I'd probably wrinkle my nose and say,
'Okay, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy'.
These are books I genuinely do love despite having memories of sobbing on a flight from Manchester to Zürich and having to stop myself from wailing out loud,
'No Lyra, don't leave Pan. Please don't leave, Pan. Don't leeeeeeeeave him, Lyra!'
But look me in straight in the eye and say,
'Really, Rachel? Really? Your absolute, most favouritest book in the entire world? Really?'
And it's most likely at that point where I'd stretch my arms out in front of me, palms facing upwards in a gesture of honesty and 'you got me', and I'd whisper,
'Riders by Jilly Cooper'.
I'm sure that I'd glance up and see the shock in your eyes and know it was one of those defining moments in our friendship. A pivotal point. Could we remain as close after such a revelation? Would you cast me aside in favour of those with more highbrow tastes in literature? Or perhaps you'd sigh with relief and say that you too had fallen under the dark and mysterious spell of Rupert Campbell-Black and had felt unable to confess such a disturbing secret until now. Weight lifted, best friends forever!
Personal tastes aside, I love the power that books have. They can help you to make sense of the world, see someone else's perspective of the world, or even transport you to a whole new world. Relationships and friendships are built and maintained on stories ... ones which we tell to keep each other up to date with the goings on in our lives and ones we tell purely for fun and entertainment. Without books and stories, whether written down or passed along through word of mouth, I think our souls would be sadder and some of the magic would disappear from our world.
Paul and I have read to our boys every single day since they were a few months old, with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books being a firm favourite. Who can resist the charm of the big, bad mouse in The Gruffalo or stop themselves from willing the witch to fly higher in Room on the Broom? Working with Great Little Trading Co. this year, we're particularly enamoured with A Squash and a Squeeze and finding clever ways to create more space in our home (I'm not so sure we'll be borrowing any chickens or goats, or consulting random wise men, though ... good storage will do just fine).
This little book caddy is the latest genius item to make its way in to our home from GLTC. It's called the Potter Book Caddy and retails at £50. It's perfect for keeping books and magazines together tidily in my eldest dude's room and, while it's quite sturdy, he can still lift it and move it from room to room if he wants to take his books downstairs and back up again. It's such a clever product and another example of why I love GLTC so much ... they design products which my boys are thrilled to use and which I'm happy to have in any room in the house because they look so incredibly cool.
In contrast, this is a photo of a little boy who is ashamed of his mother's taste in books. He's so embarrassed that he doesn't want to appear in this post. He's not sure who Jilly Cooper is but he reserves the right to be a bit judgemental about it.
In April, Macmillan announced that they would be publishing brand new redesigned covers of eight of Julia Donaldson's and Axel Scheffler's books - The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale, The Smartest Giant in Town, Monkey Puzzle, Charlie Cook's Favourite Book, and A Squash and a Squeeze. Eight new covers, all bigger, shinier and brighter. And they look an absolute treat!
I have the full set to giveaway to one lucky reader. But, in exchange, I want to know your favourite book. Not the one you pretend is your favourite. The real one. The one you don't often admit to. Go on, 'fess up! Pop your details in the rafflecopter widget below and leave me a comment with the awful truth. Good luck! The giveaway ends at 12am on June 4, 2016.