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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:15 pm 
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Been thinking about the various attitudes towards Michael Morpurgo and was wondering what is it that makes a good children's book - as in, obv, a good book for children.

An engaging lead character? (normally somewhat enfeebled - small? alone? only a scaggy old kitten for a friend? broken glasses?)
Lead char pitted against an impossible foe and winning? (power from an unpowerful stance)
Learning something new? (drawn along)
Humour - or terror? (child enjoys one, deals with the other in a "safe" way?)
Is the sense of a "quest" always there, somehow (Michelle Paver, Harry Potter, Snickert, etc)

So often the lead character ends up being an orphan, or with a cruel uncle / aunt so was wondering why this is seemingly important? Just to give child reader a sense of power often missing in real life.

Sometimes good books just ... are! They can't be quantified or understood; similarly, there's a lot of terrible old tosh out there. I just thought it was interesting and would love any other thoughts. Not that I'm trying to write a children's book and have got a bit stuck or anything! Thanks!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:19 pm
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Milla wrote:
Sometimes good books just ... are!



Think you have hit the nail on the head here. Sometimes the most unpromising book turns out to be a real page turner that just appeals to a child. Not quantifiable, it just pushes the buttons for them and sets them on the road. For me it was the Chalet School series - not the best literature in the world but .....


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:53 am 
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Now the Chalet School series are a favourite of mine too. I still have the full paperback collection in the garage and I dip into it when I'm too exhausted to read anything worthy.

In general, I think the absence of parents makes for a book children's book as the children are forced to deal with situations/ freedoms that aren't part of the reader's life. DS1 ( 11 years) loves books about orphan kids sent out to be spies. DS3 (6) loves books about unaccompanied children sent out on missions to save animals. In each case, kids must have all sorts of wonderful gadgets, and no adults to tell them what to do.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Bit like the Famous Five really - adventures and no parents, nights out camping and their own island - what more......


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