Did you know that there is an island where the inhabitants use rocks for money? Presumably the bigger the rock, the greater the value - though my informant was slightly shaky on this point.
Did you also know that when Snow White married her Prince the wedding feast consisted of Turnip Pie, the main ingredient for which came from the vegetable plot carefully tended by Ms White while house-keeping for her Seven Vertically Challenged hosts?
And I bet you didn't know that in the Mr Men ABC book, J (the initial letter of my first name) stands for (Mr) Jelly? I was all a-wobble at the mere thought of it.
we are well into week two of the Summer Reading Challenge and, as always, the young readers are keen to enhance my knowledge based on what they themselves have learned from the books they have read. The Big Friendly Read is proving more popular than ever before
- this morning I signed up the 600th youngster to the Challenge to read six books before the middle of September. This time last year, if the Daily Blog is to be believed (and why wouldn't you believe it, I ask you?) 450 young'uns had registered and we thought
that was good going. In 2016 - possibly thanks to the Power of Roald Dahl - we look set to exceed every previous record.
As usual, I travelled in to the Library on the Pulse bus, my favourite form of transport
on account of (i) its regularity; (ii) the fact that it is free with my much-treasured bus pass (there have to be some advantages to ageing, you know); and (iii) the fact that All Human Life is There on the Pulse.
The most exciting thing to happen on my journey into town this morning came when the bus driver hopped out of his cabin to lower the ramp so that a woman in a wheelchair could manoeuvre her way into the allocated space for wheelchairs. This proved a
trifle tricky, leading our driver to make a comment about "women drivers" which prompted many boos and hisses from his female passengers - which turned to laughter when the Cheeky Chappie made to drive off without lifting the ramp back into position. I leave
it to you, dear Reader, to imagine the comments...
At the start of my stint on the Big Friendly Read desk I started to keep a tally of young visitors but after 40 minutes or so there was such a queue waiting
to see me that I gave up. It always worries me when people have a long wait - but almost always when I apologise to the next in line I am told that it doesn't matter. I think it's because every parent, grandparent or carer wants to see their own child given
due attention when it comes to their turn so they appreciate that every other child similarly deserves a proper hearing.
I do occasionally try to move things along a bit by asking "So what happens at the very
end of the book?" One angelic five year old this morning, who had been taking me through her book page by page, was having none of it: "There's still another five pages to go!" she reprimanded me. Her mother looked on indulgently and clearly wasn't about to
help me out.
I do often forget how very literal small children are. The last page of a book about a cat called Jasper featured a picture of said cat lapping away at a large bowl, a broad grin on his whiskered
face. "Ah," said I, "He looks like the cat that got the cream..." The small person in front of me gazed at me with compassion for my ignorance: "The cat has got the MILK!" she corrected me, patiently. Oh, silly me!
One young reader appeared to be preparing the ground for a campaign on Pet Ownership. Her first book was on "Looking after your mouse." Did she have a pet mouse? I enquired. Even before she responded in the negative, I knew
what the answer would be when I saw her mother shudder. What, I asked the pet lover, was the most important thing she had learned about caring for a pet mouse. "You keep it in a cage," she asserted, stoutly. Next we turned to her second book which was entitled
"Your Pet Hamster." I was beginning to spot a theme here. I'm smart like that. No, she didn't own a hamster and the most important thing she had learned about caring for a pet hamster was, yes, you've guessed it, keeping it in a cage. I am looking forward
to future visits to the BFR Desk when I am hopeful I will gather useful insights into keeping pet snakes, spiders, stick insects and Other Undesirables.
How I love my young readers for the way they brighten
my days. Keep reading, keep learning, keep coming back to see me!