Daisy reading The Smartest Giant in Town

Sleep once eluded by great niece Daisy and so her exhausted parents often tried BookTrust’s solution – bath, book, bed. 

Daisy reading Julia Donaldson's The Smartest Giant in Town oil on canvas portrait artwork by Stella Tooth.

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I've painted a close up of Daisy reading her favourite book, Julia Donaldson’s ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ with her granny for the Lots Road Group of portraitist's The Art of Reading exhibition, held in association with BookTrust. 

The Lots Road Group The Art of Reading exhibition catalogue cover.

Since Daisy is still too young to give us her views on reading, Julia Donaldson has very kindly stepped in and answered some questions for us.

Julia is one of today’s best-loved children’s authors.  She was the Children’s Laureat 2011-2013 and has written over 100 books for children, for which she has received numerous awards.  She lives in Sussex with her husband.

Julia Donaldson on Reading:

Q Did your parents read to you?

A Yes.  And I was lucky enough to have a granny living in the same house who introduced me and my sister to Edward Lear’s nonsense rhymes.

Q Were you a bookworm?

A Yes.  I used to frequent the local second-hand bookshops and collect things like Richmal Crompton’s William books. If I ended up with any duplicates, I would swap them with my best friend.

Q How scary and dark can you make a book for young children?

A I think most children enjoy being scared, so long as the scary character is finally vanquished. But different children are scared of different things. I met one who was fine with the dragon in ‘Room on the Broom’, but scared of the wind.

Q What is the secret of your collaboration with illustrator Axel Scheffler?

A Actually, we don’t collaborate, or, rather, any collaboration has to come from him!  I write the text – then it’s up to him to interpret it!

Q What would be your Desert Island book?

A ‘Poem for the day one’ edited by Nicholas Albery and Peter Ratcliffe.  The book contains 365 poems.  I’d try to learn one a day until I was rescued.

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