My son now often demands that, as part of the bed time reading ritual, we read absolutely ALL of the book.
Yes, that means Title, illustrator, publisher, dedication (sometimes), any additional information, notes, acknowledgements and author bios from the end. Thankfully, not all the publication dates, but that could come…
My initial reaction was that it’s an annoyance, a canny play to spin out story time just a bit longer. But because I’m a pushover, especially at that time of day, I do it. (To be fair, he does it too when he reads aloud).
And then I see the point.
It makes all the conventions and architecture of books super familiar. But that’s not all.
Reading the author bios at the end of The Old Frangipani Tree at Flying Fish Point (Magabala Books) – a big hit library loan, many times read – tells you that writer Trina Saffioti is retelling a true story here – and is also working on a book imagining her grandmother’s experiences as one of the Stolen Generation. (This has since been published by Magabala as “Stolen Girl”).
Or reading the rich, handwritten page of acknowledgements at the end of Chris McKimmie’s terrific book about friendship Two Peas in a Pod which tells you the art materials he used – including m.d.f. and string. It also tells you that one Alex McKimmie (the author’s grandchild, I’ve since found out) contributed a picture of a cat on one page. So we went back through and found that cat. (I’ve GOT to get my hands on more Chris McKimmie books. He is brilliant.)
So, once again the instinctive wisdom of kids wins through, unlocking that bit more from a book which could easily be ignored.
OK, kids. Let’s read everything.