What was your favourite childhood book and why?
May I pick two? First up: Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry, which my parents used to read to me every night. Bedtime hour was full of wonderful lines like: ‘His friends they called him Thingummyjig and his enemies, Toasted Cheese’ and second: The Great Smile Robbery by Roger McGough. A librarian called Brian gave me a copy of this book when I was 9. I was hooked from the first page: ‘Emerson opened the window and took a deep breath. Then, he put it back again.’ So playful. I loved it.
Which of your own books is your favourite and why?
Like most authors, I’m fond of all my books. But if I’m honest, I’m always feel I could and should have done better. Which means I don’t think I’ve written my favourite book yet. I hope I will. One day. Though I probably won’t think it’s good enough. Maybe this is why I keep writing?
Why do you choose to read?
When I was little, I used to read to get a sweet from the headmistress. She kept them in a tin on a high shelf. But as I got older, I read for lots of reasons, including comfort, pleasure, knowledge, self-improvement and intellectual stimulation. But the main reason is probably best illustrated by David McKee’s picture book Two Monsters. Reading means you can see the sunrise from the other side of the mountain, which stops you from calling others things like ‘soggy cornflake’ or generally throwing stones.