Too Old for Kids’ Books?

Spent the day in St.Andrews’ yesterday doing a bookshop trawl. I forgot that the golf “Open” was on until I saw lots of police cones and men in high viz jackets, but I still managed to park outside my favourite bookstore TOPPINGS. I found some copies of CHILL and SHIVER tucked away in one of their alcoves, so of course I signed them while Martha helpfully took camera shots. (I’ll be doing the same for her, one day!) A little crowd gathered, and one kind gentleman said “Are you the author?” “I hope so,” I said. “Otherwise I’ve just scribbled inside someone else’s book.” No, I didn’t say that, I was very friendly. Then a father and his daughter (in her twenties) heard me describing them as children’s fiction. “There you are, Lindsay,” he said to his daughter. “A bit young for me, I’m afraid,” she said in a withering voice, and they drifted off. “WHOA, let me stop you right there LADY!” I cried in a shrill voice which brought bookshop assistants running. “Too old for ALICE IN WONDERLAND, PETER PAN, WIND IN THE WILLOWS, THE MOOMINS… need I go on…? Then you might as well curl up and die RIGHT NOW!”

When she and her father had recovered from their shock, and one or two customers demanded “Who let this madwoman into St. Andrews?” I then calmly explained that my grandmother could see the spirit of said books even in her nineties, and she was wise, witty and wonderful.

Actually, none of the shouting happened. That was just inside my head. Instead I accepted a pot of tea while my son bought the Communist Manifesto and a book on linguistics. Why do I get so excited about tea and teapots? This has been an obsession of mine ever since I was little. (And I’m still very little, I might add!) I don’t intend growing any taller or any less passionate about books for “little people” over the next twenty years.

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