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‘Numbers are in everything’: the inspiration behind Lauren Child’s delightful new Charlie and Lola picture book

September 25, 2015

Lauren-Child-detailLauren Child’s multi-award winning, bestselling children’s books have sold over 3 million books in 19 languages. She is the creator of much-loved characters Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort as well as Charlie and Lola.

Her new book Charlie and Lola: One Thing is the first new Charlie and Lola story in five years. And we’re so thrilled to see them back!

Read our review of the book.

Central to all of the books in this series is the affectionate sibling relationship between Charlie and Lola, as well as Child’s spot-on child’s-eye view of the world.

In an article for The Guardian, Child revealed that Lola was based on a real child she came across in a train carriage in Denmark: the pixie-like little girl was bombarding her parents with questions. She also drew on stories her boyfriend told her about his life with an irritating little sister to develop the relationship between Lola and Charlie.

Charlie and Lola: One Thing is a charming story about going on an outing to the shops and being allowed to choose a treat. It also cleverly introduces some numeracy concepts.

Child wanted to not so much teach maths in the book as introduce kids to the joy of numbers and make them fun.

She spread numbers across the pages, in many different fonts:

‘I could always see this book visually – numbers are in everything, they are everywhere.’

(interview with Lucy Coats in Publishing Talk)

Child told The Guardian that the idea for the book ‘came to me because I love the way little children start counting almost before anything else…I always wanted One Thing to be a book that celebrated numbers and how they are beautiful to look at. I love the sound of them – there is poetry in numbers.’

She wanted to reflect the way kids experiment with numbers, as with all new language, and make mistakes along the way. So little sister Lola loses count of the birds she sees, charmingly spots ‘fifty or twenty seventeen ladybirds’ and thinks about big questions like ‘is a million more than the rain?’

While the idea for this book was conceived many years before Child’s adopted daughter Tuesday arrived, she and her little girl DO enjoy playing with numbers: from early on they were counting stairs, counting the peas they could eat, counting everything! (The Guardian)

As always with Lauren Child picture books, this book is a lovely object. The design is incredibly bright and the mixed-media illustrations have real texture and depth.

Take a look:

One Thing internal 1 must credit Orchard Books

One Thing internal 2 must credit Orchard Books

One Thing internal 3 must credit Orchard Books

(Images taken from ‘One Thing’ © Lauren Child, Orchard 2015 with kind permission of ‘Orchard’.)

Read our review.

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