You should meet Hazel.
She’s a pretty cool kid, with a keen creative streak, and an active imagination that could floor you.
Her mum warned me that she might be a handful, because at the ripe old age of four and three quarters, Hazel knows her own mind and could possibly out-argue a seasoned professional politician. A little bookworm after my own heart.
We started with a quick trip to the dressing up box, at Hazel’s express insistence, because as far as she was concerned today was a Disney princess kind of day. Snow White in fact.
So meet Hazel, mid-sentence, telling me exactly how the session was going to run. I’m glad I listened.
Turns out, Hazel has the best ideas. They might not always include books, but they are top notch ideas nonetheless.
Idea #1: Swing.
Idea #2: Hide out in the little house at the end of the garden. This idea lost a little sparkle when I suggested we might not be able to shoot the entire session in there. It was meant for little people. And I am a large one. Hazel expressed her (very endearing) disappointment.
But once she’d made her book selection, I coaxed her out. Slowly.
Hazel chose Mog and Bunny by the wonderful Judith Kerr. I love finding that the best of books have a long, long life – way beyond my childhood and on into another century, into the happy hearts and magical minds of little bookworms like Hazel.
Hazel is OVER THE MOON with her choice. Good. So am I.
But then she is off. Quick as a flash, pink polkadot shoes digging into the grass, sprinting to her preferred reading spot.
Show me your favourite bit from the book Hazel, I ask her.
After much thinking and flicking through the pages, she slowed and finally stopped on this lovely spread. Bunny belongs to Mog and Mog loves her so.
And then she changes her mind. Because she is a princess. And princesses are allowed to do this.
This change of mind is preceded by a short period of peekaboo. I think she was just trying to show off her multi-coloured nail varnish. It worked.
Our second choice is A First Book of Fairy Tales – which fits in pretty nicely with Hazel’s dress, don’t you think?
So she read to me and pointed out the best bits, told me snippets of stories and elaborated on tall tales that caught her fancy.
And also moments of deep thought, of imaginative thinking, where the stories in the page need a bigger place to roam around.
Just a little break, to enjoy the sunshine on her face.
I can’t quite remember what was hiding under her book, but I think it may just as well have been an ogre, or a pirate, as well as a beetle or a bug.
Little moment of four year old (very nearly five) reflection. We couldn’t play all day. Hazel was not impressed by this. But like all good books, there’s always an end to things.
We finish with Hazel hiding out in a tree.
She forgave me for leaving, wandered inside with me to say goodbye and show me a book of her drawings. Hazel has a lifetime of stories and adventures ahead of her.
Do you have a little bookworm in your life? I’d love to meet them, hear their stories and tell their tales. You can take part by telling me all about them here.