I’ve recently finished reading the fourth book in Alex Scarrow’s excellent TimeRiders series and it got me thinking about books for kids that appeal to adults. Two of my favourite books are children’s books – The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler and The Voyage of QV66. Both could be described as YA rather than children’s fiction, but either way, they’re not aimed at adults. I figure, so what? They’re both superb stories and the fact they feature kids in their last year of primary school and talking animals doesn’t matter to me. It’s the story and characters that matter.
That last point is the real issue. Look at the Harry Potter books. OK, they became darker and more adult as the series progressed but adults were still reading them when Rowling had yet to write the third book (for the four people in the world who haven’t read them, the first two are full of lines like ‘Quidditch is brilliant!’ ejaculated Ron and ‘I’ll have a bag of lemon whizzbangers and three orange ploppers’ said Harry happily – and they’re still a lot of fun) which took her characters into their teenage years. The adults reading the first couple didn’t seem to care much they were reading children’s books. They were more interested in the story and characters, and it’s no stretch for me to point out Rowling is extremely talented at both.
Or how about CS Lewis and the Narnia books? Loved and read for decades by children and adults. Ditto The Wind In The Willows. And what about Roald Dahl? The man’s been dead for twenty years and he’s still being read. Of course, we can’t forget a certain Mr Tolkien. All books by authors who wrote for children on various levels and all books which adults read and re-read.
So I’ll wait impatiently for the next TimeRiders book and I’ll enjoy, for the tenth or eleventh time, Tyke's adventures with Danny Price just as I’ll laugh again at Pal the dog’s attempts (along with the rest of the crew) to find out just what the hell Stanley is. And I won’t care less these are kids’ books.
I’m more interested in the stories.