Over two weeks, Jason has shared his books What Can You See? and I Like To Put Food in My Welly with pre-school children at the Little Critters playgroup in northwest London.

The playgroup is held at Clitterhouse Farm, near Brent Cross, former farm buildings that have been regenerated as a community facility.

Last week, Jason read What Can You See? at the weekly l gathering, with toddlers running up to point, enthusiastically at Hannah Rounding’s illustrations.

He returned a week later for I Like To Put Food In My Welly, with the mid-November weather mild enough to read it in the community garden. While some of the surreal situations were a little bit above the babies in the group, the 2 and 3 year olds knew that you shouldn’t wipe your feet on your cat or swim in a cup of tea – and Max Low’s illustrations brought joy to children and adults alike.

This was the first time Jason had read his books without his own children in tow – at their school or nursery or at events they were also attending. “It feels odd being out from under their shadow,” he joked.

But he was gratified to be able to find new audiences for his books. “A lot of the opportunities to read my books – when they first came out – disappeared because of the lockdowns and by the time the pandemic was over, there were fewer opportunities to read them, as people weren’t that interested in what were then seen as old books. But toddlers don’t care when a book was published – they have just as much fun however old it is!”

“The best thing about returning to the same playgroup for the second book,” he added, “was being told by the grown-ups how much their children had been enjoying the books they’d bought the previous week in the meantime.”

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