I WANNA GO HOME (PAGE)


Bing Bunny is my first series of books for toddlers.

Bing was born on a boring trip home on the Northern Line of the London Underground, when I was facing another evening of reading some of the tedious toddler books my daughter was in thrall with at the time.

Put simply, I was cross that the many people behind these toddler books (author, illustrator, editor, etc) expected me to endure dozens of repeated readings of fairly thoughtless material.

Picture books for kids 4 and up often address both adults and kids. But it seemed to me the toddler books didn't do this. It's lonely enough being a parent with toddler age kids, why rub it in any more?

Anyhow, while I was still on the tube I drew a picture of a bunny with attitude, and started Bing Get Dressed, with everything going wrong just like it does in real life. I began to enjoy the idea of expressing the pathos, the triumph, and the tragedy of being with toddlers.

Bing is all about the fulcrum between parents and their toddlers. 24 pages in a 15cm book is a small space to pack in a whole adventure, but in a toddler's small world, it seems as big as life.

Since I started work on him early in 2000, Bing Bunny has gone through numerous name and colour changes, road-tested on loads of toddlers, and fine-tuned to go the distance with an initial run of 8 books. There are a great many secrets behind the development of Bing Bunny, many of which are better off staying secrets, but in the end, they inform his slightly anarchic attitude.

I hope that Bing Bunny will change people's attitude to the infuriating moments in their toddlers' lives. It's worked on me, especially when Helen and I were in the middle of potty training my daughter and I was often getting cross at her refusal to "try", only to then go hide under the kitchen table and pee there. Helen suggested I think of the picture of Bing Bunny when he wets himself in "Get Dressed" as a way of reacting to all the accidents.

It sounds dumb, but that picture got me on my own Road to Damascus when it came to my attitude towards parenting. I've found it easier and easier to remind myself that the little disasters are just "Bing Things", no big deal s after all.