Jolly Young England
Grandma, Mom and Simon, age 8, went to London, England in the springtime. Being a librarian’s child meant lots of reading beforehand for Simon! Here are some of our favourites which are all available at Calgary Public Library.
Frommer’s guides have sections for kids’ top attractions. In the case of London, they have a guidebook aimed at families, with attractions rated and suggested itineraries. Frommer’s London with Kidsby Rhonda Carrier helped us find a good place to stay.
Daily Life in Ancient and Modern London by Betany Toht is a 60 page kids’ information book with excellent pictures. It gave us an historical timeline so Simon could understand the buildings he was seeing.
So many children’s’ books are set in London that it’s hard to pick a best novel. Perhaps you might reread a favourite from your childhood together. Simon picked Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. There are London walking tours for the most devoted Rowling fans.
In the picture book section, you can find Will’s Quill, or How a Goose Saved Shakespeare by Don Freeman. The watercolour paintings show London in the 1500’s, and would be a good introduction if you planned on touring the rebuilt Globe Theatre.
Adults may want to watch the recent Sherlock Holmes DVD with Robert Downey Jr. Even if you don’t like the action-filled story, the London sets are incredible. (Sherlock Holmes (DVD)] Warner Home Video, 2009)
Simon’s favourite London activities:
· Listening to the kids’ audio tour at the British Museum. Mummies, Greek statues, Easter Island heads, strange little chess pieces, gold hoards, and a fake crystal skull!
· Visiting Hamleys - an entire department store of toys! Simon’s reaction? “I need a little alone time with Grandma!”
· Taking the train to Windsor for the day to visit Legoland.
· The Imperial War Museum has displays geared to kids, and a great bookshop. Simon bought The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tipsby Michael Morpurgo, and devoured the novel about a cat evacuated from his home on the south coast of England as preparations were made for the D-Day invasion.
· We saved the London Eye observation wheel for last so we could point out all the places we had been. Take a peek in the Queen’s backyard!