After the Harry Potter block-buster, many writers will have mumbled, "Hmm, I could do that. Can't be that difficult to write for children."
But what do children find equally riveting now they've put down Harry Potter 7? For inspiration and to further my own chances of being able to cast Colin Firth in something I whipped up in the corner of a café, I leafed through some childrens` books of my mum's from the 1920s. Surely what excited children then would excite them now too, wouldn't it? Or would it...
Here`s one complete story from "The Big Book for Tinies" (late 1920s):
"One morning when Betty woke, the snow was falling, falling. She went to the window. The streets were all white. The milk girl was coming along, and she was all white.
"You must get dressed quickly, Betty," said her mother. "It is cold."
Betty remembered something. It was Jenny's birthday, and she was to go to the party. Jenny lived across the common.
"Oh dear!" said Betty and she wished the snow would stop.
All morning the snow fell. At dinnertime it stopped. Harry came in from school, and he said, "I am afraid Betty will not be able to go to the party, Mummy. The snow is very deep."
"Oh dear!" said Betty, and she sat in the window seat and looked at the snow, and wished it would go away.
After dinner Betty said, "Please, Mummy, if I cannot go to the party, what can I do?"
"I'll tell you what," said Harry. "Mummy, suppose I take Betty on my back to Jenny's house, on the way to school?"
When Betty was ready Harry took her on his back and carried her over the common to Jenny's house.
"Well, I never!" said Jenny's mother. "That is very clever of you, Harry."
Gosh. That was thrilling.
Nothing like some good old stereotypes: a helpless heroine, a strong hero and a doting mum. Oh, and an absent father.
Well, actually that`s quite a good basis for a modern story: Dad`s in prison, Jenny`s a partying chav, Harry (Colin) could encounter a monster whilst crossing the common and then have his evil way with the milk girl. Yes, I can feel a good YA novel coming on. But Betty is not Hermione. Any ideas?