October Column: Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

October 02 2012

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on the Bookstart organisation

October Column: Jacob Rees-Mogg MP

Jacob Rees-Mogg MPLast week I went to Stanton Drew to join the pre-school group to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bookstart.

This is a national organisation which works locally thanks to funding from Bath & North East Somerset Council and the enthusiasm of the local team led by Dagmar Blows. Its aim is to develop a lifelong love of books in children.

The programme starts by giving a pack to babies between the ages of three to six months and then again to children of three to four years.

The event I joined was focused around the Bookstart Bear who put in a personal appearance. This helped to engage the children, who were clearly excited, even a little nervous, to see a jolly, life-size teddy bear celebrating his 20th birthday with a cake inside which was a fairy cake for each child.

Once the celebrations were over the reading began. The story was about the big bad wolf, who is a regular visitor to West Harptree as my three-year-old daughter loves the tale. It was read to the children with the help of glove puppets and I was cast as the wolf, who I fear ended up sounding a bit like Winston Churchill. Fortunately, all the pigs survived and lived happily ever after.

The great historian Edward Gibbon referred to “my early love of reading, which I would not exchange for the treasures of India”.

Bookstart helps incubate the same in our young, it is a noble aim which will produce the best writers of the future.