Chapter 3

Life in the distillery

Shaping and producing child-centred art and early years writing involves a process of distillation (as a Scotsman I would say that, wouldn't I?). It is the slow extraction of the essence that is the story from the mass of images, ideas, research and other material ingredients gathered to produce it. Because, to put it quite simply, a picture book (say) is not a little story, it's a big story told short and this is really crucial to grasp. Much has to be said and done in less than eight hundred words and thirty-two pages (a gold star for guessing why thirty-two pages1). And writing this book as a critical exposé of such a process, as a detailed critical exegesis, as an accompanying and justifying, critical narrative ...

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