Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy is 30 years old this year, which makes it just a little bit younger than me. I love being able to read books with my boys that I enjoyed as a child and I still have my old copy of this book. Published by Walker, I’m not sure but I think mine might be a first edition. If so, I think I’d better supervise my boys with it a bit better, saying that it has lasted 30 years unscathed!
This is the story of Mrs Large, a mummy elephant to three young elephants. We start at the breakfast table, a messy affair for any family with little people. Mrs Large, desperate for 5 minutes’ peace, takes a tray of tea, toast and cake up to the bathroom for a bath. On her own. Or at least, that’s her plan… Her three little elephants soon notice her sneaking off and follow her up to the bathroom. One by one they all traipse in wanting to play with their mummy. And, as mummies do, she lets them. Until they eventually all end up in the bath with her.
My bigger boy really likes this story and asks for it again and again, his favourite part is when all the children end up in the bath with their mummy splashing and making a mess!
I remember the illustrations from this book so vividly, particularly the delicious looking bun that Mrs Large takes off to the bathroom. They are sweet and endearing and 30 years later my boys are enjoying them just as much as I did.
It’s funny to read this again as a mummy, I remember reading it as a child and thinking that Mrs Large was a bit grumpy sneaking off with cake rather than playing and I was really happy that all the children managed to get in to the bathroom. Now I can totally sympathise of course!
This book captures real life perfectly, just in trying to write this blog post I have been asked for multiple things; to get a snack, a drink, play a game, play with the baby and look at a magnetic robot. Of course I have stopped to do all of them because such is the life of a mummy. I’ve been a mummy for three and a half years and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I never knew something could be so frustrating and wonderful at the same time! There are days when I would love 5 minutes’ peace or even just the 3 minutes and 45 seconds that Mrs Large manages to snatch. However, it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done and I wouldn’t change it, not for anything. I’m sure Mrs Large feels the same.
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