According to The Guardian, several publishers are planning to put recommended age ranges on the covers of their children’s books.
It strikes me as an earnest but dumb idea. How do you categorise Enid Blyton, whose continuing popularity depends on children whose reading age is racing ahead of their emotional maturity? How do you keep the slow reader reading when the only suitable material is branded for significantly younger children?
And who the hell knows what’s age-appropriate anyway? At 11 I was reading Richmal Crompton, Ian Fleming, R M Ballantyne and The Rocket Ship Saboteurs. And by 13 I’d discovered Alfred Bester and had a go at Joyce’s Ulysses.
Didn’t get very far, but there was no one to tell me I shouldn’t.
But then, this isn’t about reading. It’s about buying. Every book I mentioned, I found in the Library. It cost me nothing to explore.