Also on the table were parts three and four of the Dingen (Things) series from Uitgeverij Gottmer. So what are these little volumes? They are toddler-proof cardboard booklets containing thirty-three square full-page photos and preferably no more than one word at the bottom of the page. The photos are a tiny bit emptier than reality, but there is not a trace of nostalgia about them. Every now and then they offer a surprising detail.
In books to be read aloud you get children to look at the pictures to explain the story. These Thing books aren’t books to be read aloud, they’re books to be looked at aloud. They make children look at language to explain the pictures. It’s all very open and interactive. To the panel these books were meat and drink. Naturally the talk was also about what fun they were for toddlers, but this appreciation was more than vicarious: even panel members were once toddlers.