Books featuring naughty children create a neutral space for children to explore the consequences of bad behaviour – just look at Kes Gray and Nick Sharratt's Eat Your Peas
My four-year-old adores David Shannon's No, David! As we read the book, he revels in the terrible things that David does but, because we share them and I seem to like them too, he also feels that it is a permissible kind of behaviour. He certainly imitates it – we've had muddy footprints tramped across the carpet – and wants me to say "No Alex!" just as David's mum does. Do books like this encourage children – and their parents – to normalise more challenging behaviour? If so, is that a useful talking point or is it just a bad example for children to follow? I'm struggling with it! – Iva, mother of four-year-old Alex
In No, David!, David's terrible behaviour – splashing all the water out of the bath and filling his mouth with food to make it look like a volcano, for example – elicit the only two words of the text: No, David! from his mother.