|You might have heard of these things: They're called books.....|
There's a great deal in life that I don't understand.
The reason that aeroplanes don't fall from the sky, for instance, or why some motorists don't feel the need to indicate when turning left at a roundabout, or the science behind cheese becoming so much tastier once in its melted form, or Alan Carr.
Here's something else that - for me, at least - is beyond comprehension: In the UK, 3.8 million children don't own a single book.
That's one-in-three children.
I find that startling, and then some.
But it's true, this the finding of a report conducted at the National Literacy Trust that has also discovered - surprise, surprise - that a child's reading ability is directly linked to the number of books that can be found in and around the home environment.
I can take comfort from that, because The B&G have got books coming out of their ears.
Not literally, of course. That'd be painful.
There are, though, books aplenty, all around the house, as those enjoying our regular Fiction Fridays feature are sure to appreciate.
Here's the thing, though: There has never been a conscious decision to provide suitable reading matter.
It's just that that's what you're supposed to do as a parent, or at least, so I thought.
For me, books are as much a part of the essential child-rearing kit as wet wipes, anti-bacterial hand gel and fromage frais, so this I find staggering.
Baffling too, rather sad and more than a little shameful.
There are one or two other expressions that I'll not use here for fear of sounding like a Daily Mail columnist and let's face it, no-one aspires to that.
Just to say that, last month, I authored a blog post about Bookstart, another child literacy charity, in which I might, perhaps, have come across as being a little flippant in regard to their over-enthusiastic efforts.
I still contend that such initiatives are not for us.
But it's clear that there's a real need for this stuff: 3.8 million reasons, in fact.