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Judith Kerr’s life is something to celebrate in dark times

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Are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin.

Or rather, let us press a button and leave the room. One in four parents have now delegated bedtime story-reading to a digital assistant like Alexa, according to a depressing little survey published this week, while two-thirds admit letting their children have screen time instead. For the genuinely burned-out parent, maybe it makes sense. But I do wonder what Judith Kerr – the much-loved author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the Mog series and other books no child should be without – would have made of it.

Her death this week has led to an outpouring of public sadness, that puzzling kind of grief felt for a stranger who turns out to have meant more than you knew. Partly it’s because her stories are so inextricably associated with the most intimate part of the parental day, that drowsy moment when they suddenly start talking about whatever has been on their minds all day. Darkness is falling, but somehow a story makes everything all right. And for those whose children are too grownup now to be read to at bedtime, she is a particularly poignant reminder of what is gone. When they’re tiny you long to skip to the end of the chapter, not realising how you’ll miss it when the book closes for good.

But this weekend of all weekends, as we wait to find out how far hard-right anti-immigrant parties have advanced into the heart of........

© The Guardian