The Discover Children’s Story Centre on Stratford High Street is playing host to the endeavour (and will do until well into next year). A charity that has dedicated a large Edwardian building and garden to inspiring children and adults’ imagination and creativity, their downstairs studio space has been transformed into a series of scenes from some of Rosen’s most famous poems.
A brilliantly constructed and decorated set was full of little details and images that gave delight to both the kids and grown-ups who were there. Technically described as a ‘multi-sensory installation’, we were at first led by a ‘story-builder’ to embark upon one of Rosen’s most famous tales – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. We swish-swashed, squelch-squelched, splish-sploshed across until we found a cave and … the surprise was worth it.
This room also had a glass case containing a painful-looking cane that Rosen’s teacher actually used. There was the ‘Dread Shed’ from another of Rosen’s published works, and an enormous (sadly inedible) chocolate cake that housed a kitchen full of 1950s food and equipment. Each environment had some relevant and favourite poems of Rosen’s, and after twenty minutes each area had people playing, reading, smiling and laughing at the genius of his words and the inspirations behind them.The exhibition runs until April 2016, but on weekends there are six timed entry slots that need to be booked – and this is an outing that’s really worth making the time for. The Discover Centre is only a few minutes’ walk from Stratford station, which is connected to most of London these days.
As the winter draws in, for anyone with young families, you don’t need it to be a beautiful day to go hunting.