Booktime to give away Eric Carle title

<p>All four- and five-year-olds in England are to receive a copy of an Eric Carle title as part of the government&#39;s Booktime programme.</p><p>More than 700,000 copies of Carle&#39;s <em>&quot;Slowly, Slowly, Slowly&quot; Said the Sloth </em>(Puffin) will be given away from this September as part of the Booktime initiative, which is funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). The scheme has given away 3.8m books to children since its launch in 2006. Last year&rsquo;s title was <em>Mr Big</em> by Ed Vere.<br /><br />The Booktime bookpacks will also contain a special abridged version of <em>Why is the Sky Blue?</em> (Ladybird), compiled and written by Geraldine Taylor and illustrated by Amy Schimler. The bookpacks also contain guidance for parents and carers on sharing books with children.<br /><br />Janice Thomson, a senior editor at Puffin Picture Books, said &quot;[<em>Slowly</em>] is a book that any child would want to own&mdash;the artwork is stunning and the use of language both child-friendly and adventurous.&quot;<br /><br />Viv Bird, chief executive of Booktrust, which administers Booktime, said: &quot;At Booktrust we are extremely proud of the continued success of Booktime and delighted that this September, thanks to the support of the DCSF and Pearson, reception-aged children across the country will once again receive a gift of a free book pack, a timely reminder of the importance - and fun - of sharing books with children even after they start primary school.&quot;</p><p>Booktrust also looks after the Bookstart programme for babies and toddlers, and Booked Up, for year seven pupils. <br /><br /> </p>