I never read this book when I was a boy, and my children missed out on it too. I read it for the first time recently, and this weekend tried it out on my two grandchildren aged five and seven. They've never heard of Ted Hughes, and don't know what a poet laureate is, but they know a good story when they hear one. They came down from the ceiling, sat still and quiet, listened spellbound for the duration, then went happily off to sleep. The next 'night' I only had to mention The Iron Man and they were ready for it. What more could you ask from a children's book? The 'nights' are just long enough for reading to children as bedtime stories, and the language is simple enough for youngish children to be able to read it themselves. Even granddads can enjoy it.