He added: “They [children] learn because they want to. The emotional motivation is immensely strong: no one should be turning their back on that.”
He told the Telegraph he had read Oliver Twist at a young age and was put off Dickens for "another ten years" before learning to love it.
"You should be reading serious books but the appropriate age," he said.
"There is a sort of intimacy about drawings. If you are small, you feel that they're addressing you; it's like a conversation.
"These things develop people's feelings about books and about reading."