I am incredibly picky about children's books. This isn't surprising, since M and I spend a good bit of time each day reading to the Numa and if you have ever had a child pick a terrible book as a favorite, you know how long those sessions can feel. He has gotten some truly awful books in the past, either from me because the description sounded good or as gifts from people who hone in on his current favorite thing and choose a book solely for its inclusion of that thing. For instance, he is really into cats (probably because we have two of them) and a good friend got him How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? People really seem to like this series and as an adult, I understand the concept of presenting the wrong way of doing something immediately followed by the right way to illustrate a point. However, I happen to think that the beginning of this book is just mean and has the potential to inspire bad behaviors. When I got to the part about "giving the cat a throw," I immediately put this one in the Goodwill pile.
Another beloved book that I just cannot stand is Pat the Bunny. My Amazon review provides a summary of my impressions:
Not only is it boring, it's also overpriced and cheaply made
I am at a complete loss as to why this book is a classic. Is it just because it has been around so long? The story is non-existent and the language is halting and awkward (and yes, I get that repetition is good for language development, but not if you can't stand to read it more than once). "Bunny is eating his good supper." Really? In addition to it's lack of charm, the book itself is cheaply made, smells funny and can be unsafe, as the plastic binder is easily removed by determined little hands. There are far better books for $10.
According to the one comment generated by my review, I am "over-analyzing just a smidge" but I don't think so. Who wants to own books for their toddlers that are uninteresting, cheaply made and smell like drugstore perfume?
On to my point...my new favorite kid's book is The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. The language in the book is engaging and lively and the cast of characters gives me the opportunity to do multiple voices, which Numa loves. He especially enjoys my Gruffalo voice, and we both end up laughing so hard we cry every time I read it. I love the cadence, I love the drawings and I love the mouse, who is crafty and creative. I highly recommend this book and am going to order The Gruffalo's Child even though the reviews aren't quite as good.
Here's hoping you are reading a book you love tonight.