Thursday, 14 July 2011

Kid's Books That Don't Make You Twitch

I love reading to my kids.  Most of the time.  The thing about reading to your kids is that you are forced to read the same story to them over and over and over until it is permanently imprinted on your brain and you find that you can no longer remember the words to the National Anthem (*cough* Christina Aguilera) yet you can repeat One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish word for word.  
This can be a good thing.  Like when you are stuck in an airport and you can entertain all the cranky children by acting out The Cat in the Hat, thereby winning the affections of all the other passengers on the plane – two of whom happen to be Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes who then swear their undying gratitude to you for amusing Suri and preventing her temper tantrum that would surely have graced the pages of the National Inquirer.  And before you know it you have a part in Tom’s next movie.  
Back in reality, reading kids books ad nauseum can be a real pain in the ass when you’re stuck reading mind-numbingly boring, ridiculously rhymed books about personified woodland creatures for hours on end.  And unfortunately, these types of books make up the majority of what you will find in most book stores.  I refer to these types of books as kid’s crap books.
Right now I am so fed up with all the kid’s crap books it is not funny.  I am particularly fed up with kid’s crap books that are based off of T.V. shows or movies, which are the worst kind of kid’s crap books.  Our kids see these books with their favourite characters on them and beg us to buy them, yet the books only contain dribble that some publishing house lacky was forced to adapt from some screenplay.  Most of the time the ‘adaptation’ doesn’t even make sense.  In a Curious George ‘adaptation’ that we (unfortunately) own, the writer (and I use that term loosely) wrote that “The man with the yellow hat sat George down with some paper and a pad.”  So let me get this straight - basically the man gave the monkey some paper and some more paper?  Either that or the man is teaching his monkey about feminine hygiene and this just became an entirely different kind of book.  I think the writer meant to say that the man gave George some paper and a PEN.  Which is something this so-called writer should really be banned from using. 
The worst part is that these commercial books end up hogging most of the shelf space at any book store.  While the great books, the ones that you don’t mind reading 6,493,502 times are relegated to some dusty corner or are not there at all.  Which makes it really hard to find a good kids books.  
Currently, out of our collection of kids books there are only three that I actually enjoy reading to my kids.  Three. Which is like 0.002% of the kids books we own.  Maybe I am the problem – maybe I am too picky.  All I ask of a good kid’s story is that it is creative, unique, has lovable characters, a moral, and allows me to do funny voices while reading it.  Is that really too much to ask?  Apparently so.
Here are the three books that make the cut:
                The Terrible, Horrible, Smelly Pirate by Carrie Muller and Jacqueline Halsey. 
                Bounce and Beans and Burn by Shannon Murray. 
                Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? By Lauren Child. 
I will not bore you by summarizing these books for you here – sufficed to say, these books rock.  No one is paying me to say this – I don’t get any commission if you go out and buy them.  I share these with you here in the hope that you will all have great books memorized in case you encounter TomKat on a plane.  And in return, hopefully you all will fill me in on some of the other great kids books that I know are out there but have not been able to find amidst the droves of Dora and Disney books that I am drowning in.  Seriously - if I have to read any more kid’s crap books I swear I will start to twitch.  And then I wouldn’t be able to be in Tom’s next movie after all.

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