Mrs W at http://www.clinicallyfedup.com made me laugh out loud with her latest blog post, about children’s books she can’t stand reading to her son (albeit for nice reasons – there’s one about a little boy and his toy duck that has her choking back sobs). It made me think about books I baulk at reading to my kids at bedtime, for various reasons. Namely:
Thomas the Tank Engine stories
I bought a few of these for my son thinking they’d be just like the cuddly TV series, but they actually bang on really tediously about sidings, axles and coupling rods. One of the stories is about an engine who commits a minor misdemeanour – I think he’s a bit vain about his new coat of paint or something – and for that, he’s bricked up in a tunnel. ‘But I think he deserved it, don’t you?,’ says the Reverand W Audrey. Very Christian of you, Vicar.
The Rainbow Magic fairy series
I know many of you will share my pain here. Whether you’re reading Ruby the Red Fairy, Thea the Thursday Fairy or Bella the Bunny Fairy, it doesn’t matter, the plot is exactly the same every time. Rachel and her sappy friend Kirsty – who both appear to have had their personalities surgically removed – are at Brownie camp/putting on a pantomime/taking part in a swimming gala. Then along comes naughty Jack Frost and his goblins, who nick the magic tent pegs/tap shoes/swimming goggles… I can’t help thinking that if this was a series for boys, Rachel and Kirsty would kill Jack Frost with an axe in book one and have done with it.
Any reading book from school that’s fact- rather than story-based
My fault, entirely – my son (age 6), who’s not the most emotionally literate of children, kept being given stories that stretched his understanding. After one lovely, lyrically written Irish legend about a selkie, which went over his head like a 747, I wrote ‘A bit poetic for his tastes?’ in the parents’ book. (Yes, I know, that makes me sound a complete twunt.) Anyway, as punishment, my son got ‘Making a Book’. It looked like a corporate brochure for Dorling Kindersley – lots of photographs of middle-aged people in suits, captioned, ‘The Managing Editor’, ‘the Designer’, ‘The Copy Editor,’ etc. And page after dull page of info about the book-production process: ‘The “editor” passes the “page proofs” to the “indexer”, who compiles a list of everything in the book’. Okay, I give in! Bring back the selkie!
Ooh, that’s all horribly negative and BOBish (please see my last post). I do like some things, honestly: Lauren Child, anything by Julia Donaldson, Horrid Henry. And fluffy bunnies. And sunshine. And the colour orange…