Mommy, let’s read a story

children-reading-6-tnBefore having kids, I predicted that reading bedtime stories to them would be one of the highlights of parenting.

I was right: it’s ridiculously fun.  It’s a chance to indulge my English teacher/writer/closet actress sides while snuggling next to a very sweet little boy who smells of soap and who is getting progressively better at turning those thin non-boardbook pages.

After many many bedtime stories, though, I’ve learned that not all are created equal.  There are a few truisms about children’s literature that I’d like to share with you, if you will indulge me.  To wit:

1)  Any book based on a TV show is going to be beyond dull.  I mean, I pretty much love any and all books, but I’d rather empty the diaper pail than read something featuring Dora the Explorer or Bob the Builder.  Alas, there are evenings when my son is in the mood for TV spinoff literature with vapid dialogue and no narrative arc.  Sigh.

2)  Rhyming = good.  Do you know Chicka Chicka ABC?  FABULOUS book.  It’s quick and lively and my son adores it.  It’s got a terrific meter and great rhyme.  I’m always happy when he chooses that one.

3)  Thanks to technology, some books nowadays are all flash and no substance.  I offer  Little Lost Alien, one of my son’s current faves, as Exhibit A.  You push very hard on the button on the front cover and cool blue lights flash on each page.  Alas, the story — about an alien who gets lost because his spaceship runs out of gas and who refills it and goes on his way — is one of the lamest I’ve ever read.  The book has great special effects and zero plot.  It’s the summer blockbuster of children’s literature.

4) When it comes to sheer reading fun, nobody — and I mean NOBODY — beats Dr. Seuss.  He reigns supreme, now and forever.

So what are your thoughts about bedtime stories? Are there stories your kids love to read, or that you love to read them?  Did you have a favorite night-time book when you were a kid?  Any titles you’d recommend?

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