Before 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. Â 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. Â There are a few truisms about children’s literature that I’d like to share with you, if you will indulge me. Â To wit:
1) Â Any book based on a TV show is going to be beyond dull. Â 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. Â Alas, there are evenings when my son is in the mood for TV spinoff literature with vapid dialogue and no narrative arc. Â Sigh.
2) Â Rhyming = good. Â Do you know Chicka Chicka ABC? Â FABULOUS book. Â It’s quick and lively and my son adores it. Â It’s got a terrific meter and great rhyme. Â I’m always happy when he chooses that one.
3) Â Thanks to technology, some books nowadays are all flash and no substance. Â I offer Â Little Lost Alien, one of my son’s current faves, as Exhibit A. Â You push very hard on the button on the front cover and cool blue lights flash on each page. Â 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. Â The book has great special effects and zero plot. Â 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. Â 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? Â Did you have a favorite night-time book when you were a kid? Â Any titles you’d recommend?
Image courtesy of karenswhimsy.com.