I’ve always loved reading, and I know how important it is to read to children, so of course my daughter has a well-stocked bookshelf. What I didn’t consider was that even the best children’s book loses something when you have to read it hundreds of times. I don’t even need to look at the pages to read the books anymore, which is helpful because I can do other things, like compose a shopping list in my head or think about all the chores that won’t get done.
There are certain books that every (American) parent *must* read to their children, which is unfortunate, because man are some of them boooring. In no particular order, here is a review of some of the books I’ve read many times out loud.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Let me tell you, on Saturday, this caterpillar knows how to party. Salami, cupcakes, chocolate cake, ice cream, and pickles? Yes please. A decent balance of sweet and salty. Add in a beer and this is like my perfect birthday all-day meal. I think the book could dwell a little more on what exactly happens between the cocoon stage and the butterfly stage, so in case you wanted to know what that’s all about, here’s a nice article and video. (Morbid adult parody version: The Very Hungry Zombie.)
I know this book is supposed to be a “classic,” but can it be re-released with some better interior designing? Where do you even buy ketchup-red carpet, and how do you then decide to pair it with shamrock-green paint? Also, how about you not keep your comb and brush so close to your bowl of mush? That seems like an ill combination. I try to keep all of my bowls of mush in the kitchen, where it won’t be quite a disaster if my daughter wants to paint with her food. (Possibly better nerdy parody version: Goodnight Darth Vader.)
If You Give a Dog a Donut
This book goes something like, “If you give a dog a donut, he’ll want apple juice to drink with it!” Umm that is fucking gross. I don’t like reading this book because I can’t get past that gag-inducing thought of pairing sugary drinks with frosted donuts. How about, don’t give your dog a donut, and if he requests apple juice, just be like, “Dude, no.” Unbelievably, I bought a whole box set of these “If you give a [animal] a [food]” which is unnecessary because they’re all the same plot. (I couldn’t find a parody version so just eat a bag of salty chips instead.)
This book (and all of the others by Matthew Van Fleet) are great for toddlers who like to touch and interact with their books. They’re also horrible for toddlers who like to touch and interact with their books because there are so many parts to break off! I own a few of these books and all of them have at least one thing that doesn’t work anymore because it’s been played with too much. Plus, I feel like the author spent all of his time designing the books (which are pretty cool) and not so much time on the meter of the rhymes, because the phrases are so clumsy and awkward.
Green Eggs and Ham
I get the message of this book. Just try something before you make up your mind whether you like it because you might be surprised! But it feels like it takes too many pages to make a point. At the end of the night, I’m tired, and I dread reading Dr. Seuss books for that reason, because right when I start thinking, “Is this over yet?” there are way too many pages left. Just eat the damn green eggs and ham already, we know you like it! DO ITTTT. (Here’s the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal take on the book.)
Have you seen what Mallory Ortberg does to children’s books?
So much fun, er, well. Fun is a relative term, right??
Haha, I had not seen that. I really love this: http://the-toast.net/2014/01/08/give-the-mouse-nothing/
“If you give a mouse a cookie,
your life will no longer be your own.
You will never again know peace;
you have already given in.”