Screw Reading

Here’s today’s parenting tip: Do not read to your child, especially if you value your sanity.

I don’t know why I was in such a hurry for my kid to like books. Obviously I didn’t remember just how mind-numbingly boring most books aimed at small children are. MIND NUMBINGLY BORING. We’re not talking classics like Little House on The Prairie or Where the Wild Things Are or even Harold and the Purple Crayon He’s Probably Going To Fall On and Accidentally Stab Through His Eyeball Because He’s Not Very Smart. Those are stories. The crap aimed at the diaper-wearing crowd is just colors and noises infused with some sort of toddler-brain crack that gets them hooked and then you’re forced to read the same eight words over and over and over to avoid the horrible toddler crack brain withdrawal meltdown that ends when you give in and slowly shove bamboo splinters under your own nails while pointing out the doggie and the ball and the triangle and the cloud and the DEAR GOD PLEASE TAKE ME NOW.

Seriously, HIDE THE BOOKS.

Or if you still want to be a “Good Parent” and encourage “literacy” and “education” and all that BS, just read to them from adult books you actually enjoy – and avoid these in particular:

Trucks Go by Steve Light


I can keep going if you want. I’ve got the damn thing memorized.

Unless you want truck noises taking up valuable space in your brain for the rest of your life, never ever ever let your kid see this book. The bright colors and the random noises are immensely entertaining to small children while being seizure inducing in sane adults.

Baby Einstein Let’s Look!: First Look and Find

I did not buy this book. Obviously the “friend” who gave it to me clearly isn’t a “friend” at all, since I wouldn’t give this to my worst enemy. It’s actually a whole set of terrible books with these crazy unidentifiable animals dressed as people (anteater? REALLY? my toddler is supposed to know that?) doing ridiculous things while you read poetry even less well written than “There once was a man from Nantucket” and encourage your child to point at the red birdie and the blue drum and the…what the heck is that? A telescope? You want my baby to find a TELESCOPE? How about we work on basic body parts before we get to astronomy equipment, mmkay?

I usually just throw this one behind a chair. Somehow Baby Evan keeps finding it anyway.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Williams

Don’t let the fancy awards and accolades and reviews on Amazon fool you. Right in the middle of the rather disturbing tale of a child whose horrible, careless father LOSES her beloved stuffed animal there are three pages of NOISES. Yelling noises. Noises that will make your kid laugh hysterically and cause him to bring you this book over and over and over until you’re tempted to just “lose” it in the washing machine too.

Bee tee double you: Can someone PLEASE tell me how to say “Knuffle Bunny”???? Is it a silent K like knife? Is it “kan-uffle?” I need to KNOW these things so I don’t send my kid to preschool totally confused. WARS HAVE BEEN FOUGHT OVER LESS THAN THIS.

Monkey About with Chimp and Zee by Catherine and Laurence Anholt

There is a page in this book that says you should lick it. LICK IT. I’m even more disturbed because this too is a hand-me-down book, which means someone else has probably licked it. The rest of it’s not that bad – very short – but that’s sort of like saying “Well yes, the meal at that restaurant was lovely besides the part where I found a pubic hair in my salad.”

Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

The whole book is just stuff that rhymes with “who”. Moo, zoo, boo, choo-choo. It takes approximately 24 seconds to read the entire thing (even including the baby kissing the mirror on the last page because he luuuurves the bebeh in the book). Which means you can read the whole thing approximately 150 times in an hour. And you will. Better get those bamboo shoots ready for your fingernails. Or at least some special Mommy-juice.

A Child’s Good Night Book by Margaret Wise Brown

Don’t let the adorable illustrations and calming words and the charming bedtime prayer at the end fool you. This book is…short…and…nice…and…OK, fine. This is pretty much my favorite kid’s book ever. We read it when we wake up. We read it at naptime. E reads it to Baby Evan before bed. And I would happily read this fourteen bazillionty times a day – no stupid rhymes, no goo-goo-ga-ga, no talking down to children, no activities. Just beautiful words and pictures and a few minutes with a peaceful baby in my lap. Damn you Margaret Wise Brown and your fantastic children’s books.

I guess maybe I’ll keep reading to my kid after all.

(Disclaimer: The links above are through my Amazon Associates account. So if for some TOTALLY INEXPLICABLE REASON you decide you actually want to purchase any of these terrible terrible books I get something like three cents commission. Which isn’t even close to enough money to pay for the shrink I need to see to get the damn garbage truck out of my brain.)

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19 Responses to “Screw Reading”

  1. Londonmum says:

    ahhha h ahhha – this made me laugh so much. I love reading and I really want my boy to love books too. If only I could skip through this phase though. Guess you can’t really do that and go straight to Where the Wild things are though, huh?

    • bebehblog says:

      I even TRIED. When he was just a lump without opinions I read Wild Things over and over. But as soon as he could pick out his own books it was back to effing TRUCKS GO.

  2. Amanda says:

    I am SOOOOO happy you LOVE all the books we passed on! I am pretty sure Mad didn’t lick the monkey book. Pretty sure. I think. Most likely not.

    And at least I am not reading those books over, and over, and over again!

  3. MKP says:


    Wait until you get to the very hungry caterpillar. Also I recommend “We’re Going On a Bear Hunt,” and “The Man with Many Hats” or whatever it was called. WORST (i.e. best) childhood memories ever.

  4. Leah says:

    This. So, so this. I want to read Guess How Much I Love You, Corduroy and Animalia

    Calder wants to read That’s Not My Dinosaur and That’s Not My Dinosaur. Not only do I have it memorized, he does too. Why can’t they all be his dinosaur?! Are we teaching our children to discriminate against other, less fuzzy dinosaurs?

    • bebehblog says:

      That’s not my dinosaur, his teeth are too bumpy! One of the places we hang out fairly often has that book and Baby Evan loves it. Thank God it’s not in my house. Although we do have That’s Not My Reindeer. Apparently there’s a whole series of books teaching discrimination based on physical appearance.

  5. It’s a universal truth; Baby Einstein = Evil

  6. Robyn says:

    Amy at Papoose read Knuffle Bunny to us during my baby-signs workshop and pronounced it “Nuffle”…FWIW :).

  7. sarrible says:

    It’s pronounced Ka-nuffle by my friends who know the author. And it is called a CAUTIONARY tale for a reason…clearly you need the sequel.

  8. As much as I loved it in the beginning, I hid Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? I bring it out in emergencies only. I can’t stand it. It did make for some fun vacation games. I asked my sister, Sister, Sister what do you see? And she answered, I see a martini looking at me. Cocktails make that book much better.

  9. Amy says:

    Mia turns the pages of the books too fast, so I have never read every word of any of them. I do have a very very old copy of The Red Balloon and it is her FAVORITE book ever, except she will only sit still for the first 2 pages and then she’s off again. She does love pointing at the balloons though.

  10. brigidkeely says:

    “Brown Bear Brown Bear” doesn’t grate on my nerves as much as I thought it would, and is one of the books Niko likes to hear 4 or 5 times IN A ROW. I encourage him to make animal noises, though, and he says “mew mew mew” in a hilarious, high pitched voice when he sees the purple cat.

    “Please Baby Please” by Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee is really good. I totally don’t mind reading it over and over and over again.

  11. Audrey says:

    Ev’s favorite book is Spike Lee’s Please Baby Please. Which I like. And it’s cute how he reads it to himself now and says “babybabybaby”. But it can get tiresome reading all of those “please baby baby baby” repetitions on each page.

  12. Our bedtime book, which I really like is Mommy Loves Her Baby/Daddy Loves His Baby. Its pretty cool because you read the Daddy story, then flip the book over and read the Mommy story. They read it at story time and I just loved it and had to have it!!! Here it is on Amazon!

  13. Queenjulie says:

    Knuffle Bunny is evil death. Seriously. Anyone who gives my kid that book is getting defriended. Brown Bear, Brown Bear is less bad than you might think, but some of the follow-ups are awful. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? has grammar that is so bad it makes my teeth hurt.

  14. […] to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginSuzanne of Bebehblog did a post some time ago about the books she was sick of reading to her son. I remember being […]

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