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to think that Spot books are just really really badly written?

(151 Posts)
emkana Mon 04-May-09 22:27:20

I have to make up my own words to them.

And don't even get me started on the Mr.Men books. Hate them.

And as for Thomas the Tank Engine... they make me lose the will to live.

Makeda Thu 14-May-09 22:22:23

I'm with everyone on the scary Beatrix Potter with the roly poly pudding - my auntie used to do a terrifying Samuel Whiskers saying 'Anna Maria, Anna Maria' that still makes me feel funny...

Urtica Thu 14-May-09 21:23:25

Karabadangbaraka, I had to laugh at

<My dcs have always loved badly written, impossible to read aloud ...

and also, am reminded of how young my grandnieces were when their mom first started reading the (my) Ransome books to them. Emily must have been no more than 4 -- still at the clothes-dropping age that year-- I remember her and her older sister in a big cardboard box with restaurant-sized kitchen spoons for oars, scooting each other across the long polished floor of the lodge where we have the Family Fall Feast and Funfest shouting "Swallows and Amazons Forever."

So many of the books we knew when the DS was small have been dumbed down and bowdlerized out of all reason. The original Thomas the Tank Engine books, for instance. The DS didn't mind a bit that they were Victorian in style and tone, the train detail fascinated him. And us, though after the first hundred read-alouds we began pleading for The Bee-Man of Orne or Higgledy Piggledy Pop! or ANYTHING but Thomas again. The Richard Scarry books of that time (long ago and far away in the early 70's) were packed with detail and mischief -- all cut away now. (DS especially loved the toilet in the boat in the transportation book)

My mother turned up her nose at Beatrix Potter as "sentimental" -- turned out she'd never seen a real one, only the Disney-ized travesties available in the U.S. Midwest in the 40's. As field biologists we were entranced with the accuracy of Ms Potter's observations (and pictures), when we discovered the Real Peter Rabbit et al., and still are. About as sentimental as the DS, who when we were in England used to eat his rabbit stew saying "and here's Peter Rabbit's foot..."

PortoPandemico Fri 08-May-09 21:41:41

Mine actually wants to choose a book, then look at the pictures and make up her OWN stories. Is that bad or good?

piscesmoon Fri 08-May-09 15:27:05

It is very easy to edit out the bad-they are difficult to read with any expression or enthusiasm and DCs can work it out for themselves. Good books are a pleasure for all-they don't really know it is a good book until they experience the bad. I all for free choice which turns into natural selection.

piscesmoon Fri 08-May-09 15:27:00

It is very easy to edit out the bad-they are difficult to read with any expression or enthusiasm and DCs can work it out for themselves. Good books are a pleasure for all-they don't really know it is a good book until they experience the bad. I all for free choice which turns into natural selection.

apostrophe Fri 08-May-09 14:37:01

Message withdrawn

halia Fri 08-May-09 13:49:59

For those who ahve said you should read whatever your children want you to read....

Once DS can read he can chose his own books, whilst I have to sit and read to him at night he gets an edited selection!
I can veto 2 of his 3 choices if I don't like/feel up to that book tonight, if his third choice is something I hate I grit my teeth and read it. Mind you books I really loathe get disposed of pretty quickly.

I've no problem with simple or repetative prose but there are sme books out there written for kids which are just plain bad! badly written, bad messages, badly illustrated, boring etc etc. Why would I expose me and poor DS to them?

5Foot5 Fri 08-May-09 13:32:33

Spot is dull but my pet hate when DD was young were the Topsy and Tim books. These are so incredibly boring. The only levity we got from them was when DD got one from the library called "Topsy and Tim get itchy heads" (i.e. they caught nits) and DH and I had fun making uo similar titles for horrible things that might happen to the wretched T+T

Mrs Dinky and SomeGuy: I think the Oxford Reading Tree books are v good actually. Plenty of humour in them even for kids who can only read a few words. When DD was in reception they had the ORT series and another series with a king, queen, baby, big guard and little guard. Now they were stupefyingly dull. No wonder I have fonder memories of Biff and Chip when contrasted with those.

I do think that the touchy-feely books have a very limited appeal. My ds did like the That's Not My...books, and still occasionally gets one out, but is a bit lost after a couple of pages because they are so simple. And agree with HolidaysQueen about the characteristic often not being accurate, which I too find really annoying - particularly squashy, that never seems to actually be squashy!

I know this is supposed to be a thread about awful books, but can I just mention a truly fabulous book that we discovered at the library completely by accident? It's called "Bingo, The Best Dog in the World" and it's by Catherine Siracusa (Author) and Sidney Levitt (Illustrator). It's out of print now, and I believe it's actually a learning-to-read book, but my ds adores it and it was the first book with a proper story which he would sit down and actually listen to. Has anyone else heard of it? We love it so much, I bought a second-hand copy of it over the internet and had it sent over from the USA. It's very, very simple and yet there is something so appealing about both the story and the illustrations.

Hmmm, maybe we should have a thread about fabulous books that our dcs love - but not the obvious ones that everyone knows, a sort of word-of-mouth fab books thread!

PortoPandemico Fri 08-May-09 13:20:35

I bought level one of the ORT and was shocked to discover there were no words! I should have done more research but figured any learning to read scheme would involve, um, reading!

sazzerbear Fri 08-May-09 12:13:53

Thomas - boring, boring, shite. As for TTTE 2009 annual, it makes me want to slip into a coma - the stories are sooo tedious! Luckily DS now into Gruffalo so the Thomas book has disappeared!

jujumaman Fri 08-May-09 11:11:31

There are some vile books about the Little Terrors, kids at a primary school, they succeed in being complicated with thousands of characters AND mind-numbingly dull. I have just given the ones we have to a jumble sale grin so some poor other sucker well-meaning parent will have to endure them.

Love, love, love the Babar stories though some of them are virtually novel length. And Shirley Hughes is a genius

AramintaCane Fri 08-May-09 10:54:38

We hate Spot Mr Men and TTE but they do put kids to sleep - maybe that is why they made them so boring. Our only spot book accidentally slipped down the back of the bookcase our of reach. grin It was about a picnic. I can't remember why i hated it so much now.

piscesmoon Fri 08-May-09 10:53:47

Luckily mine never liked the Disney books or TV tie ins-I didn't refuse to read them, but they are difficult to read aloud and consequently quite boring to the DC.
I much prefer something like Bear Hunt where you can have fun with it, use lots of expression and get them to join in. I used to read to my younger brother when I was about 9 or 10 and I realised from that that they love lots of repetition, and he liked the same book over and over again and you couldn't miss out a single word or he put it in! My DCs were similar.
I love Winnie the Pooh but I think that you have to be older to appreciate the humour.
If you want your DC to love books I think you have to go with what they like and not what you think they should like. I actually hate The Elephant and the Bad Baby, mentioned earlier, but my DSs loved it.

AramintaCane Fri 08-May-09 10:48:30

PortandLemon poo on the curtains grin

HolidaysQueen Fri 08-May-09 10:31:49

portandlemon: poo on curtains? it sounds likes you may have experience of this. smile

to overanalyse even more, I think my problem is not the relative merits of a squashy nose versus shaggy ears per se, just that the nose wasn't very squashy, whereas the other puppy's ears were spectacularly shaggy. The not-so-squashy-nosed puppy probably had other attributes that were far more lovable and endearing but the author decided not to highlight these, or had already used them earlier in the book, so the poor puppy at the end is completely short-changed and the child then thinks "gah! i want the shaggy-eared one actually"

Or maybe it's just me wanting a shaggy-eared puppy and my DS couldn't give two hoots.

PortAndLemon Fri 08-May-09 10:02:14

Ah, HQ, but the underlying message of the That's Not My... books is hence that you don't need to be the best/prettiest/most attractive to be loved and valued. That puppy may not have shaggy ears or a rough tongue, but he and his squashy nose are loved and valued for themselves. The implications of this are probably terribly good for building a child's self-esteem and knowing they won't get traded in for a child with curlier hair or less of a propensity for getting poo on the curtains.

[just possibly overanalysing this a trifle emoticon]

HolidaysQueen Fri 08-May-09 09:14:16

Loving this thread, as I've just started serious amounts of reading with a suddenly book-obsessed 13mo DS, and I'm discovering how dreadful some books are (but fortunately many wonderful ones too).

I loathe That's Not My... Why is it that the one at the end, which should be the best in the book as it is 'mine' is invariably crap? I'm particularly thinking the puppy one where there is a fabulous shaggy-eared puppy on about page 3 which is rejected for one with a not-very-squashy squashy nose. Sigh.

I already can't bear tv tie-ins like INTG which are clearly just about making as much money as possible. Books should be about learning to read and love literature but they seem to increasingly be used as a relatively cheap way of getting kids obsessed with a character so that parents/family/friends then go out and spend a tonne of money on the more expensive toys, DVDs etc. Aaaargh!

piscesmoon Fri 08-May-09 09:05:52

I find it best to let them use the library and have a free choice.

piscesmoon Fri 08-May-09 09:04:48

Very often books that appeal to adults are not the ones that appeal to DCs.

Sunshinemummy Fri 08-May-09 08:59:38

That's why I like Bear Hunt because the repitition means they join in and it's interactive rather than me just reading to DS.

piscesmoon Fri 08-May-09 08:54:19

I read Bear Hunt to whole classes of infants and they love it because they can all join in.

junkcollector Thu 07-May-09 22:43:10

Astroboressaurs, Steve Cole... kill me now if I have to read another one!

Heated Thu 07-May-09 22:40:32

Dissension among MN ranks but we like Mr Men - but not Little Miss which are terrible, were those actually written by him? Also have to confess to having a Mr Happy original drawing by the man himself saying 'hello Heated' - in the downstairs loo grin

babybarrister Thu 07-May-09 22:31:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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