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Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Least Favorite Children's Book

I love children's books. And since you're here visiting my blog, you probably do too! But we all have likely read some children's books that we don't love as much as the rest. Perhaps it's a book that annoys you; perhaps it's a book whose message you don't agree with; maybe it's a book that was pushed on you in childhood and has left a bad taste in your mouth; perhaps it's a popular book that was hyped up and left you disappointed... There could be many reasons you don't care for a particular book.

I had a college professor that really dislikes I'll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, mainly because it makes her cry (Ha! Ha!), but also because she feels its nostalgic story line is appreciated more by mothers than children.

One if my least favorite children's books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. I'm not a fan of the flow of the story, especially not as an alphabet story. But I'm definitely in the minority, because it seems that everybody else loves this book. Maybe there's something about it I just don't get. Please enlighten me, readers!

I'm not advocating book-bashing here. My mission is to encourage reading, not discourage. And that's part of the reason I'm asking this question. I'm curious (as a teacher and mother) about what makes us not like a book. We're all different. We all have different tastes and preferences. I would love to know more about what makes us all tick when it comes to what we like and don't like in a book (especially as children).

So... What is (was) your least favorite children's book? And why? Share in the comments!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to comment anonymously simply because I don't want to bash a book, but I was honestly baffled by one today.

It's called "Hugging Hour." I read it to my daughter at the bookstore. She choose the book for the title, but only one sentence referred to his hour of hugs. That wasn't what the story was really about. Moreover, it was one of those books that tried to be quirky, but too many quirks made the story feel disjointed. My daughter didn't understand why the main character, a little girl about her age, would refer to herself as "Drool." Yeah, it sounds like "Drew" but drool is gross. It featured a Christmas sock but Christmas never arrived. It had a chicken wearing overalls, but no explanation for that, either. And the entire plot of the story was that this was Drool's first sleepover at Grandma's. She thought her parents abandoned her, so she was a sourpuss the entire time. The charming illustrations saved this book. I just wonder how and why it got published.

Book Chook said...

There are two types of children's books I really don't like. One is the kind that preaches. Most kids I know don't enjoy those either.

The other is the kind that rubs kids faces in the evils of society. While the latter may be okay for YA, I think we need to allow kids to BE kids, not encourage them to be pseudo-sophisticates.

Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

Could you give an example of how a book "rubs kids faces in the evils of society?" It can be a generic example if you would like. I'm just intrigued and want to know more about your thoughts on this. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't care for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom either! Tango for Two!!! I hate it! I asked the library to remove but they refused! Oh, well, I tried. I hate reading books that have appear to be innocent but they are not! You need to be careful about the messages some books send to kids.

The Almost Librarian said...

Like all of you, I don't like to book bash, but there was one title that jumped immediately to mind - My Dog, My Cat, My Mama and Me! by Nigel Grey. It's a lift-the-flap book about different family members (the dog, the cat and finally the mom) having babies. It's intended for preschoolers. I really dislike this book. I found the illustrations to be too boring/simple and the message within the text was bothersome to me. I don't have a copy of it in front of me, but it went along the lines of "And then mommy had the baby and now she's thin again." - this was after the dog was fat and then thin and the cat was fat and then thin. I don't know - I think there are better books about introducing a beautiful new baby into a family. But that's just my opinion!

harriet said...

How right you are. I was a very early reader and so were my children. One cannot assume the likes and dislikes of children. Before the age of 5, I was hooked on fantasy and fairy tales. My kids, when they first started listening to books LOVED books that drove me crazy. Tav loved Duck On a Truck; Mariah loved one of those horse books by Anderson. Kids need to lead rather than parents leading on deciding what goes in their personal libraries.

Book Chook said...

Amy, I was thinking of books or other media that present young kids (in my mind, under 12s) with themes of violence, abuse, drug culture.

Anonymous said...

I am a retired Reading Recovery Teacher. I love children's' books. I can't help myself at garage sales. I still purchase them (no grandchildren yet) just in case a child comes by that I can read with. I actually still do some tutoring. I do it because I love to read with children. Moreover, I confess that I use it as an excuse to experience the delight of reading children's books.
My favorite children's' book is The Story of Ferdinand. I love the irony of the strongest bull in Spain just wanting to sit under a cork tree and smell the flowers. I love his strength of character and determination and independence. I think that my least favorite book is.......I'll get back with you on that one.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" review of yours. I guess I had my hopes too high before reading this book for the first time last year. We even listened to the tape that came with it. My children this year are 3 or early 4, and they really didn't get it. My students really enjoy the stories about Anansi,a Jamaican folk tale, "Tiger Soup" and "Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock." They are longer but they seem to really engage the children.

Charlmarjo said...

I love children's books! My least favorite is The Giving Tree. It is the most depressing book I have ever read!