What books do you just suffer through reading to your kids?

For some reason my 5-year-old LOVES the Rainbow Magic Special Edition Fairy books – such as “Shannon the Ocean Fairy,” and I absolutely hate these books. This particular book was all about fairies and goblins in water rescuing pearls. The girl’s poor grandmother has no idea where she is, and it’s just so poorly written.

The Fairy books are mostly long chapter books (like 160 pages) and she loves to check them out from the school library even though she cannot read them yet. (She can read but not 160-page chapter books.) So that means we get to read them to her.  Now I don’t mind reading to my kids. They have all three been read to plenty but these books are just awful.

The book was overdue because none of us wanted to read it to her. (I kept trying to get Rose to read it to her, but she wouldn’t bite.) So just to get the book returned the school library I read her more than 50 pages of it last night before bed. She was thrilled. I was miserable. By the last 20 pages I was making judgmental noises at the end of each page. It was just so bad!

I also am stunned that the “Percy Jackson” author Rick Riordan even got published. I think he writes like a 16-year-old. It pains me to listen to his books on CD in the car with the kids. But both of my big kids read him voraciously. (Michael actually thinks that J.K. Rowling is a terrible writer. He thinks she repeats herself in her prose and beats you over the head explaining stuff.)

Are there popular book series for kids that you just cannot stand to read to them? Which are your least favorite to share with them?

47 comments Add your comment

DB

December 11th, 2012
2:01 am

I absolutely hated “The Rainbow Fish”. Someone gave it to my daughter, and yes, it was a pretty book, with the holographic scales, etc. But I always called it “The Communist Fish” when I said anything to my husband about it. Yes, I know it was supposed to be about “pride” and “sharing” — but what I saw was a story that said that the only way to make jealous, spiteful people like you was if you stooped to their level and didn’t try to excel in any way. I know, I know — way too much philosophical attributions to a children’s story. But I would hide the book at bedtime, if I possibly could.

But, hands down, the WORST “children’s” book has GOT to be “Alfie’s House”, written by that crackpot Richard Cohen. I read it at a book fair one day and felt like I had to wash my hands after just picking up the book. The topic matter – child abuse and sexual orientation — may be relevant to high schoolers or even mature middle schoolers, but I cannot understand for the life of me why the author felt the need to publish an anti-gay book for elementary age kids.

Misty

December 11th, 2012
2:02 am

If she can’t read those yet, make up the story as you go. I don’t have kids but have done my fair share of babysitting. By the way, that only works for kids who can’t read those ‘big’ books yet.

cobbmom

December 11th, 2012
7:04 am

Dave Pilkey books in general but boys LOVE them. When my son was 3-5 he thought Captain Underpants was the greatest thing written. He could read most of them by himself and enjoyed reading them to me.

Mayhem

December 11th, 2012
7:39 am

Does Michael ever read to the kids?

Me

December 11th, 2012
7:43 am

I am not going to suffer through reading a book that I cannot stand. Had one of mine wanted a book that badly then they could have waited until they could read it first-hand — call it incentive for learning to read. We all have made sacrifices for our children but I’m simply not going to punish myself to that extent to give them something of that nature.

homeschooler

December 11th, 2012
8:01 am

I always hated reading the Magic School Bus books. LOVE the content and love the shows but HATE those books with all the little extra things to read and they were just so boring for me. My son loved them. He was so scientific minded but he was behind in reading so when he was about five or six I would read these to him and he would just suck up the information but..ugh I hated them. As a matter of fact I hated almost anything I read to my son. He never wanted stories. He wanted me to read to him about things like tornados or steam engines or how to build a V-8 motor (okay, kidding about the motor thing but he probably would have liked it).

@DB.. Totally agree about the Rainbow Fish. Read it. Refused to buy it and I never read it to my kids.

Pinkalicous made me a little crazy but that’s only because I read it over 2000 times.

My favorite chapter books that I read to my kids (besides the obvious classics like Charlotte’s Web or Indian in the Cupboard) were the Magic Tree House books. I always enjoyed reading them. Nothing special about the writing but they always had a little something for everyone. My son loved the history behind the stories and my daughter loved the stories. Good times.

Jessica

December 11th, 2012
8:23 am

I don’t like “I Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. It’s a sweet book, right up until the aging mother breaks into her grown son’s home to cuddle him while he sleeps. That’s just bizarre.

MamaS

December 11th, 2012
8:29 am

The Geronimo Stilton series. There must be at least 50 books about that miserable mouse! They are way too long for the tiny little plot they have – Geronimo has a Valentine Party, Geronimo goes for a walk, etc. Who cares?! My grandson — he loves the varying type styles, the colors and the pictures.

Renee

December 11th, 2012
8:40 am

Sir Maggie the Mighty. Nothing wrong with it, but I had to read it a few million times. I think I can still recite it verbatim.

Dadx3

December 11th, 2012
8:42 am

The ‘If you Give a Mouse a Cookie’ series drives me crazy. The lengths the author goes to attempting to make the story circular is maddening, but the kids love them, so I read them.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
8:45 am

Honestly, I am drawing a blank.

I have read lots of books to my kids and endured some that I was not interested in. I also read award winners that did not appeal to me.

I find this to be like letting them eat food that you may not like. So many parents say, ” No, I do not like that or YUCK that tastes bad” instead of “well, you can try it and perhaps you will like it.” Of course you are not going to have to fix an entire meal of something you do not like compared to reading an entire book you are not enjoying.

There are some books I have read so much, that I can recite them and not read them. Certainly these are not chapter books.

I met Robert Munsch years ago and he was a very nice man. Authors can be quite interesting people. I have met a few. Some are engaging and some only care to talk with you about their book and that is all. This fascinates me.

TWG what happened to your Disney trip? We were in Orlando over Thanksgiving but did not do any tourist things. My sister’s family went to the theme parks on Monday ( after) and said they were packed. My Dentist told me there is an annual soccer tournament ( he used to go with his kids) in Disneyworld over Thanksgiving. Thought I would share.

catmom

December 11th, 2012
8:45 am

Dr. Suess! Can’t stand his books–all the nonsensical words and rhyming patterns. The only Dr. Suess thing I like is the animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
8:52 am

@Dadx3…you made me remember….

You can shoot me but I did not like reading Dr. Suess books. This is weird because I am all about rhythm and rhyme with children. I also like silly lyrics.

I did like the IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE series. Children thrive on the repetition and it can enhance auditory memory in young children.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
8:53 am

@catmom…we were typing at the same time…haha!

nuke

December 11th, 2012
9:16 am

Skippy Jon Jones. I just do not enjoy reading these.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Series. The first was okay. The rest were horrible. The transitions from one object to the next are nonsensical. The first one seemed to make sense, then the author saw a cash cow without the creativity.

Sweet Pickles Series. Loved them as a kid. Hate them now. There is no sensible conclusion to the plot in each of the books, it just kind of ends.

Any “ABC” book. I like to read stories with plot. But I always like to see what the author comes up with for Q and X as it seems like they have a great idea for an ABC book until they get to those letters.

JOD

December 11th, 2012
9:17 am

@Jessica – 1000% agree with “I’ll Love You Forever.” My MIL got that for my husband when DD was born, and DD asked me to read it to her once or twice (before I buried it on the bookshelf). Blech – it gives me the creeps.

Other than that one, DD’s books are pretty tolerable. Fortunately, she has so many that I can usually change the rotation when one gets annoying after reading it 10 times in 2 weeks.

I agree with Michael on J.K. Rowling. I couldn’t get through the first Harry Potter book. I get that they are for children, and if DD wants to read them I will gladly let her, but it was painful.

FCM

December 11th, 2012
9:27 am

I love Riordan. He writes for Middle School, was a Middle School teacher and I think it works. I suffered through pleanty of manadatory reading in my day: Great Gatsby, Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre among them. Also most things by Louisa May Alcott and Ernest Hemingway are a chore to read.

I suffered through the Monster High books for my daughter. She read them to herself but begged me to read them so we could discuss them. Also the Ghostgirl books…they just move so slow.

Twiglight series is poorly written but the story itself makes it worth reading through it. JKR may not be the best writer (too much side junk in the descriptive parts) but her dialogue is some the best out there.

kimmer

December 11th, 2012
9:52 am

Books on tape?

Techmom

December 11th, 2012
10:02 am

TWG – I was wondering about the Disney trip too. I thought about it over the weekend but forgot to ask yesterday.

There is’t one particular author but I definitely steered my son toward books that I thought would be interesting. I also went back to the books I enjoyed as a kid (Homeschooler – I loved Indian in the Cupboard) when he was too young to read chapter books on his own.

The Goodnight Book by Dr. Suess was one that would get hidden for months at a time. I would try to skip pages and even at 2 the boy would call me out, “don’t skip!” Ugh! I liked most of the Dr. Suess books, some could use some editing down though!

Phil from Athens

December 11th, 2012
10:28 am

“For some reason my 5-year-old LOVES the Rainbow Magic Special Edition Fairy books”

So many jokes in that sentence. FABULOUS!!!!!!!!

Phil from Athens

December 11th, 2012
10:28 am

“What books do you just suffer through reading to your kids?”

50 shades of grey.

PS

December 11th, 2012
10:43 am

Oh, my word. This hits close to home. My problem isn’t so much that I don’t like the books, it’s just that I’ve read certain ones so many times that I’m exhausted.

catlady

December 11th, 2012
11:11 am

Theresa, have you thought about enlisting the help of the school librarian to steer your kids away from certain books? In our school you cannot check out a book much above your instructional level. The kids take tests every few months to see if they can move up a level.

Kat

December 11th, 2012
11:22 am

I love reading to my kids, but I don’t like these types of books: Ones with character names that I cannot pronounce, ones that are “pull-the-flap” (I don’t buy them because they break and my kids are too old for them), ones that come with “jewelry,” ones that are just dumb stories (like your aforementioned “fairy” books), and ones that jump from one outlandish idea to another – as in no reason for things or (more likely) that it was explained in the “DVD Exclusives” so when reading about it, it makes no sense.

But, I do love to read to my kids and they all seem to enjoy it.

DettafromATL

December 11th, 2012
11:23 am

My grandson is hooked on Caillou. Most of the books are written by Pierre Brignaud and Chouette Publishing. The books just irritate me and so does the Caillou PBS series, but my grandson loves Caillou so I read the books and watch the show whenever he is at my house.

Kat

December 11th, 2012
11:24 am

It is Dr. Seuss.

SJ

December 11th, 2012
11:31 am

I agree about the Rainbow Magic books. I hated those. I also hated trying to read Junie B. Jones to my girls. Yuck. But, I read all of the Ramona books to them, and we all loved them.

Me

December 11th, 2012
11:48 am

At one point, I had read “Cat in the Hat” so many times that, not only could I recite it, but my oldest daughter could also recite it and turn the pages appropriately. “The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play; so we stayed in the house all that cold, cold, wet day…” Wow…

ABC

December 11th, 2012
11:49 am

It’s Dr. Seuss, people, and I think of books that are more fun to read out loud than his. Seriously, have you read Fox in Socks out loud to a kid? It’s a lot of fun to read his use of words and tongue twisters.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
11:49 am

Children do like repetition/predictability, in their world. There were many books I read many times.

Reading the same book over and over can be a good thing for young readers:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359044/The-old-story-How-children-repeat-reading-book-increase-vocabulary.html

Adults like repetition/predictability too. It can make you feel secure. Paycheck on the same day each month, putting up your Christmas decorations the same way, eating at the same restaurants, putting your toothbrush in the same place, going to the same movie theatre, using the same coffee cup, wearing the same things together, taking the same route to work or the store etc.

Some people even choose equalized bill pay for utility bills. Most have the same mortgage or car payment each month.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
11:52 am

OOOPS…my typing skills are not considered my best: Dr. Seuss…thanks!

Mayhem

December 11th, 2012
12:06 pm

@Catlady (11:11 a.m) – that’s very sad…..kids CAN’T read what they want, they have to be at a certain instruction level? That’s crazy…I ALWAYS challenged my kids to read at a higher level.

And I sure as heck would NOT want some librarian telling my kids they can’t read a certain book. A little stiffling don’t you think?????

homeschooler

December 11th, 2012
12:23 pm

@ Mayhem, I thought the same thing. Kids should have assigned reading that is a little above their level but reading for enjoyment should be anything that is appropriate (as deemed by parents). I’ve always understood that reading for enjoyment is best at or below the child’s reading level.

@ Jessica and JOD..So glad I’m not the only one who did not like “I Love you Forever”. That’s another one we never got for the kids because it was just weird to me. I always felt a little guilty that I didn’t like it because people are always talking about how wonderful it is.

Mayhem

December 11th, 2012
12:30 pm

My oldest daughter LOVED (and it still brings a smile to her face) “I Love You This Much”, with Big Brown Nuthare & Little Brown Nuthare. We used to have a contest who could love the other MORE…..still to this day, she will say “I love you to the Moon and back, 3 times”…. Awwww….

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
12:37 pm

I think catlady was offering assistance to TWG for someone to back her up if SHE did not want her child to get books ahead of his/her reading level ( she would have to read to her).

Example: Ask your Media Specialist if that book is on your level. It’s not, o.k. then let’s see what is! ( what a shame…guess you can read it next year).

I am not a media specialist but if a Kindergartener checks out a book that is on a 4th grade level, NOT ALL KINDERS would be able to digest it. There are PLENTY of books on each level. This would be akin to me checking out Popular Mechanics. I may not make it through the table of contents. If they test on a 4th grade level, in Kinder, then they might be more likely to enjoy the book.

The series she mentioned is rated ages 7-10. Obviously, some Kinders would be fine with it while others would not. My son was a voracious reader. Sometimes they are able to sail through books with content that is not at all on their level. That can be a problem too.

homeschooler

December 11th, 2012
1:02 pm

Thanks, MJG, I had misunderstood the comment. However, I still wouldn’t really want to discourage anything unless a child was just picking the book because she liked the cover and was never going to read it. I remember my mom taking me to the library. She would make me read the first page to her and then tell her what I read. If I could do it she would get the book if not, she would steer me to something different. Makes sense.

I still always let my kids pick out things way above their level so I can read to them. When they were younger I found this as a good way to get them to hear good literature that they were not necessarily able to read.

Jeff

December 11th, 2012
1:05 pm

I always hate the stories that start with “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but if I were you……….”

:) y’all have a good day.

catmom

December 11th, 2012
1:08 pm

How common is it that kids aren’t allowed to check books out of the library that aren’t on their level? My parents allowed me to read almost anything I wanted (unless it contained adult content), and I never had a school librarian tell me I couldn’t check out a particular book. As a child, I always tested way above where my actual grade level was and I would have felt stifled if I hadn’t been able to read what I wanted.

catmom

December 11th, 2012
1:13 pm

I posted earlier that I can’t stand the Dr. Seuss books. I never had any of them as a child, and it wasn’t until I started babysitting as a teenager that I read any of them (and discovered how much I hated them). I remember asking my mom once why I didn’t have any when I was little, and she confessed that she had never bought any for me because she hated them and didn’t want to be stuck reading them to me!

So there is a solution, TWG. I know it’s different when you’ve got a kid bringing stuff home from the library, but you can at least control what you buy. Or you could be mean and tell Lilina that when she’s old enough to read those books herself, she can read them, but until then she’s out of luck. LOL.

catmom

December 11th, 2012
1:15 pm

@homeschooler–I’m creeped out by “I Love You Forever” too.

Jessica

December 11th, 2012
1:17 pm

Enter your comments here

Jessica

December 11th, 2012
1:25 pm

@ cat mom, I remember my elementary school librarian asking me to read a page from any book I wanted to check out that she thought may be too difficult. If I could read it, she would let me check it out; if I couldn’t, she would politely ask me to put it back and choose something else. I’m not sure if school librarians (or media specialists — whatever they want to be called these days) still take the time to do that.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
1:58 pm

Media Specialists have ALL sorts of things to accomplish…same for Teachers. Not sure if they have the time to let each children read a page or two, of a book. That would make perfect sense for a parent. If you have 30 kids in the Media Center, not so much.

I am not sure this is about “whatever they want to be called these days” but more about what the school district decides about your job skills and thus you will be called. They are much more than a school librarian, with a book and a bun. They have to handle technology and thus have to present expertise in that field. Many schools have a morning announcement clip which the media specialist directs and broadcasts. This is scheduled every morning. I would NOT be good at this!

FYI…they do not have wooden card catalogues either. The library books do not have sleeves in the front.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
2:01 pm

@ Jeff: I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but if I were you I would not arrive at the Atlanta airport and THEN plan to purchase a ticket to board a plane…it is not like a Movie Theatre! HAHA…have a great day!

FCM

December 11th, 2012
4:46 pm

@MJG I thought AirTran encouraged walk ups.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
5:07 pm

Maybe they do, I have never flow Air Tran. I guess I am thinking if you NEED to go somewhere. I have been in the airport MANY days when people have valid tickets and cannot get out, due to weather and/or equipment. I am not an adventurous soul about travel. I have a reservation when I need to be somewhere. If you go on a whim, then I suppose a walk up is good.

Your chances of getting into a movie, with a purchase 30 minutes out, are probably better than walking up to the gate at the airport. Certainly, NO ONE has to listen to me on this on.

motherjanegoose

December 11th, 2012
5:07 pm