Children’s books that parents won’t hate

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I could never stand the Berenstain Bears books, but my daughters really wanted to hear them. So I started reading them in a cheesy parody of the Dukes of Hazzard voiceover guy. That still didn’t dissuade them. But when I dropped the put-on voice, they objected strongly, and demanded I read them “right”.

It actually mitigated the unpleasantness for me.


This is a dangerous game. You will hate them all eventually, once you’ve read them a bazillion times. Do you really want to lose the love you have for the books you actually like? I bought an omnibus of the original H.A. Rey Curious George stories before I ever even thought to have children, and now my wife and I occasionally hide it around the house so our daughter can’t find it…

I’ve improvised some pretty damn good silly operas around “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”


Don’t get me started on Junie B. Jones. I always hated that cutesie, fake kid voice, with the unfunny and unrealistic spoonerisms. It’s like a bad rip-off of the wonderful Ramona Quimby novels.

Ramona really gives voice to a child’s inner dialog. I loved those novels when I was a kid, and I loved reading them to my own children. There are also excellent audiobooks, read by Stockard Channing, who kills it.

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Happy 101st birthday to Beverly Cleary last week, who’s still kicking. She was the best at writing from a children’s perspective, and still great to read aloud for adults. All around awesome.



Just the good ol’ bears
Never meanin’ no harm
Beats all you never saw
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day they was born

I’m sorry, I really have no knowledge of the Berenstain Bears books to parody it any further.

Buy Waylon Jennings narrorating it in my head does sound pretty good.

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She holds up a book by Julia Donaldson, I haven’t read my kids that particular book, but Julia Donaldson has written some of the best kids’ books out there. My kids love the Gruffalo and A Gold Star for Zog. I personally think her best work is The Snail and the Whale. They are all fun and a little quirky and have a perfect length.

But the best tip I can give regarding children’s books is to have access to a lot of them because if you’re like me you want to read your kids a story as often as you can and it sucks balls to have to read the same fucking story every night of the week.



That’s why libraries are great – you have the excuse that the books have to go back.

Our library overdue fines max out at the replacement value of the book, so we could have essentially bought the book from the library by just never returning it, but we never told our kids that. And our library system does a good job of getting new kids books into circulation, so our kids got into the habit of looking forward to the new books every time we returned the old ones.


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