I love books. I started reading at an early age and have been a bookworm since then, even choosing my major (English) and my career (publishing) so that I could be around books as much as possible. You can imagine, then, how much stock I place in reading for the Noodle. You can imagine how much of my pregnancy was spent fantasizing about reading with him, sharing not only all of the classics, but also the popular & pretty modern books. I would stand in the children’s section of Barnes & Noble, looking with longing at all the lovely and colorful books, waiting with anticipation until we could share them.
Which is why it pains me so much to admit–there are a LOT of really crappy kids books. Like, I’d rather dig my eyes out with a spoon than read them again bad. Books that are poorly written, badly rhymed or paced. Books with horrible art. Books that are of…questionable subject matter. All I wanted was a little reading time with my little boy, to share my love of books with him. I didn’t quite expect to face so many landmines!
The worst one so far, the one that drives me to drink? Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle. It kills me to say that, knowing how well loved Eric Carle is, but seriously, this book makes me want to hurt things. The version we have is a board book, with sliding pages for all the cats, and dear lord do I hate it. In case you haven’t seen it, let me spoil it for you: it’s like 14 pages of “have you seen my cat?” and 13 pages of “This is not my cat”. And…cue me throwing the book across the room.
At first, I would read the whole thing. Then, I starting skipping pages. Finally, I…uh…misplaced the book. It can come back out and play when the Noodle can figure the sliders out on his own, but I just can’t read it anymore. I can’t find an way to say Have You Seen My Cat? without losing my mind. I don’t care where your freakin cat is kid, and why hasn’t that puma eaten you yet?
I’m sure it’s a great book for kids–the simple repetitive text, interesting illustrations, simple story all make it seem perfect. But if it’s going to lead to violence from me, maybe it’s not the best book after all?
Surely I’m not alone in having a book I just.can’t.stand. How about you?