Every parent has that ONE book they’re begged to read again and again and again and again and… Even those of us who aren’t parents have experienced this phenomenon in the role of teachers or siblings or babysitters.
There are plenty of reasons that reading the same books multiple times to a child is actually helpful to their development. Children find it reassuring to find that their favorite tales turn out the same way in the end, each time they listen to them. They generally ask more complex or insightful questions about a story after they’ve heard it multiple times. Once they’ve heard the book enough time to have memorized it, they’ll recite it or "read" it to you — an important step on the road to literacy. Reading and rereading the same books to a child is therefore a healthy practice. But boy it can be a pain in the… hindquarters.
With that in mind, I put this question to you today: What book were you/are you asked to read FAR too many times (for your happiness) by a child in your life? Was it a book you once loved and eventually grew to hate? Was it a book you didn’t like in the first place and therefore had to suffer through even from the start? Can you still recite it to this day, some X years later? Purge those tortured memories here and/or recite for us what you still recall from that particular book.
Actualy I had this one read to me as a kid: “I would not eat them on a train, I would not in them in a plane. I would not eat them in a car, I would not eat them near or far. I would not eat green eggs and ham I would not eat them Sam I am!”
My nephew really enjoyed having Jamberry read to him, over and over again. But then, he was reading The Hobbit solo at 7 or 8-and has not looked back or stopped since. So I have to agree with Alison’s point about the practice of learning to read above!
Richard Scarry’s BusyTown which I did notlike on the first reading or the one thousandth. This is the only book that ever threw away when my older son was little. The first book given to my younger son when he was born was, yes, Richard Scarry’s Busy Town. The book gods were watching me.
The Baby Beebee Bird written and illustrated by Diane Redfield Massie was a favorite of my kids and their kids and was the first book my older daughter at age 5 ‘read’ to her younger sister (2). The revised edition with a different illustrator didn’t have the same appeal. I still don’t mind reading the book over and over.
Greatest baby shower gift ever: Calef Brown’s Polka Bats & Octopus Slacks. We still recite our favorite lines from our favorite poem, and Emily is 7 now: “Loudly screeching nasty words like ‘Stroganoff’ to scare the birds, while dropping nasty polka turds on people down below.” Believe it or not, “Stroganoff” gets the biggest laugh in our house. 😉
I have a sister who is fourteen years younger than I am. Even though she’s a teenager now, my parents, my brothers and I can all still recite her childhood favorite word for word: Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton.
I used to run a UU church nursery (many years ago, when I was only about 14 myself). We had about 5 books, so I read all of them lots. The bit in Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree where the bears all turn and run was a favorite, because I read it reallysuperfast. I had to read that one WAY too many times. Sam “and one with the shivers”
The one I remember from childhood is “The Polka Dot Tots” — and I can’t find a copy anywhere today. My nephews wanted to hear the Pooh stories over and over — no problem there, as that was a total joy. Now the kids are too used to the Disney version, but they love the LITTLE CRITTER books. So do I! But they “read” them back to me now, so I don’t get to do so much reading to them anymore. And there’s one called JINGLE BUGS that we get out at Christmas (and other times of the year), that makes no sense at all, but they absolutely adore it. We’ve worn out three copies. It’s a pop-up with tabs to pull and an ornament to unfold, and it makes noise and lights up! They sometimes “read” along with me. Dr. Seuss is like a special dessert. They only wanted to hear THE GRINCH twice this Christmas, but RED FISH, BLUE FISH or HOP ON POP will always be followed by “Read it again, Aunt Mary!”
Any Berenstain Bears. I don’t know how they even got in my house. Also The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elphrida Vipont…drove me nuts for the longest time, then I started to love the illustrations, and now it’s a favorite. It sure took a long time, though.
The books I have for my daughter are not so bad. I don’t mind reading The Very Busy Spider 15 times a day. I used to read to my younger sister and I can still can’t get The Berenstain Bears the Big Honey Hunt out of my head: We ate our honey. We ate a lot. Now we have no honey in our honey pot. Go get some honey. Go get some more. Go get some honey from the honey store. Now that I think about, I might go and buy that book…
When I was a babysitter, a regular adored Are You My Mother? which I hated from day one. I often had to read it to her 10+ times a day. I still hate the book 20 years later. If I lived in the house and didn’t just come over sporadically, I’m not sure I (or the book) would have survived. It still gives me the willies when I think about it.
Hand, hand, fingers, thumb, One thumb, one thumb drumming on a drum, one hand, two hands drumming on a drum, dum diddy dum diddy dum dum dum.
My one and a half year old daughter loves this series of books we got second hand, and I’m not even sure where they came from. But I do know that I hate them. Baby ABCs. Baby Animals. And Baby Words. Of all the entertaining, rhythmic, dazzlingly illustrated books we have in our collection, she prefers to hear, “Airplane. Ball. Clock. Duck. Elephant. Frog….” There is no plot, no character development, no twist! Who are these babies, and why are they here? Is the one in pink a girl, or a boy with progressive parents? Why is the child posed with an iron; isn’t “touching irons is fun,” a bad message to send to children? We’ll never know. Green Grass. Hat. Iron.
Oh, my, this is a good one. I read YOU CAN NAME 100 TRUCKS (Illustrated by Randy Chewning) at least 452,627 times when my boys were younger. There was very little text, just pages and pages of trucks with names to pour over and memorize. I recently passed our dog-eared copy along to my nephew and expect his parents will be, um, thrilled to read it 452,627 more times!
I have to agree with Joel about Green Eggs & Ham, my kids couldn’t get enough of it when they were young and I have to admit I enjoyed reading it. Each time I’d see how fast I could do the rhyme. It was my own personal challenge that kept me engaged. The one book I have to say that got on my nerves though was Go, Dog, Go. Dog. Big Dog. Little Dog.
I love reading books over and over, so no complaints here! Especially Calef Brown’s Flamingos on the Roof; we went through a long Prayer for a Child phase; ditto for Stone Soup. Love them all!
When I was a fulltime live in Nanny, J had so many books we could read for days with out a repeat and luckily we did. But bedtime routine was that just before he got into bed we read 5 books all involved the character going to bed. They varied but the last one was always Goodnight Moon. At first he would read the last word of each line and then he would read me the story. And I still love it. The other I remember is a poem by Shel Silverstein- The Loser. I would recite the beginning of the poem and J would chime in on certain lines. We used to recite it to family and friends and teachers when he was 5 or 6. I can still recite the whole thing!
In the great green room…Good Night Moon — requested so many times I can still recite it all from heart and the requestee is 11. Moon, moon.
Favorites at our house growing up were Jack Kent’s Socks for Supper (still wishing a publisher would re-issue it), Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! By Seuss, and the Barrett’s Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs.
My younger daughter — actually both of them — love Not This Bear. I must have read that story a million times — but to tell you the truth I didn’t mind, I love it as much as they do.
We have a son named Sam so GREEN EGGS was always a favorite. But both kids loved DEAR ZOO so much we must have gone through four or five copies. I tried an experiment with our daughter, Emily, once when she and I were home by ourselves. I read as many books as she wanted. After 52 books, I stopped citing a sore throat. We didn’t repeat one title.
My favorites were The Scrawny Tawny Lion and The Saggy Baggy Elephant. My daughter was not too impressed with these. She preferred Owen by Kevin Henkes. We read that book bald.
My son Tom, loved the Pumpkinville Mystery. My husband and I both read the book to him and we also had it on tape, read by Fred Gwynn. The whole family, including our daughter, 6 years older than our son, can still recite passages.
My family fondly recalls Jesse Bear, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, as well as anything by Sandra Boynton. My little brothers also destroyed two copies of Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go.
Right now it’s DUCK ON A BIKE (“Guck on bike!”); earlier it’s been DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS and CLICK CLACK MOO. A fair smattering of Seuss, too. Incidentally: at the end of every vestry meeting, we read an evening prayer that begins, “Lord, it is night.” To which I always want to respond, “Night is not a time for play. It is time for sleep. The dogs go to sleep . . . “
“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day. We’re not scared….” My husband and I could recite that one from heart, and would chant it to stop backseat melt downs. And we’d finish with “poor bear” because the big, scary bear looks so sad at the end.
Hi! This was interesting to read this morning. Is it ok if I put it in our enewsletter, the inkspot? You can see what it looks like at http://www.inklingsbookshop.com I’d like to use your article as a lead in to have them send us the books they are asked to read again and again. Thanks!
For Mary Louise, who posted on Jan. 23rd: you can find several copies of “The Polka Dot Tots” by Google-ing the title. I am restoring my childhood copy for my granddaughter by replacing my missing cover with a copy made from the posted photo of the little book. I’ll have so much fun reading it to her, as my Grandma read it to me. Cheers
my boys are now 9 and 7 and we read Mike Mulligan more times than I can count! one corner, neat a square…
Don’t remember from my own childhood but my nephews ages 15 and 17 loved Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman.
When he was 3 years old, my firstborn son’s favorite book was _Mickey Mouse on Hideaway Island_. Request for reading aloud at least three times a day, then again at bedtime. On the evening of the the 9th day, I confess I slipped the book to a high shelf out of sight. After his bath, he went looking and looking for the favorite. I pretended to help. Finally, he settled for another book, but did not seem to be paying much attention. I held firm until morning, when I brought down the book and put it beside his bed just as he was waking up. Reading it was the first thing we did, and since then, I am always willing to read any book as many times as a child wants me to.