Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Grouchy Motherbug.

Reading has been one of our primary sources of entertainment through this long harsh winter in which, many, many days have been spent indoors. We visit the library once a week to replenish our stock, returning home with a random selection of little-known titles and of course some well-known ones too.

Rare is the occasion I refuse to read a kids' book. Unless, that is, the book is driving me bat-shit crazy to the point where I can no longer stand it and might be about to cut out my tongue in sheer frustration.

That was the case with Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug a few days ago.

Now, let me start with some clarification: I like Eric Carle's books on the whole. Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See and The Very Hungry Caterpillar have been literary staples in our house for both boys. So loved, have they been, that their covers and pages are battered and chewed and scribbled on. Signs of true love, these.

But after reading The Grouchy Ladybug for the fourth time in a row one cold snowy afternoon, I found myself doing the unthinkable: I hid the book. Not just like, put it away, but went to the extra effort of stowing it away on the top shelf (that even I can only barely reach) of my bedroom wardrobe, underneath a pile of clothes. I even made sure the edges weren't showing. Hercule Poirot wouldn't have found it.

Why, you ask, did I do this you raving nutter?

Because, for the love of cheese, the repetition part of the story went on and on and on and on and on, until my tongue was fuzzy, my mouth was dry and I could actually feel my brain beginning to melt from repeating the same words over and over.

I understand why children's authors use the repetitive technique: kids love it, and there are probably multiple studies that prove repetition assists learning, etc. Many of our favourite authors use the technique too (we read Dr. Seuss a lot).

But in this particular book, the repetition grated on me like fingernails on a chalkboard. As the grouchy idiot ladybug challenged more and more creatures of increasing size to a fight, I found myself craving the end of the book like I crave a glass of wine at the end of a long day.

Maybe I was having a grouchy day, or hadn't yet had my coffee. Or maybe it was because we'd read the thing THREE WHOLE TIMES ALREADY, that I was becoming ever-so-slightly bothered by it. 

Whatever the reason, The Grouch Ladybug was relegated to the back of the closet that day.

How about you? Have you ever put away a book your kids loved because you didn't love it?
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LisaDay said...

Thankfully not yet, but there are several books I want to read and my guy refuses, like Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton. Is it bad these books make me laugh out loud?


Maria @BOREDmommy said...

Awesome. I'm into hiding the annoying kids stuff with zero guilt, thank you very much. In terms of books, I may have misplaced some of those Barbie books that the 4yo thinks are amazing, but are pure pain. Fun times.

Lady Mama said...

Hiding anything Barbie is allowed at all times with zero guilt. Disney movie story books do seem to be particularly bad for some reason.

Metropolitan Mum said...

I am doing that constantly. :)

ModernMom said...

LOL Oh YES! I remember it all too well. I'm thrilled to tell you once you get on to chapter books reading to your kids becomes even more enjoyable:)

Anonymous said...

I HATE the to tongue twister book "duck got stuck".
Unfortunately, my kids LOVE it. I like the hiding it idea !

Loukia said...

Yes I agree, LOL! I have done this on occasion, too. Or skipped pages...

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

BEEN THERE! I agree. I "get" the repetitive stuff (especially as a teacher) but it doesn't make it more interesting at the time!

Mwa said...

We subscribed to this book-thing at my son's school one year which promised a book every couple of months, selected by the club. I thought it would be good to have someone else's choice to bring variety into the bookcase. One of the books, though, was about a set of children who were first orphaned and then split up and shifted around between aunts and uncles. I think my son was four at the time, maybe three. He was intrigued by it, but I was rather freaked out. I don't avoid difficult subjects as a rule, but that was just too in-your-face for me. It also had very sad dark brown illustrations. Freaky. So I think I threw it out or put it up somewhere high as well. There's another inane book I refuse to read as well. They now read it to each other. It's very pretty but a bad translation of English rhymes.