Reader Participation Needed!! (please!)

We are a family of readers. Jay’s family are all avid readers, and there is even a published writer among them. As a young child I was read to constantly, and encouraged to read on my own, which I did. Jay and I have continued to love reading as adults, and now that we are parents, we enjoy sharing this love for books with our own children. We began reading to each of our children shortly after they were born, and haven’t stopped. The kids have all enjoyed family reading, and in time, we took the step of teaching them phonics so they could enjoy books on their own as well. Our older two took to it quite naturally, and both learned to read at home with me before they entered kindergarden.

Part of the beauty of many children is many different personalities, character bents, talents, tastes, preferences, etc. Nicolas, our third, is not exactly quite as enamored with reading, or even being read to, for that matter. My attempts at helping him get through Teach Your Child to Read in One Hundred Easy Lessons (the book I used with my oldest two, and one which I heartily recommend) was short-lived. Like “we didn’t get more than two paragraphs into the first lesson” short-lived. As far as reading together, sure, we do it, but it’s not his first choice.

No, Nicolas has a new love, and it is not books. The question I get from him these days is not, “Will you read me a story?” but “When can I play my computer game?” Seriously. I have even taught him the word “addict”. Because he is one. At the tender age of just-turned-four. He would sit at the computer and play “games” (educational, learning games, mind you, but computer games all the same!) all day long, if I allowed it. I don’t even know if he would stop to eat, he is so entranced by the glow of the pretty screen and the colorful, moving objects!

Despite this ardent love for the beautiful computer, I have found in the past week that Nicolas does enjoy some books. A few choice titles. But they seem to all have a humorous bent to them. His current favorite is Click, Clack, Moo. He will actually request that I read him this funny book. So, while I certainly do not want to teach my child that all good books are hilariously funny, I figure that perhaps it would help him at least for now if I could choose stories which are written with a fun and entertaining theme.

Ok, dear readers, here is where you come in. I would love it if you would each take a moment to suggest some funny books that you read or have read to a special preschooler in your life. Or that you have heard about and think would be great to share with a preschooler. We have a fairly extensive collection of children’s books and I have access to a wonderful city library system, so I know I can get my hands on most titles you would suggest.

I appreciate any help you can give in the quest to broaden Nicolas’ love for the written word! I will look forward to hearing your wonderful suggestions. And I’ll be sure to keep you posted about his progress! Thank you all, in advance!

9 Comments

  1. Kimberly
    Aug 15, 2006

    Have you read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett?

  2. angie
    Aug 15, 2006

    Interestingly enough, Lydia HATED the Teach Your Child To Read Book. After about 3, maybe 4 lessons, I noticed that she would come up with excuses of why she couldn’t participate that day. Crazy.

    As for your request, Kimberly’s suggestion is a good one. I also like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (though it’s not that funny, but it is cute). Lydia is hooked on The Magic School Bus at the moment, but Nicolas might not enjoy that kind of stuff. I think the Click, Clack, Moo author has written either sequels or other books in the same vein. If I think of anything else, I’ll let you know!

  3. Meredith
    Aug 15, 2006

    Sounds like he might be more of a visual learner, so I would try to find books with lots of colors and graphics similar to his on-screen passions! My son loves Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and other books by Archimbault, also the drawings in all the Harold and the Purple Crayon stories. But he is a total audio learner so we tend to go for long read-alouds with him.

  4. jennifer
    Aug 17, 2006

    I am sure you have many of the Sandra Boynton books, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of funny children’s books. Moo, Baa, La, La, La! is my favorite and Charis’s too. There are many Eric Carle illustrated books out there that aren’t as well-known as Brown Bear. They may appeal to Nicolas visually. You also might try finding some of the book version stories of movies he enjoys, like Toy Story and Thomas and almost anything Disney. My kids would often sit for the longer stories (more text) in these books because they were familiar with the stories and the characters. Sometimes they are re-tellings of the video stories; other times they are spin-off stories using the popular characters. Finally, I really enjoyed reading stories to my kids that I remembered from childhood, like the Harry the Dirty Dog books. Another really funny little series (that may be more appropriate for girls) are the Francis books–Bedtime for Francis, A Birthday for Francis, etc.

  5. Madeleine
    Aug 17, 2006

    Probably one of my all time favorite books for being totally hilarious; we couldn’t get enough of it at our house when I was growing up. Have you read

    What Do You Say, Dear?
    by Sesyle Joslin, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

    Editorial Reviews

    Amazon.com
    “You have gone downtown to do some shopping. You are walking backwards, because sometimes you like to, and you bump into a crocodile. What do you say, dear?” This is just one of the delightful hypothetical situations introduced by award-winning author Sesyle Joslin in this “handbook of etiquette for young ladies and gentlemen to be used as a guide for everyday social behavior.” Maurice Sendak’s quirky, comical illustrations are perfect for this old-fashioned, whimsical guide to manners. First published in 1958, this Caldecott Honor Book and ALA Notable Children’s Book is a time- tested, fun way to teach your children important lessons. By the way, “Excuse me” is the proper response to the crocodile above! (Ages 4 to 8)

  6. Kim Roberts
    Aug 17, 2006

    My son, Gage, age 5 loves all books funny. So he is apt to find something funny is just about any book he reads.

    Some of his recent favorites:
    Verdi
    Harley (about a Llama)
    The stories about Jimmy’s Boa constrictor
    And, he really enjoys Clifford stories — go figure.

    Have you looked at The Book Tree, a compilation of books for children divided by age group. There are tons of great suggestions in it. Also, Honey for a Child’s Heart.

    Kim

  7. Tricia
    Aug 17, 2006

    Wow! Thanks for the amazingly wonderful suggestions, everyone!

    Kimberly, the title alone will make Nicolas smile….I know we will enjoy your suggestion. Thank you!

    Angie, maybe we could get Nicolas/Lydia together for some creative phonics learning! And we have not tried Magic Schoolbus – thanks for this tip!

    Meredith, it is honor to welcome you to my blog! Thanks for visiting! Nicolas loves Chicka, Chicka, but I’ve never read any of Archimbault’s other titles. Thanks for suggesting this.

    Jennifer, thank you for the plethora of wonderful ideas. We’ve done some of those ( I think Nicolas’ favorite Boynton is “But Not the Hippo..”, but there are several new ones for us to try out too. Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Madeleine, Welcome! (is this your first time to comment here? I think it might be! Welcome!) I love the description of this book, and will check it out at the library – thank you!

    And Kim!! Wow, how cool to hear from you, you “lurker”!! Tell Gage thank you for sharing his favorites, and thanks to you for the Book Tree/Honey suggestions. I will look into both of these.

  8. Lenise
    Aug 19, 2006

    Also, the Curious George books are good. I am after those same books Jennifer mentioned (because I, too, remember them from my own childhood). They ARE longer than I remembered, so I haven’t tried my not-quite-2-year-old with them yet. Oh! Also, the pigeon books by Mo Willems get good reviews. Jay likes the board books, but they are apparently much shorter and simpler than the others.

  9. Peter
    Aug 21, 2006

    How about Richard Scarry? The stories themselves aren’t necessarily funny, but the illustrations often fill in the “humor gaps”… Ellie has spent quite a bit of time in the pages of What Do People Do All Day?, and there are plenty of other volumes to build on the familiarity of the Busytown universe (such as it is).

    We’re big fans of Boynton and Carle here. By the way, the newer Curious George stories are a bit shorter than — if not quite as endearing as — their Rey-authored predecessors.

    After reading reviews of 100 Lessons, I’m pretty sure we’d have the same problem at our house. Back to traditional methods…