You Aren’t Reading That Right

BookMom is the moniker of Valerie Garfield, a Vice President and the Publisher of Novelty & Licensed Publishing at Simon & Schuster. She was formerly the Publishing Director at Sesame Workshop, home of Sesame Street, and has held editorial positions at HarperCollins and Golden Books. As an author she has penned more than 30 books for children, all written under a pseudonym. She lives in a suburb of New York City (which pains her less than saying she lives in New Jersey) with her husband and children.

UpsetSchoolBoy_400One of the things that I’ve found most curious (and most concerning) is the question I get about reading things “wrong.” As in, not right. I’m always puzzled. “You mean you aren’t reading it with the inflection that’s intended?” Blank look. “That you aren’t reading it in the way in which your child will like it?” Warmer. Ah.

The beauty and joy of a book–opposed to, say, a television show or a movie that’s acted out in front of you–is that while an author certainly has intent with a story, it’s really open for wide interpretation once it gets in your hands. I’ve heard Goodnight Moon read lyrically, jokingly, and even boisterously. They all work.

Kids, however, will have their preferences. Sometimes they see characters a certain way or take away something different from the story than we do. And often that’s a byproduct of how the story is read to them. If I’m reading Goodnight Moon, it’s definitely soft and lullaby like. If my husband reads it, he’s interjecting with things like “Goodnight left sock that stinks!” I wouldn’t say he’s silly and I’m soft because I can do a pretty mean performance of Robo Sauce, too. But we definitely have different reading styles. Especially at bedtime. When I might argue the goal is to wind down, not up. Ahem.

But there are certain books that a child will pluck from my hands and say with disdain, “No, I want Daddy to read that.” (Any Mo Willems title.) It pretty much amounts to the equivalent of “It’s Daddy’s turn to pitch” (i.e. I can’t actually hit the balls you are erratically throwing over the house, Mom). There’s no right and wrong way to read a book. But there’s a way your kid may like more.

I hope one day to win back Mo Willems. Maybe if my pitching improves. Below, please find The Books That Only My Husband is Allowed to Read Because I “Read Them Wrong.” I’m pretty sure the reaction to Take Me Out to the Ballgame has to do with my singing. And I know if I could get that darned cover off faster with Robo-Sauce my odds would really improve with that one.

Giggle Giggle Quack

Giggle Giggle Quack

by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown is going on vacation. He asks his brother, Bob, to take care of the animals. “But keep an eye on Duck. He’s trouble.”
Bob follows the instructions in Farmer Brown’s notes exactly. He orders pizza with anchovies for the hens, bathes the pigs with bubble bath, and lets the cows choose a movie.
Is that giggling he hears? Giggle, giggle, quack, giggle, moo, giggle, oink…The duck, the cows, the hens, and the pigs are back in top form in this hilarious follow-up to the beloved Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.

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  • Get Giggle Giggle Quack
  • Get Giggle Giggle Quack
Robo-Sauce

Robo-Sauce

by Adam Rubin

FACT: Robots are awesome. They have lasers for eyes, rockets for feet, and supercomputers for brains! Plus, robots never have to eat steamed beans or take baths, or go to bed. If only there were some sort of magical “Robo-Sauce” that turned squishy little humans into giant awesome robots… Well, now there is.

Giggle at the irreverent humor, gasp at the ingenious fold-out surprise ending, and gather the whole family to enjoy a unique story about the power of imagination. It’s picture book technology the likes of which humanity has never seen!

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  • Get Robo-Sauce
  • Get Robo-Sauce
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

by Mo Willems

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place —- a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler’s temper tantrum.

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

by Jack Norworth

Grab your ticket to Game 5 of the 1947 World Series! Come back in time to historic Ebbets Field for all the thrill and excitement of a day at the ballpark. Join the crowd in the stands as they root, root, root for the home team Dodgers who battle their archrivals, the New York Yankees! See Jackie Robinson, Spec Shea, Cookie Lavagetto, and announcer Red Barber — plus the famous Dodger fans. For baseball lovers of all ages, here’s a book that’s sure to be a home run!

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