Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Fare

The boys like to be read books.  Tall (when he was small), would bring a book to me and put it in my left hand and sit in my lap.  This indicated it was time to read.  Once finished, if he wanted to hear it again, he would put it back in my left hand.  Small does similar things, carrying around books and putting himself in my lap.

They are nothing if not subtle.

This morning when I tried to lie in bed until 6 am, Small brought me I Went Walking and sat on my chest as I tried to read it to him.  The room was dark, so perhaps "recite" is a better word.  Tall came in few minutes later with Wildlife ABC, but none of this darkness thing for him.  He turned on the lamp too.

We are quite happy to read to them.  It's important, I think to engage people in a love of books wherever possible.  I love reading myself.  Adrian has started reading more too.  The turnover rate of books on our bedside table is quite impressive, and while his tend to be non-fiction (and mostly theological), it keeps us all happy.

It's fun to make the voices and point out the different things on the page.  It's great now that they are old enough to read page books instead of just destroying them.  Board books are great too. Highly resilient.  I've just had to toss away one page book that had too many pages reft from it.

The only problem that I have with all this reading is when the books are wrong.  I'm not speaking here of the specs on a motorbike.  Probably those are right, or at any rate I can't correct them.  Plus, the boys are mainly focused on "geen bike!" more than the PSI of the tires (tyres for you Aussies).

Reading teaches us things.  It teaches us to ponder on why things happen.  It lets us see other worlds and ideas.  It broadens our horizons.  And fundamentally, it teaches us minor things like grammar, syntax and spelling.

How much more basic can a sentence be than "See Spot."? Implied subject.  Verb.  Object.  These are the building blocks of forming sensible sentences.

So, it bothers me when a book I read to my children says things like this: "When going down hills, you should go slow." Are adverbs so insignificant?  Let them thrive, children's book publishers!  "When going down hills, you should go slowly." And then we all learn together.  Beauty.  I know that it is not in vogue to care about the state of our poor language, but it is everyday ravaged by morons on youtube and anywhere one can comment.  Breaking grammatical rules can be fun and effective for a point, but should we not try harder at these first sentences?  We try harder with first foods than that which follows.

And it frustrates me when I see a page in a comparisons book that throws the rules away at the end.  Picture some nesting dolls and beneath them these words "biggest  bigger  big  small  smaller  tiny".
Seriously, what is that? First of all, you need to read it from the middle of the page and outwards for the comparative and superlatives to make sense and then, what, just deny the pattern and throw away an easy superlative like smallest to replace it with "tiny"?!

Or that children's book that a friend told me about where beside the letter P there was an elephant.  Unless the rest of the book was aimed for mensa-babies, I'm not sure that they meant pachyderm.

Sometimes, it's just the content that leaves me baffled.  I read one book to my sons about "bravery" except it was played out as peer pressure. And the sheep failed.
Jump over the puddle!
Jump over the puddle!
Jump over the puddle! 
And then he fell in.  Because his friends forced him to do something and wouldn't take no for an answer.  Brilliant.  Let me get the whole series.

This may seem ridiculous to you.  I am a ridiculous person and not really that serious about the whole thing, but there is a bit of permanent marker in a few of our books.

1 comment:

  1. There is a song (Appalachian in derivation) we sing in Choir that goes: "Jesus, Jesus rest your head/You has got a manger bed" and so, of course, A says to me, "Daddy, the song is wrong. It should be 'You HAVE', not 'You has'."