The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Note to Seuss: please time your rhyme so it sounds fine

I imagine that my habit of editing children's books on the fly as I read them aloud to my kids is not all that unusual. Plenty of parents probably substitute or omit words to make the content of the tales they tell their children appropriate, or at least a little more palatable. But how many of us do you think there are who re-word things to make the rhymes more melodic or to make sure that the cadence comes out right?

Dr. Seuss may have made a mint, but sometimes it literally hurts me to read some of his stuff out loud (if a good percentage of your words are going to be made up anyway, the least you could do is to get the syllable count right). Ditto hundreds of other children's authors whose words -- poetry or prose -- simply do not flow correctly. Sometimes, I don't even realize that I'm "fixing" their sentences until after the words have left my mouth. I'm generally pretty liberal about the ideas and concepts I'll read about with my children. But I draw the line at bad writing, and there is an astounding amount of bad children's literature out there.

Am I a terrible snob? Or do other people notice this stuff, too?


At 7:20 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

Oh, I notice. And I'm wincing aling with you. I no longer allow Thomas in the house. Seriously. But there's some good stuff out there, too. Some really good stuff. And if you venture into the illustrations, then there is another beautiful, amazing world out there to appreciate, or, disdain, too ;-)

At 7:58 PM, Blogger chichimama said...

I alter stuff all the time. The problem I am now running into is that C recognizes the difference, so I either have to commit to remembering THE EXACT SAME WORDING or it's a good 20 minutes of "but why was it this way yesterday and that way today?"

I find Cat in the Hat particularly annoying.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I used to edit those dreadful Clifford books so that the language took on just a SMIDGE of cadence. Then I just hid them so I wouldn't have to subject myself to the awkward text or disquieting illustrations.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Steph said...

I totally thought of you this morning as M talked me into reading Yertle the Turtle. There definitely are tons of children's books out there that are wince-worthy, but lots of great stuff too.

My Little Pony books are pretty bad, too. As long as we're naming names.


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