One of the most super things about being a parent is reading bedtime stories. My dad used to read to me and my brother, and I would annoy them by stealing the book and reading ahead, then getting bored when he was reading the same bit I’d already read. I’m going to be prepared for this when it happens to me as a parent.
When Bernard was tiny, Pete used to read to him as he fed, and he was milkily oblivious to the story, which meant we read some fairly unsuitable stuff like The Hobbit and Tales of King Arthur. Once he was old enough to listen and understand, we set about reading more age-appropriate literature such as The Gruffalo, Green Eggs and Ham, and the beautifully illustrated Oliver James books. My personal favourite was always Where The Wild Things Are, but most of these books get a bit stale by the ninetieth time you read them.
I’m guilty of pushing Bernard to listen to stories that slightly challenge his reading level, not out of Pushy Motherishness, but because as his reading age increases, his stories get more interesting. While I have tolerated the various works of Roald Dahl, I am definitely looking forward to The Hobbit, Watership Down, Tom Sawyer, and Biggles. I also like to browse charity shops and secondhand bookstalls for books I remember loving, and this has introduced Bernard to some real old favourites including Professor Branestawm, Dr Dolittle, Milly Molly Mandy, and Mrs Pepperpot. The one point to note about secondhand children’s books is that some of the unrevised language can be a little choice. I’ll tell you about the coons in Dr Dolittle at some point.
The other thing I’m enjoying is reading books that I missed out on as a kid. You may be surprised to learn that I first read Charlotte’s Web last year, I never really got into The Secret Seven, and we’re currently enjoying Pippi Longstocking: first time for both of us. The older he gets, the more I enjoy discovering new stories, and rediscovering old ones.