That’s my all time favorite Dr. Seuss book. I love the (even more than usual) zany rhymes and the ending, where Mr. Knox gets Mr. Fox in Socks, sir, and the latter is a “tweetle beetle noodle poodle bottled paddled muddled duddled fuddled wuddled”. Reading this aloud to my kids is one of my favorite things to do. Listening to their squeals of delight get louder and louder with each crazy line that is added to the tongue-twisting fun can help anyone find their silly side. Dr. Seuss’ left us with some truly worthwhile childhood entertainment and when it is read with any semblance of feeling and fun, the result is nothing short of infectious laughter and a bringing out of the child in us all.
|Pirate Princess liked the swag|
Much as they tried, the Target near us did not provide this experience during their Dr. Seuss Storytime this past Saturday. Oh there was a nice enough space cleared out of the ladies accessories department, so the kids could sit on the carpet, and as I didn’t know what to expect, I thought this was decent. There were a couple of signs directing people towards the story time area and when we got there (about a half and hour after it started, the first group of kids was just leaving. We sat the kids down (except for the young Scientist, who for some reason was refusing to leave my side) and a Target “team member” gave us some actually quite nice kiddie “swag”, in the form of a reusable Lorax shopping bag with a snack (apple juice, crackers, and fruit snacks), and some coloring stuff, and even a felt Lorax mustache/bookmark. Then, one after the other, two different Target peeps sat in the reader chair and read to the children who had gathered. The first read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and the second read another of my favorites, Green Eggs and Ham. We waited for the fun to start. If we had stayed past those two books we’d still be waiting.
After the nice bags and the buildup from the website, I have to say, I was disappointed here. I’m sure the team members who did the readings were trying their best, but the readings were just…flat. There was hardy any emotion in either. It was as if they had never heard these books being read before. The one man even called him San-I-Am. SAN! Can you believe it? Then it hit: there’s a good chance they hadn’t ever heard those books being read before. That just made me sad, but I digress. It was such a shame to have those books read by people who just didn’t seem to get it. Reading to kids is all about knowing how to be silly, to be vulnerable, to let childhood come storming back in with a bang and how to not be afraid to sounds like a total dork while doing it. These team members did not tell a story. They read the words on the page.
|Seuss ‘Stache Smiles (they’re hiding)|
After the requisite fifteen minutes (we felt it would be rude and set a bad example to the kids to leave without staying for a polite period) we walked away to find a less crowded spot and let the kids explore their bags. The boys particularly loved the ‘staches, and Reagan had quite a treat with the fruit snacks. Hester just loved carrying her own bag around the store (granted, we decided to do a quick bag inspection as we got the the checkout lane, because neither the husband nor I wanted to deal with any possible accidental shoplifting incidents that day. Not on Rex Manning Dr. Seuss day.) All in all, though the reading itself was lackluster at best, the day was not a total wash. We even reread the books from the morning during our evening story time, more to get the “bad taste” of the earlier readings out of our metaphorical mouths than anything else. And, the kids now have new library book bags, which is good, because I start to feel like a lazy parent when we use the Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin bags from Halloween past St. Patrick’s Day.
So now I want to know: what is your biggest pet peeve about bad reading? Or, how do you make read alouds enjoyable (for you and your kids)?