What to do when you hate the books your kid is reading


Island Packet — First, the good news: The 9-year-old loves books. Always with the books. He’s a big reader — at bedtime, in the backseat and at the breakfast table, which is why many of his favorites are frequently drenched in syrup. There are certainly worse things to be into, such as firecrackers or the Disney Channel or almost literally anything else, so I understand that complaining that your kid reads too much is a little like whining how you can’t get him to put the carrots down long enough to shovel a Baconator in there.

But the problem isn’t that he’s reading too much, it’s that his current favorites — a series of adventures starring a mouse in some sort of mystical dragonworld — are, to borrow a phrase from the world of literary criticism, rhinoceros poop.

These are such terrible books. They have terrible titles and terrible art, and they use terrible words. They have no discernible storyline, characters arrive and vanish for no reason (one turtle just up and leaves, which is odd, as turtles aren’t known for their speedy departures) and each chapter is about two pages long. Read more.


About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

2 responses to “What to do when you hate the books your kid is reading

  • ladyinthehouse

    I know exactly who you are talking about. Geronimo Stilton! Okay, so here is my take on this. Read the whole blog. Thought it was honest. But He’s A BOY:) Boys like color, fragments, messiness, busyness, adventure, characters, and fast-paced visual stimulation. It doesn’t even have to make sense. In fact, there should be more of those type books for boys, who often need “breaks” from heavy reading like Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and classic literature. And it sounds like your little love is a true reader, which in this world of video games and constant technology? Yes. You need to thank your lucky stars. Look at this way. At least it isn’t Professor Poopy Pants – the worst waste your time books ever that boys absolutely love!! Peace to you:) And hug that child for reading so much!! I have an M.Ed, so I know boy readers. He’s a keeper!!


    • Jeff Vrabel

      SHHH THE MOUSE WILL HEAR YOU! And I know this is just a phase and that I’ve exaggerated some if not all detail for dramatic comic effect. He’s into all sorts of things — we just finished Percy Jackson and the last Lemony Snicket book, which is a great mystery that uses words like “gimcrack” and entertained us both, except me, who just hated the writer for being so good. Thanks for reading! – J .


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