5 Excellent Books to Read With Your Kids
Reading to your kids when they’re young is the absolute best way to set them up for a lifetime of literary pursuits. That being said, if I have to read Goodnight Moon one more time I will literally lose my mind. (Goodnight bowl of mush? No. Clean that up.) Try out these excellent alternatives to the classics and you’ll find yourself laughing right along with your kids.
I NEED A NEW BUTT
Do my five-year-old and I share the same level of maturity when it comes to a book about searching for a new butt? Without the slightest hint of a doubt.
In this story a boy is dismayed because he notices his butt has a crack in it, so he sets out to find a new one. Who knew there were so many types to choose from? With a smooth rhyme scheme, hilarious illustrations and lots of butts, this book has become a bedtime staple.
Added bonus (and a spoiler warning in case you want the conclusion of the search to be a surprise) the ending is so abrupt that my son and I laughed for several minutes at that alone. Basically the boy goes to his dad and sees that his butt has a crack in it too. Then the dad’s butt falls off without explanation. Then you turn to a blank page. That’s it. The end.
I did have to console my daughter for a bit as the prospect of a butt suddenly falling off caused her understandable alarm.
BOOK WITH NO PICTURES
Written by BJ Novak (The Office) this book has my kids in stitches from start to finish. True to its name, the book contains no illustrations, but instead revels in the reader (you) having to say increasingly ridiculous things, sing, and recite two full pages of shouted sound effects.
It’s empowering to hand the reins over to the kids as you plead with them to please not make you read the rest, as is written in the book. No matter how many times we read this one it never fails to have the entire family in hysterics. I can’t express the unfettered glee the kids feel while coaxing the reader to continue. I may be pitching it as Baby’s First Taste of Power but in reality I think it’s a nice counterbalance to them being told what to do every second.
THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK
Every parent struggles with one persistent question: How do I discuss the absurdity of cold war style arms races and the existential dread of mutually assured destruction with my child?
Dr. Seuss has you covered.
The Butter Battle Book remains to this day one of the best books about nationalism, jingoism, and the fragile comedy of international conflict ever written.
One of his less-celebrated works, The Butter Battle Book follows two devout militants separated by a wall that divides those who eat their bread with the butter side up from those who eat it with the butter side down. Propaganda, whimsical weaponry, and a gun-toting spaniel bring this story to life as the typically colourful illustrations paint a bleak picture.
Maybe not one for bedtime but an important read nonetheless.
5 MINUTE STORIES
Nothing beats variety when it comes to bedtime stories. The 5 Minute Stories series has a book for every single kid. Paw Patrol, Spiderman, Disney Princesses, and lots more. Of course, if your kids are anything like mine they will choose a favourite from each book and insist on that one being read every. single. time.
Still, the illusion of choice is refreshing!
Dav Pilkey is a genius. This guy speaks to kids and the kid in all of us with the finesse of a master artist. But with poop jokes. A master artist of poop jokes. There, that’s it.
My son is still a little young for Captain Underpants which is why I was so thrilled to come across Dog Man. Aimed at a younger audience, this picture-heavy series is pure comedy gold. Strap in for absurdity and a few truly touching moments while you and your kids tear through these books.
Also check out Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot if you run out of Dog Man books! It’s another excellent Pilkey series about a boy mouse and his giant robot fighting aliens from every different planet in the solar system. This guy can do no wrong.