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Battle of the Books

Every night we read three books with Adlai. Kids’ books, not ‘War and Peace’. It’s one of my favourite times of day. 

The beginning of the bedtime routine is a bit more intense with all the teeth-brushing and pyjama intricacies. It all feels a bit of an uphill battle at times. But, when we get to sit down, cuddle and read…life is good. Really good.

We sit in Adlai’s room next to his bookcase and he’ll make it very clear which book he wants to read. Children’s books are a real mixed bag. There are some real rotters out there but there are some real gems, too. I’ve laughed at the adventures of the Gruffalo and Sam I Am, and cried at the emotional roller coaster of Stick Man. One of my current favourites is ‘The Tiger Who Came for Tea.’ The illustrations remind me of my own childhood and the story is a whole bunch of fun.

Adlai is pretty good at sorting the wheat from the chaff, but sometimes the books we read are really hard work. (I’m not saying any names, but there’s a particular one about a brother and sister whose parents are nowhere to be seen that drives me potty.)  I’m not sure where these books come from. They seem to magically appear on his bookshelf. We don’t buy them. I guess we get given them. Either way, they are painfully bad. Even with my best animal voices those stories are flat and dull. They pitter out at the end and don’t seem to tell any story at all. They make me want to never pick up a book again.

Adlai likes to read the same ones over and over again, so I’m glad that some authors have put some real effort and craft into some amazing children’s books. It’s creating a whole bunch of happy memories for me and my son, and that’s worth the cost of a thousand books.

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