Children's Books Based on Television Versus the Classics

One parent regrets that her kid prefers books based on TV shows instead of the classics



Last weekend my mom gave Coraline a twenty dollar bill for the bookstore. Coraline was very proud to carry her own money and very excited about new books (so proud and excited that she clutched the crumpled bill in her fist all afternoon asking “Is it time to go yet?” every 30 seconds). So I made up my mind that I would just stand aside and let her pick out her own books. This seemed like a loving parental thing to do until we got to the store where she quickly pulled from the rack a Dora book, a Diego book, and an Angelina Ballerina book. “Are you sure?” I asked her (a half dozen times). She was sure. She paid, we left, and that night at pre-bed story time — which is one of my favorite times of the day — we read Dora three times in a row.

The Dora-Diego-Angelina rotation has continued for over a week. And each time she pulls them out I groan “Are you sure?” She’s always sure. Last night, halfway through our second round of “Dora Goes to the Doctor“ I found myself wondering if I had a bad attitude. I mean, she watches those shows. And we were reading together. But because the books are essentially summaries of television episodes, they seem less book-like. Reading them seems sort of blasphemous. Children’s literature can be so amazing — it can inspire creativity and teach important lessons.

Of course, one could argue that Coraline’s cooperation at the doctor’s last week was inspired by Dora, but still: it’s not art — which either makes me a conscientious parent or a snob. (I’m leaning towards the latter.) Would it be ridiculous for me to stealthily extract these types of books from her shelf so we can get back to The Wind in the Willows and Madeline?

Thoughts? What are some of your favorite children’s books? What are your kid’s favorite books?

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About This Blog

Shannon Gallagher

Shannon Gallagher
Rhinebeck, NY


Dutchess County native Shannon Gallagher is a contributing editor for Hudson Valley Magazine. An erstwhile thrill-seeker, these days she courts disaster of a different variety wrangling a spirited toddler, honing her vegan baking skills, and chasing the ever-elusive work-family balance. She teaches Pilates and does fascial bodywork, and lives in Rhinebeck with Coraline, a cat named Otie, and Sushi the Fish (named, of course, by the toddler).

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