Daddy, Read to Me

-posted by Meghan and Ruth, with a little help from some Dads

Happy Father’s Day!  This year we were thinking about writing about some of our favorite fictional Dads, and when brainstorming them, we kept coming back to the fact that our very favorite dads aren’t fictional at all- they are the ones in our family.  So we thought we’d pose the question- What do Daddy’s like to read to their kids?  Here’s what they said:

~~~

The first person we asked was my Dad, Bruce.  I remembered loads of books
that he would read to us, but mostly from when I was a little older- chapter books, like Mary Poppins, Little House, Amy’s Eyes.  (And I remember squabbling with my brother Nathan, who is three years younger, about what book got read…) As the mother of toddlers, I was especially curious to see what younger books he recalled. – Meghan


“Daddies like to read anything that their little boy or girl responds to particularly with an enthusiastic ‘read it again, Daddy.’  Fortunately for me, you and Nathan were great listeners/ co-readers and correctors of omissions or any attempted abbreviations.  It was also fun to put voices to various characters or sounds to situations.  So, among the anythings that you liked (and therefor, I liked) before the more sophisticated chapter books were:
*Almost any Dr. Seuss but particularly Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street.
*The Winnie the Pooh Series.  It was particularly fun to do the voice for Eeyore.  You did the Pooh sticks game yourself at the bridge between Aunt Hazel’s and Gram’s camps.
*Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
*Where the Wild Things Are
*The Snowy Day
And,  Alfalfa Hill
*
Next, I asked my husband, Chuck.  As usual, I thought I knew exactly what he’d say.  As usual, I was partly right, and partly wonderfully and beautifully surprised.  🙂   Just as a side note, our twins are only 3 1/2, so that’s the age range pool he’s pulling from.  – Meghan
“What do I like to read to the kids?  Anything that excites their spirit or imagination, makes them ask questions, makes them smile, or look up at me with their big green eyes and say, ‘Ohhh’,, as if they had just been imparted with the wisdom of the ages.  My son is currently obsessed with two things – firefighters, and trucks.  Diggers, he calls them.  And so any book that gets him that excited is something I love reading.  My daughter loves to look at each picture, each character, and say, “Daddy, what’s he saying?  What’s she saying?”  It can be a little exasperating at times, turning a ten page book into the length of War and Peace.  But I love her curiosity and her ability to answer her own questions.  No matter what I tell her they are saying, she will invariably come up with a line of her own which is funny, original and insightful.  She loves Babar, and I love that all the characters are so real to her.  She calls each one by name – Pom, Flora, etc. as if they were part of her extended family.  Which in a sense, they are.  To hear my children scream for “One more book!” is the most delightful kind of tantrum I could ever imagine.  My own personal favorites are Forever Young, a children’s book of the Bob Dylan song, and Duck on a Bike, as it was one of the first books I read to them as babies.  When we get to the last page of Forever Young, the Dylan-esque character passes his guitar on to a little girl, and my daughter always looks up at me, smiles her huge grin and says, “He’s giving the little girl his guitar!”  It always makes her light up as she understands on an instinctual level that he is passing along more than a gift, but a tradition and a love of music.  I can only hope I am passing along something equally valuable to them.  Looking at her face, she makes me feel that I am, and I can’t help but smile back.”
*

My conversation was with Jim:  Dad to Cory, step-dad to Nathan and Meghan, Grandpa to the two sets of twins, and my husband and fellow children’s  book-lover.  He remembered reading to Cory, which sparked an email to see if his memories matched with Cory’s. -Ruth

“I remember reading Nuts to Nightingale to Cory in a “strange voice, Jim recalls. “Actually, I remember reading many books in funny voices.  When I asked Cory what he remembered about our early reading times, he wrote me back:

‘I totally remember you  reading to me in funny voices! Sometimes I used to get so mad at you for doing that… You would promise to stop, and then the accents would creep back in.  Sometimes I thought it was funny too. You had all manner of character voices.  I can’t however recall the specific books or stories. ‘

Isn’t it interesting that it’s the voices and the experience itself more than the stories.  For me, it was reading in character–and for Cory, it was Dad reading totally out of character!”

*

I still have strong memories of my own Daddy reading to me.  Now 91 years old, he still loves his books, and I love reminding him of  the time he read Little Women to me when I had the measles, or how he would read one chapter of The Bobbsey Twins every night before I went to bed.  Thanks, Daddy!    ~Ruth

~~~

**You may notice that all the dads are reading to Molly and Jacob.  That’s what we have pictures of- the best documented childhoods on the planet!**

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