While I’m always happy when a book I think Nate is too young for turns out to be a favorite, like Frog and Toad, there are some books I’ve introduced too early.
“Knuffe Bunny” is one such misguided effort. A longtime lover of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books, I thought “Knuffle Bunny” would make Nate’s day. “Knuffle Bunny” is the story of a Trixie, a little girl who loses her stuffed bunny at the laundromat and who tries to inform her father of this via strangulated sounds and animated gestures of woe:
It’s a cute book, but Nate’s vocabulary takes a bit of a nosedive for a few days after we read it. He’ll look at me and say, “Aggle Klabble!” or other Trixie-inspired gibberish like he’s genuinely trying to communicate something to me. I explain to him that Trixie is a baby and doesn’t have words like Nate, but he just looks at me as if to say, “Duh, Mom, I know I have words — ‘Aggle Klabble’ are the words I am saying.” Conversations including “Aggle Klabble” end in frustration for both of us.
The blame for “Little Pea” rests solely on my shoulders. I fell in love with this book when a friend received it for her baby, and she was sweet enough to give it to me when I had Nate. It’s the story of a little pea who is forced to eat candy for dinner. He chokes down five pieces of the disgusting stuff to get to his dessert, a big bowl of spinach. Since Nate doesn’t have many issues with food, I don’t even want to bring up the idea of “not liking” something let alone learning that “Yuck!” and “Blech!” are even associated with eating. I know those words are going to come out of his mouth soon enough! Right now when I read the book I leave out the words I don’t want him to learn. But I think this is another one that we will be better off reading when he’s a bit older.
“Dogfish” is a book both Nate and I love. It’s about a little boy who has a goldfish but really wants a dog. In the end, he trains the goldfish to do many dog-like tricks, so he considers his pet to be a “Dogfish.” If I didn’t have a dog, I don’t know that I would be happy to read this book with Nate. Yes, ultimately, the little boy declares “Who needs a dog when you have a dogfish?!” but the part of the book that Nate has taken to is when the little boy is still in the throes of convincing his mother that he needs a dog. This page in particular is what to watch out for:
Nate runs around after reading this chanting “I NEED A DOG” over and over again. To which I can say, “You have a dog!” and breathe a sigh of relief. But you may not be so lucky.