Books People Hate…What’s Your Take?

On our Facebook page I asked readers what book they just don’t like!  We got a big response, by the time I started writing this post there were almost 80 comments. Read them all here . Many of the books mentioned were ones I love.  Books I have read and taught with for years but apparently are also passionately disliked by others. Here are 5 of the books people hate that really surprised me because I like them all.

Would you want these books on your child’s bookcase?

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic for a reason. My son has loved it since day one and it really does a great job of calming before bed, like all great bedtime stories should. As a teacher I hated this book probably because it’s not a great book for groups. I was wrong, this is a gem ! The rhythm and rhymes are perfect to go from a busy day to a calm night. My son chooses this book to read to us often since he knows it by heart and when he’s having trouble sleeping I can lay with him and simply recite it to bring him back down. I say that is pretty great proof of the power of this classic. Edited for 2012 My daughter is now a big fan of this book too, my son loves reading it to her before bed and they are both calmed and engaged with it’s simplicity. I was shocked to see it disliked by so many even though I wasn’t the books biggest fan until I was reading it to my own kids.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak probably doesn’t need an introduction especially with the current film adaptation. We read this book often and my son randomly quotes the book throughout the day. Telling me to “Be still” just like Max tells the Wild Things. If by chance you are not familiar with this book, it’s a story of a little boy Max who is sent to his room for being wild and his imagination turns it into another world, filled with Wild Things and freedom from rules for behavior. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all, even when he’s wild.

No, David! by David Shannon is probably the author’s best known book, in it we follow the misadventures of little David and his eventual disciplining and hug from his mom. This book is a wonderful icebreaker for talking about rules with a class.  I have successfully used it with many groups of kids and my own as a reminder about rules and why we have them. Kids love watching other kids do naughty things ( and are quick to remind each other of the right way to do things) so this book is always a hit with toddlers on up.

But the most mentioned book was this one.

Love You Forever was called creepy by so many. I admit I have given it a good review relating to the desire to hold my baby even when he is no longer a baby. I personally  like it. My husband nodded and agreed with the masses not me, he thinks it’s creepy too.

So what do you think of these books?

Love them or hate them I am just glad so many of you are as passionate about children’s books as I am .  Even if books make us wonder if the publisher was sleeping when they gave it the go ahead, reading to our kids is essential and in my opinion one of our great responsibilities as parents.  So read on !

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  1. says

    So funny, I recently wrote a post about the top 5 books I hate, but my kids love. I absolutely love the first 3 books you’ve listed. I’ve never read No, David and I’ll Love You Forever I could take or leave, I just don’t feel strongly about it either way.

  2. says

    I love I’ll love you forever.. but I can see why some people would say it was creepy. I think it is sweet. We all love Goodnight Moon. It was my first daughters favorite bedtime story and got completely worn out. We just got a new copy for our second daughter and love reading it again. It is a relaxing book for the end of the day.
    I haven’t read Oh David. But I really don’t like Where the wild things are… at all.

  3. says

    I really hated Goodnight Moon when we first started reading it to my son (when he was a tiny baby). So, I stopped reading it to him. We pulled it out again when he was a toddler and more interested in the books. He fell in love with it and I came to appreciate it as a great night time book. He loved to find the mouse. He’s outgrown it a bit now, but my daughter enjoys it and he still listens in every once in a while.

    I’m not a huge fan of Love You Forever either, but there are some (hormonal) days where it can still make me cry. 🙂

    I love books with a good rhythm to them. My son mostly wants to be read nonfiction construction equipment books, so a good story book with good rhythm always makes me excited!

  4. says

    I can’t believe anyone would hate “Goodnight Moon”…all four of our girls got their own copy! I wanted them to have their beat-up originals to read to their children one day. I, too, end up reciting from memory many times we have read it so often. “Love You Forever” is also on my list of absolute FAVORITES!! The middle three, I totally agree with the “really dislike” crowd. 🙂

  5. wendy says

    I love all of those books. We don’t own the middle three YET, but my son loves the other two. I use his name in the “Good night nobody” page, which makes him smile, and I made up a melody for the “Love You Forever” song that he will sometimes sing with me or to me.

    Hm. Now that I think of it, I do edit “Love You Forever” as I read. I don’t like the negative things Munsch writes for each age, so I say cute things my son does or might do when he’s older, including, “And sometimes she takes him to the zoo!”

  6. Carol (@Cheeky_Geek) says

    I love ALL the books mentioned above! Goodnight Moon has a rhythm and cadence that is inherently calming. (PS Have you read “Goodnight GOON”, the Halloween one? SO funny.)
    We are in love with any David Shannon, Mo Willems, or Robert Munsch book…and I’ve never found “Love You Forever” creepy. It always makes me SOB.

  7. Carrie R. says

    My mom gave me Love You Forever when I was a kid and I’ve always loved it. I can see how some people think it’s creepy, but I see it has completly sweet and loving. Now with 2 boys of my own, I’m looking forward to reading it to them.

  8. Jenn says

    I haven’t read “No David!” although it’s on the list to get from the library. Our copy of Goodnight Moon is about to fall apart it gets read so much 🙂
    Love You Forever can make me cry, but I also find a little weird. I do understand what the author is saying, and that it’s not meant to be taken literally, but I still find it odd.
    Some lesser known books that I adore are “Blueberry Girl”,”You Are My I Love You”,”I Will Hold You ’til you Sleep” (OMG, the TEARS when I read this to my older while pregnant with my younger! Kiddo thought mommy was losing her mind!), “It’s Time to Sleep My Love,” and “Mama Do You Love Me?”

  9. says

    Goodnight Moon has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember, and my son was really into it for a while too. The bright colors and retro artwork have always captivated me (I felt the same about “Runaway Bunny”). That said, as a story I think it’s poorly written, as are many (if not most) children’s books from that era. It doesn’t flow well, and isn’t that interesting from an adult standpoint. Maybe that’s not so important though. Its simplicity makes it great for teaching basic words, whether actually learning to read them or just associating words with images. I used to have my son point to the red balloon, the mittens, etc. in the colored illustrations. I think books like that have really helped with his vocabulary. When it’s all about the story, I think you’re less inclined to think of other creative ways to use the book.

  10. Cara says

    I like all of those books except for Goodnight Moon. It was too weird and disjointed for me. Maybe I should give it a try again?

    My just-turned four-year-old daughter loves the No David books. Anything gross or naughty is so appealing to her. She loves to fill in what should have happened.

    I know a few people who don’t like the language in some of the Robert Munsch books. “Hey you dumb Pigs,” for example. But the stories are fun and the messages are good too. My daughter is incorrigible and having the words “bum” or “dumb” in her books hasn’t affected the way she speaks.

    I Love You Forever makes me cry. It’s like The Giving Tree, about the cycle of life.

    A book a truly didn’t care for was Jellybeans, by Sylvia Van Ommen. Two characters text each other on a cell phone about meeting in a park for a picnic. They agree to bring jellybeans and hot chocolate. So the characters are having their picnic, when one asks if they will go to heaven when they die and if there are jellybeans in heaven and will we still be friends?
    It’s a book about animals who text each other on a cell phone and then pontificate about death? It was a random pick from the library.

    There’s also Chester. I don’t care for books that are about writing a book.

  11. says

    I like them all except Love You Forever. I think it’s really sweet all the way up to the part where she climbs up the ladder. And I have a hard time with the fact that he doesn’t wake up! I think the overall theme of the book is lovely, but some parts are creepy.

  12. Jennifer T. says

    We love “Goodnight Moon” and “Love You Forever”. I have to admit as a Mother to a newborn baby boy I could not read that story without crying. Now that my son is 5 he can’t make it through the book without crying. It is one of our favorites. My husband loves it as well and doesn’t find it creepy. We have yet to read “Where The Wild Things Are” but we did order it from the school book club. Hopefully we’ll get it soon.

  13. says

    I think sometimes as “grown ups” and “teachers”(parents including because WE ARE OUR CHILD’s Primary example) we forget to just HAVE FUN & be SILLY instead of always looking for something that “educates”or “makes sense”.
    I personally LOVE anything by Robert Munsch and have ever since I was a child. He is SILLY! Love you Forever brings a tear to my eye everytime my girls and I read it. It expresses in a FUN or SILLY way how us Mom’s love our children unconditionally and how hopefully with the love we instill in our children they will learn to love and appreciate not only us as their Mom(parents) but their future children in the same capacity.
    I think an adult after being exposed to such negativity in the world, such as stalking, sexual abuse and what not, can take something harmless or innocent and view it as creepy or wrong based on what society has shown us. I think more “grown ups” really should try enjoying a children’s book from the child’s perspective instead of a jaded adult view.

    **My comment is my personal opinion and is by no means ment to offend anyone elses personal opinion. It’s just the world as I see it.**

    On a more positive note I would really LOVE to know what the parents/teachers FAVORITE books to read are?? Not their childrens favorite but what books do they as adults look forward to reading with the kids?


  14. Jennifer says

    I stand by thinking that “Love You Forever” is so creepy. The concept is wonderful, but the ladder-into-the-window scene was way too much for me. However, you are right about reading being a big responsibility as parents! So whatever books you can stand and your kids love, that’s all that matters.

  15. Dana Irwin says

    Loved this post! It was funny because I greatly dislike three of them!-(Goodnight Moon, No, David, AND I’ll Love you Forever) A lot of people rave about these so it was nice to feel like others share my same feelings!!! My kids still have not read good night moon- aren’t I a terrible parent?! I just can’t get past the very yucky colors! 🙂

  16. says

    Love You Forever is sooooooo creepy! The mother sneaking into his house and rocking him? Yuck! (not to mention hello, perspective? He looks to be a giant.) I really hate that book. It makes me want to take off my skin, it’s so skeevy.

    Goodnight Moon is a beautiful book, but I really wish people would show an ounce of originality and not get it for every single baby shower they go to. I’ve been to a shower where 4 copies of the book were received. There are thousands of other books (there are even several other books by Margaret Wise Brown including one of my favorites, Runaway Bunny.) Wherever you people are buyig this – please look on the other shelves. I promise you’ll find other books just as good, and you’ll give the parents/kids some variety.

  17. says

    I will admit, I have some issues with “Love You Forever”. An old woman breaking into her adult son’s bedroom at night? Creepy. But maybe also funny, so I read it to my kids. I love all the other titles on your list, and we own all of them except “No, David!”. In fact, we even own “Love You Forever”.

  18. Sharon says

    I wanted to like Where The Wild Things Are, but it’s annoying to read w/the run-on sentences and phrasing. I’m in the “Love You Forever Is Just Too Much” camp. I also don’t get the appeal of the Sandra Boynton books, specifically the Belly Button Book and Snuggle Puppy. Again, the phrasing is disjointed and awkward. We love Goodnight Moon the Leslie Patricelli board books like Yummy Yucky. There’s not a lot of text in those, but we make it up and DD knows our made-up parts by heart.

  19. Jessica B. says

    I never thought of Love You Forever as being creepy! It’s sweet!
    I can’t stand the classic- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Alexander needs to be disciplined.

  20. Antoinette says

    I love this post and the responses, even the ones I disagreed with.

    I haven’t read the Paperbag Princess or No David. I wonder if Goodnight Moon suffers from over exposure? My kids also memorized it and would spontaneously recite it when we saw the moon, or at bedtime, when saying Goodnight to us. For my youngest it is still new, and I have fallen in love with it again. If it seems disjointed, perhaps it is because it mimics the way our thoughts wonder and focus on random things as we fall asleep. This is the way this child says goodnight to his little, safe, world.
    I do also LOVE Love You Forever, and the image of the old woman climbing into her son’s room is meant to be comical and absurd, and to remind children that their parent is also the child of someone, and to show adults that their love and devotion for their child will echo into the future of their grandchildren. After all, it is a children’s book, and there are limited ways to convey this idea in such a context.
    Personally I always hated The Cat in the Hat, and found it VERY creepy that children would let a strange “cat” come into their home. Further, this Cat encourages them to break household rules in defiance of a parent AND brings trouble makers with him. When I have mentioned this to other parents I’ve gotten a look that says, “You are taking a children’s book far too seriously” or “You just don’t get it.”
    To each his own.

  21. Michelle says

    Goodnight Moon–no. The Paperbag Princess–never heard of. Where the Wild Things Are–no. No, David!–definitely no. Love You Forever–YES!–I love this book to pieces and think it is the sweetest story.

  22. Jenny F says

    I’ve never seen the big deal with Goodnight Moon. It’s always just seemed okay to me. But I cannot imagine anyone not liking Love You Forever!!! I can’t read it without crying!

  23. says

    Love Good Night Moon and Where The Wild Things Are. I actually like the phrasing and the simplicity. I am not a fan of No, David, but it doesn’t bother me either. I really dislike Love You Forever, it is just too creepy.

    The ones I don’t get that my kids love are the Karen Katz books. Just don’t like them.

    I love books that rhyme or have a lovely cadence. I love most children’s books that we read, just some more than others.

  24. Amy says

    “Love You Forever” definitely weirds me out. It always makes me think of my grandmother who is a lot like Marie on Everybody Loves Raymond. So if you know someone like that…who would actually crawl into his house, then it’s okay to think it’s creepy. 🙂

    Also, a book that I truly cannot stand to read is Skippy Jon Jones. My kids love them, but they are such a pain to read aloud.

  25. megan says

    haven’t read Paper Bag Princess but I like the other 3…good books! DISLIKE “I love you forever”…really dislike it. I first heard it quoted and thought it sounded so great that I went and checked it out from the library, and as soon as I saw the pictures I just really did NOT like it. At all.

    But I LOVE “Dinosaur vs. Bedtime” and Dinosaur vs. the Potty”. They make me laugh out loud and I quote them to my husband.

  26. Alex says

    I took care of my dying mom while my daughter was a baby. I would rather sever a limb than read Love You Forever to my child. It seems like a desperate attempt to ensure that your child will take care of you in your old age. I hope that my kids will just because I take care of them and will continue to maintain a positive relationship after they are grown. I value being of service, and helping people in general, and I think that’s a more appropriate message for wee littles. I think talking about my likely future decline with small kids is unkind.

    I didn’t get Goodnight Moon when I was a teacher or sold children’s books either. Then when my daughter was a year old we picked it up and I became a convert.

  27. says

    Paper Bag Princess is an absoulte favorite book around here and we don’t even own it! We just check it out from the library and when we don’t have it I just tell the story as a bedtime story. It’s absolutly brilliant. My girls LOVE when she calls him a bum, and I never even thought to let that part bug me. The only part that bothers me even a tiny bit is when her clothes burn up and she is standing there naked, but even that I can overlook for such a great story.

  28. says

    Goodnight Moon has always been a fav of all my children. I love it for the rhythm. It is not a group book…I don’t read it to my whole class. I’m not a huge fan of the Paperbag princess. Where the wild things are was a fav or of my oldest son…not mine tho. I love all of the No, David books for my classroom. And I don’t see I Love You Forever as creepy at all. Something about that book touches my heart. I haven’t read it for years tho. I can’t get thru the book without getting teary…can’t do that in front of a group of preschoolers.

  29. says

    So I love all the books, on your list, but can relate a little.
    When I first came across Goodnight Moon, I didn’t like it. Not sure why. It wasn’t a book I’d read with my students. But then after Ethan was born, it became a bedtime favourite.
    I Love You Forever, was a book I always loved. I would read it whenever I had a chance. Then a colleague called it creepy. Thought the mother was a stalker, and well, that ruined it for me. Ever since then, I did not like it. Until Ethan was born! Now it’s back on the favourite list!

  30. says

    I’m confused about why people have such a strong dislike for Paper Bag Princess. I LOVE it. When I first read it to my daughter when she was 6, she actually cheered. She really picked up on what a total bum the prince was being, she was so mad when he yelled at the princes, and was thrilled that she stood up for herself. We still read it to talk about those themes, and love it. I can’t wait to read it to my youngest in a few years!

  31. says

    I can definitely understand why some might think that “Love You Forever” is creepy, but I like it. My daughter’s pre-school teacher reads it every year at their Mother’s Day party and always ends up in tears. I did too last year.

    I can’t stand Goodnight Moon. Can’t explain why, but I just really dislike that book.

  32. says

    “Goodnight Moon” is one of Little Miss Kickboxer’s favorites. So is “The Paperbag Princess”–and I secretly wish the author had used even stronger language than “bum” at the end. But ah well …

    The others I’m not familiar with, but will explore.

    Have you ever seen “Daddy Loves His Little Girl”? Ugh. That writer needs to go back to writing class, IMHO. Of course, Little Miss Kickboxer loves it …

  33. Marcy says

    I’ll Love You Forever would be an adorable sweet book and favorite of mine IF it did not contain the page where the mother sneaks into his adult bedroom and rocks him in his sleep (!!!). I still wonder what the heck the author was thinking when he added that one part to the story.

  34. Kara says

    I read this post a while back and based on the reviews purchased “The Paper Bag Princess.” My daughter and I love this book! Thanks for introducing it to us! And “Goodnight Moon” is one of my favorite books to read. Simple and sweet.

  35. Sarah says

    We would read to my son before he was born. It was a great way for my husband and I to end the day. We’d lie in bed and read a book or two to the belly. Odd? Maybe, but it was our way of beginning to connect with our son. My husband would always pick “Good Night Moon” I never understood why, until my soon turned 8months and that was the book he wanted. Very early on we’d say a name of an item and he’d find it. It makes reading so much more fun for all of us. I also love “Love You Forever”. I’m a stay at home mom and I find that just seeing this book reminds me to take life a little slower and not be in such a rush. It is a bit sad, but its message of love is wonderful.

    • admin says

      I love how a perspective on a book can change so much. I really disliked Goodnight Moon while teaching ( before I as a parent) and now I would cry if we lost the tattered copy we have read countless times. My son would calm to the sound of the words, and now at 5 he loves reading it to his little sister.

  36. Maegan says

    I like all the books you’ve listed.

    I HATE “The Giving Tree” that selfish little brat needs a smack upside the head.

    My son loves “Dumb Bunnies” (from the library, thank goodness!), but it’s certainly not my cup of tea.

  37. says

    I’ve always hated “The Giving Tree”. Shel Silverstein has much to answer for. And the Berentstain Bears will hopefully fade into oblivion.

    As for the others on your list… the illustrations from Love you Forever, may not be much, but it was the book which my five year old daughter read to her grandmother the night before she died of cancer. Sometimes a book is a script. Goodnight Moon? Ever notice that it’s a great GREEN room? The world? And that rabbit is lying in bed with his own telephone and a balloon. Just back from a party. Like Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon is one of those rarities that just gets deeper the more you go down.

  38. Kim says

    I absolutely hate The Giving Tree. I think the tree is a chump and the boy is selfish. I also have grown to dislike my once beloved Berenstain Bears…they portray Papa as such a bumbling idiot. I love Curious George, but they are soooo long at naptime when everyonne is tired! My daughters have a Blue’s Clues book with about 10to stories in it that I refuse to read, but they love.
    I love Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are and Love You Forever. We’ll have to check out the others listed here.

  39. Patty says

    I really disliked Love You Forever, until I read (and adored!) every Robert Munsch book our library owns and realized that he always takes everything to the extreme. It’s not funny like most of the other books, but goes just as far overboard with a mother’s love as he does with the birthday cakes, smelly socks, playhouses, sandcastles and super-indelible-never-come-off-til- you’re-dead-and-maybe-not-even-then markers!

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