The Good, the Bad, and the “Oh, That”

Happy post-thanksgivukah haze to all of you. And now, a blow by blow of the brutal, unforgiving book-gift-giving process.

We start with the 10-year-old boy. A sweet guy with a reading disability, he's tricky to buy books for, and I can tell you that we pretty much failed, though others were more successful. We got him:


His reaction: "Oh. This."

His other aunt got him:


His reaction: "Cool!" He proceeded to read it for the rest of the evening.

Ahem. On to: more books, and other nieces and nephews.

The 5-year-old. We got him: A really beautiful illustrated book that was very long and narrow, with illustrations of buildings going up and then falling down. No, I don't remember the title or author, because apparently I'm trying to cement our reputation here as being pretty out of it.

His reaction: Heartbroken weeping, though later he did read it with his mom, tears drying on his face.

The 8-year-old cousin who is a very, very nice little girl. We got her:


Her reaction: she glanced at it, then went chasing after her big cousins to see what they were doing.

The 5- and 7-year-old nephews were given a collection of books that were given to this blog. These were:


Reaction: A quite-satisfied sort of "Yeah, they really do have bad drawing!"


Their reaction: 0. My response: This book is so cool, it's skeletons! Their response to my response: 0.

There were maybe 5 other books in the pile, and after 1.3 seconds necessary for the Stick the Dog comment, the books were shoved under the dining room table and everyone ran out of the room.

Then there's Chestnut. She got this:


Yes, it was because of you people telling me about it. Thank you! She got it from her aunt, though, not from me. Her reaction: YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Diana got this from her aunt on my strong, strong recommendation:

Roz Chast_Cartoon

Her reaction: Oh. Thanks.

She also got these:


Her reaction: Oh, look at these.

Are you noticing the lack of exclamation points here? Are you getting the level of difficulty we all face?

We face a very high level of difficulty.

But this is just the nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles version. Stay tuned, as we find out: what went down when WE tried to get Chestnut and Diana books they would like.

Spoiler alert: (And I say this even before we have given them.) I think they won't like them so much. Sigh.

6 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad, and the “Oh, That”

  1. You are to be commended for even trying with teh books. The most successful thing I have given my kid so far: a jar of Nutella.


  2. El’s comment made me cry laughing. We gave The Mysterious Benedict Society to a 7 year old last year and he said, “Oh thanks.” To which I said, “Really, look, it is super cool, you see it is about this boy and….” and the 7 year old listened politely and said, “Thanks.” And that was it. Well just this past week (a year later), he said to me “I love that book! I’m half way through.”
    So take comfort that timing may be wrong, but the kids may come around!


  3. ah, it’s so hard to know what books to give people as gifts. When I was a girl friends and relations kept giving my sister and I copies of The Secret Garden, and neither one of us was able to get through that book. We just hated it.
    (someone is probably reading this and thinking, “How could you hate The Secret Garden??”)
    (someone else is nodding and thinking, “Yep, I hated it too!”)


  4. It seems edifying (for the book) to have people hate it, it seems to me. No one wants to be loved in an automatic, “of COURSE you have to love it” sort of way. Having dissenters just makes the whole process seem better somehow.
    Though I did like it. (truth)(but what about Dickon?)


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