At my age you'd rightly be expected to have encountered enough bouts of boredom to be able to stifle a yawn or two when another one comes along. You've been there , yawned that , got the T-shirt, come out this side of alive.
Children's books though are a whole other ballpark. When the wee beloved hauls across her latest favourite for you to read out while you're trying to take in a half decent show on TV you don't break out in spontaneous dance.
You notice the sheer bulk of it. I mean 80 pages ? So you try opening it at page 65.
Fat chance. Wee beloved wants it from the begining.
Which is Goosey Gander , Georgie Porgie , Rock-A-Bye Baby and Tom The Piper's Son. These followed by sustained endurance thereafter of Teddy's Birthday Party , Teddy's Favourites , Teddy's ABC and a seven-page epic entitled Teddy Goes Flying that has you feeling like you're on an especially turbulent flight you decide you've earned the right to skip a dozen or so pages.
Dream on Daddy.
And know that there's no missing Uncle Sailor Bill . Nor anything else in that book.
You have nothing against either reading or reading aloud. Quite the contrary. What pains is the sheer absence of traction, grip , hook.
I mean take Teddy's Favourites. Hardly the stuff you've been dying to know all your life. Or Teddy's ABC - edifying but don't bet on it creating an intellectual breakthough to solve the planet's problems (of which Kid Lit by the way is no small component). Granted Hey Diddle Diddle has a certain surreal appeal but only to a point. The delight of knowing the dish ran away with the spoon begins to wear thin by around the nineteenth reading.
While these pieces can be read away within a reasonable couple of minutes each , things like Teddy Goes Flying are a far tougher kettle of fish. They are long. They are meant to be stories.
Teddy sees a bird and thinks how nice it would be to fly. He tries all manner of ways and can't. His Uncle Bill then gives him a ride in a helicopter. Teddy decides that is exciting enough.
Roald Dahl it ain't.
Nor an Agatha Christie whodunnit. Nor anything that dwells on the human condition. Why , not even on the bear condition. As I recall it , Milan Kundera in his Art Of The Novel wrote of the five or six stages in which a character or plot progressively develops. You wouldn't find half of one in Uncle Sailor Bill. And one shudders to think what E.M. Forster - author of Aspects Of The Novel (of which sad to say I couldn't understand a word) - would make of The Three Bears.
So there you go. It's not easy.
One thing it has to be said that does link your wee beloved's fav. books to some well known works of high art - like , say , Joyce's Ulysses or William Burrough's Naked Lunch - is the effect it has of decimating any trace of wakefulness within an inch of your life. No doubt the competent author of Grumpy Bertie Bear is in the reckoning for a Nobel and good luck to her.
The difference though is that with Ulysses or Naked Lunch you have a choice not to partake.
With wee beloved's treasure trove of Kid Lit , it's Fat Chance.