Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bodacious Books for Non-Bogus Babes: Kids' Books That Don't Suck

A while ago I wrote a post about Kick A** Kids' Music; essentially, I reviewed music geared for children that parents could also enjoy (other readers and I continue to add new titles in the comments section of this post). The other day, I discovered an awesome picture book on the shelves of my local Library that inspired me to write a post about kids' books.

When I pulled Dude: fun with Dude and Betty (M) by Lisa Pliscou and Tom Dunne from the shelf, I literally shrieked with laughter, alarming a nearby Library Clerk. From the cover you can tell where the authors are going with this: Dude is a Dick and Jane-styled picture book, with a twist. Instead of learning the basics of ordinary vocabulary and sentence structure, Pliscou teaches kids (and parents!) surf-speak.

First, we're introduced to our protagonist:
Here is Dude.
Hey, Dude. What's up?
Dude is a way cool guy.
Later on, the action picks up:
See Dude surf.
Look at Dude surf.
Surf, Dude, surf.
My favourite passage involves the introduction of conflict to the story line:
'Dude,' says Father, 'have you cleaned your room?'
'Dude,' says Mother, 'have you done your homework?'
Oh, oh!
What a gnarly scene.
It is time to bail.
Bail, Dude, bail!

For those of us who are new to surf-speak, Pliscou helpfully provides a glossary of surf terms in the back of the book. This was especially useful to me, as I have apparently been misusing the word "gnarly" for years. ("Gnarly: When describing waves: big and very tough to surf. In a general sense, describes something really bad or difficult").

My own son (2 years), enjoyed the pacing, brightly-coloured and simple pictures in the Dick and Jane-style, as well as the unusual words (stokaboka!). Since I am familiar with the original Dick and Jane series, this playful tribute/parody was equally pleasing to me, the person who has to read the thing over and over again.

Dude now holds a place of honour on my list of bodacious books for kids. Other worthy titles include, Grumpy Bird (M) by Jeremy Tankard and Mo Willems' various children's series, including Knuffle Bunny (M) Elephant & Piggie (M), The Pigeon (M), and Cat the Cat (M).


  1. We like the line "Bud is harshing on Dude's mellow". In fact, it's become part of our house vocabulary!

  2. Recently, I really liked Iggy Peck, Architect, and the absolutely crazy Bumble Ardy - the new one by Maurice Sendak, who is giving some wonderfully grumpy interviews at the moment - he doesn't pull any punches!