Reading aloud a children’s book with an arch nemesis!

September 18, 2009

I recently bought a new book to read to my little one: Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie by Joel Stewart. The artful synopsis on the back is what sold me: a big, blue (my favorite color!!!) beast-like giant eyeing a little boy on a scooter, pointedly telling him “I’m bored. I think I’ll eat you.” Resistance was futile.

Reading to my son is an interesting exercise. I love to read aloud to him, especially at night when he’s curled up in our bed with his bottle, staring avidly at the My Kitty illustrations I read to him every night. It is one of the few times he’ll be still enough for me to be able to point out the words; every other time he’s too busy grabbing it from me and trying to turn the pages. I believe it’s because he thinks of books as little doors – a legitimate way to view a book as a doorway to a new world I guess. Daytime reading is usually me reading to him while he plays around so he can hear the story and see me enjoy the book.

Which is why I love Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie; reading this book aloud is pure enjoyment. I probably have as much fun, if not more, as my son, reading the hard “D’s” and booming “B’s” in their rolling alterations with a faux English accent (I’m compelled! It makes me sound cultured and evil). The Big Blue Beastie is in a perpetual state of boredom and constantly threatening to “eat” our intrepid young hero. Each time, Dexter counters with “Hold on, I have a much better idea” and comes up with various schemes that give him a few moments more (or many moons in storyland time). Thus we have the two frenemies scooting around on scooters, running a successful flower delivery business (complete with shares and the stock market), becoming famed private detectives called “Bexley & Beastie” (solving the case of the “The Rubber Glove Affair” and capturing arch nemesis Professor Horten Zoar, “although he later escaped”), creating the largest beast-iest yogurt sundae, and (finally) sharing lollipops.

When reading to a child, especially at night, I find there are certain rules that make it an enjoyable experience for both parties.

  1. There needs to by a rhythm to the writing, otherwise what’s the point of reading aloud? Alliterations, assonance, consonance, rhymes and repetition are great stylistic devices, and are wonderful to the ears.
  2. The book should be a reasonable length. The My Kitty book is only 5 pages long (remember, my child is only 1!), which is perfect as the final book for the day. It is to wind him down and lull him to sleep. Dexter Bexley is 36 pages which is why I read it to him during the day.
  3. The illustrations should be vibrant. When you leave the books lying around, and when you pause during your recitation, you want your child to want to look at the pictures.
  4. Enjoy The Book. Enjoy Reading Aloud.

– manals



  1. English accent = cultured and evil…I like the logic there.


  2. […] years ago I wrote a blog post on The Loose Cannons about reading aloud children’s books to the little ones. I had listed some tips or “rules” about making night-time reading an enjoyable […]

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