No More Twaddle! Booklist | Picture Book Professor

No More Twaddle! Booklist

No more twaddle!

A while ago, I learned the word ‘twaddle’ while reading an article about children’s books. Twaddle is a great word. It was coined by a British educator named Charlotte Mason about a century ago to describe books that are “dumbed down” and belittling to a child’s mind.
Therefore, the phrase “no more twaddle” basically means “no more poor quality books for kids.”

For Mason, the following points describe what “twaddle” is:

• Talking down to a child
• Books that are diluted
• Undervaluing the intelligence of the child
• Reading-made-easy
• Second rate, stale, predictable
• Goody-goody story books or highly spiced adventures of poor quality, titillating
• Scrappy, weak, light reading
• Silly
• Idle
• Insignificant
• Worthless
• Trivial
• Feeble
• Tedious

I agree that we should have no more twaddle! Because our children really deserve the best books out there!

Kids deserve:

    Books that value their intelligence
    Books that encourage creativity, cleverness, imagination and ingenuity
    Books that are significant, exciting, and worthwhile
    Books that are rich in both imagery and storytelling
    Books that challenge them

For me, books that are twaddle-free stand the test of time. They are the books that have broken spines, quotable lines, and fond memories attached to them. They are the books you read over and over again and share with your kids because you love them, your kids and the books :). They are the books that you treasure and pass down!
Here are some of my favorite books that qualify for me as twaddle-free:

Make way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Are you My Mother? By PD Eastman
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
Press Here by Herve Tullet
Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin
Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman
This plus That by Amy Krouse Rosethal
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone

I think Harper Lee summed up the meaning of ‘no more twaddle’ well when she said:

6 Responses to “No More Twaddle! Booklist”

  1. Mario Beadle on 25 Nov 2014 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for writing this article on ‘twaddle’! I don’t have children, but this evoked memories of books I read as a young boy and because they were anything but twaddle, they have stayed relevant even today as I’ve ventured out on my own. Recently I’ve been seeking out these old titles, sometimes they don’t read the same, but oftentimes they bring me back to my childhood and the wonderful times I had curling up with a good book and the use of my imagination to take me to worlds unknown.

  2. Josh Clark on 05 Dec 2014 at 12:22 am

    Now that I have a son, reading this article on twaddle helped me see the benefit of allowing a child’s mind to grow through great books. I believe there is great communication learned from reading stories that help expand the mind and understanding of a child. Great article!

  3. Genelle on 05 Dec 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I totally agree with you on twaddle. I think that not only parents get frustrated by reading twaddle books, but rarely do children like them as well. I really love your list, I don’t know all those books, but I hope to read some of them soon!

  4. Brooke on 09 Dec 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Although I don’t have children myself, my own mom is a teacher and she always stressed the importance of reading books that are actually meaningful! “Twaddle” is a great word for just that. Thank you for the list of books! I have read most of them but I’d like to get my hands on the rest.

  5. Kylie on 11 Dec 2014 at 1:59 pm

    It is amazing to see a children’s prospective on life change all because of a good book. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Brigham on 12 Dec 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Great article! In my experience kids books always look stupid, and childish. But is seems like the best lessons that I have learned, have been from an un-twaddled chids book.

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