Parenting: Sometimes story time ends badly.

When Story Time Ends In Tears…

Many of us with small children, and older children as well, have a nightly story time ritual.  Ours began many years ago with board books, and we have since graduated to novels.  Tonight’s story time began as all others do, with much anticipation from myself and the boy as we were starting a new book about a dog.

My daughter was given Lassie Comes Home to read and report back to a relative on how she enjoyed the book.  She has balked at reading it for weeks.  Tonight I finally put my foot down and said we were reading it for story time.  [Contains spoilers.]

This was a colossal mistake.

Not very far into reading this book, it takes a turn for the worse from my worst nightmares [Spoiler: parents are so shy of money for groceries that they sell the family pet, said pet returns repeatedly breaking everyone’s hearts].  Ten minutes into story time, we are all sobbing.  The ugly cry was quite nearly in full effect.  My son was begging to throw the book away.

I naively soldiered on, after all, we had been told it was a wonderful book and we would all enjoy it.  Did I mention that we are all dog lovers to the point that we foster homeless dachshunds?  Needless to say, we are tender hearts.

It finally came to a head, and I could no longer read without sobbing for the poor main character and his dog.  I announced that we would Google the ending so that we could all be put out of our misery.  My 6 year old cheered and said that we could throw the book away now.

I love reading, and I have never cheated at finding out the ending of a book until now.   We’re headed to the library tomorrow.  I think that we’ll start a book more to our speed – fantasy or perhaps science fiction.  Any suggestions?

Have you ever had a story time meltdown that brought you to tears?



  1. says

    Wow, quite the story time experience. Actually, it sounded quite bonding. I hope it was. :) I’m sure next one will be a better choice. I never had story time, so I applaud you. :)

    • Elizabeth says

      We found 27 new books at the library, and I read the inside/back covers carefully this go round. Lassie Come Home’s jacket was missing.

  2. says

    Oh goodness… Jodi Picoult’s book My Sister’s Keeper… tear jerker but then I could relate with my daughter having been sick her 1st year of life and I suppose the Lassie story was your tear jerker because you could relate as far as helping pups in need. BUT on a flip side… at least the owners of Lassie didn’t keep the dog and not feed it but sold it to a good home..

    • Elizabeth says

      My Sister’s Keeper is supposed to be a good read, not appropriate for my age kids, but perhaps when they are grown. I’ve also heard that it’s a tough read, and a tear jerker!

  3. Nate says

    Awe, that’s too bad. Would have loved to know what happened till the end. There’s always next time!

    • Elizabeth says

      Oh, Wikipedia kindly told us the story’s entire plot, which I relayed to the children. Books without jackets won’t be read in the future. I love reading and hate to know the outcome ahead of time, but this time, I just.couldn’!!

  4. says

    Oh no! We haven’t done this with a book yet- so far we’ve loved them all but we have done it with a movie. Google the ending and just stop the movie. Its worth it. So sad!

    • Elizabeth says

      I have Googled the ending of the movie with Will Smith and the illness outbreak to find out what happens….I will admit to that!

  5. says

    How sad! I guess it’s a good idea to read the book for yourself first before you read it to your kids, huh? On the plus side, this can open up some discussion for you and your daughter.

    • Elizabeth says

      The jacket was missing. Had I been in possession of the jacket, I would have known what was going to befall us, or simply elected to choose a different book. Oh yes, the kids were upset by the whole premise – family in utter poverty and having to sell the dog…

  6. says

    We are big dog lovers here and I do read stories to my grandson at night. Thanks for the heads up because I will avoid this book. I can see the same thing happening at our house. Why do so many dogs stories have to be so heartbreaking?

    • Elizabeth says

      I know! I want the happy dog stories – where are those? I think we have one about a dachshund who makes a wish.

    • Elizabeth says

      [Spoilers!] It is supposed to be a great book, but the kids just couldn’t get past the parts about the dog running away and the boy being so upset over the loss of his dog. The adventures Lassie has in returning to her family would surely interest my children, perhaps when they are older. For now, too many tears!

  7. says

    Oh poor kiddo. My kids are too little to have this go on, but I also avoid sad stories like the plague. Not looking forward to the day that they are required to read books like this.

  8. Jacqueline says

    My dad thought it would be a great idea to give me Old Yeller, his favorite book from childhood. That was the worst book he ever gave me. I was extremely upset and convinced he was going to shoot our elderly cat.

    • Elizabeth says

      I remember being forced to watch that movie as a kid in school It was the worst movie ever, right up there with My Dog Marley. I know that they had no choice, but still. I’m sorry – I can’t imagine how horrified you must have been as a kid, and extra protective of your kitty.

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