Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Books My Children Have Destroyed

Top Ten Tuesday's theme for this week is Books That I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch. I'm a big believer in Ranganathan's First Law of Library Science: books are for use. Therefore, I'm not too particular about letting other people touch my books. It's possible, however, that I should not apply this principle quite so liberally with my children, as they have managed to destroy all ten of the books on today's list.

My oldest daughter, Little Miss Muffet (now 5), was usually very gentle with books as a baby, and it was rare that she did anything with them other than turn the pages and look at the pictures. On two occasions, though, she was left unsupervised with a book and disaster struck.

Her first victim was the My First Word Board Book. She chewed off a corner of the front cover, tried to swallow it, choked, and spit up. To prevent further damage, my husband trimmed the corner straight across, and the book has lasted through two more kids, but this was the first book that ever got destroyed by a child in our household.

Another time, we borrowed Go In and Out the Window: An Illustrated Songbook For Children from the public library, and I foolishly left it within her reach at naptime. I thought she was sleeping, but it turned out she was tearing a page of that book into tiny little pieces. I decided that, rather than bring it to the library and pay for the book, I would use my librarian skills to tape it back together. Amazingly, I had every piece and it didn't look that bad when it went into the book drop. (Later, we bought a nice used copy, and thankfully, that one is still intact.)

Miss Muffet also kicked off the destruction of our first board book copy of Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikawa. When it seemed like it was in danger of falling apart, I took the book away and put it on a shelf she couldn't reach. I didn't want the two subsequent babies to miss out, however, and when they had their chance to read it, they finished it off. Thankfully, Grandma, who bought it for us originally, recently replaced it with a nice new copy.

Also recently, Miss Muffet read to shreds one of my books from childhood: 696 Silly School Jokes & Riddles by Joseph Rosenbloom. It wasn't in the best condition when I passed it down to her in the first place, and she reads it so often that it has just fallen into three pieces. I'm working on figuring out how to tape it back together so we can get a bit more mileage out of it.

My second daughter, Little Bo Peep (age 3), has been a bit rougher on books than her older sister, in part because she never reads just one at a time. She requires a stack, preferably as tall as she is, and she goes through the titles in rapid succession, tossing one side and immediately moving on to the next. Her earliest favorites were Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Eloise Wilkin Stories. We have owned several copies of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, but the one she destroyed was the hardcover edition of the most recent version. We still have the board book, as well as the older version with the original art in hardcover. I wish Golden Books would strengthen the binding on their collections like Eloise Wilkin Stories. We've replaced it twice, and no one has even been that rough with it. It just doesn't hold up well to multiple readings per day.

The three-year-old also started Babies on the Bus on the road to ruin, just by reading and re-reading it. We did eventually replace the picture book with a board book (again, thanks to Grandma!) but then the toddler broke the spine on that one.  I believe the toddler (now 19 months) may also be responsible for the ripped cover on my signed childhood copy of Sarah's Unicorn and the fact that the pages of The Catholic Children's Bible have become detached from the cover. She hasn't admitted to it, but neither has anyone else!

Finally, the latest book my kids have destroyed is A Brief History of Life on Earth by Clemence Dupont. This is a beautiful science book that folds out to be a timeline which I received for review from Prestel. The two older girls love it so much that they are constantly fighting over it. Every time one tugs it away from the other, it gets ripped in a new place. It's also really easy for little ones to unfold it too much and get confused about how to put it back together, and that results in loosening of glue and ripping as well.

Which books have been damaged at your house? 


  1. Goodnight, Gorilla. My son likes to sleep with certain books and we discovered why: he chews them while he falls asleep. Goodnight, Gorilla has many a board book pages chewed half-way.

  2. Fun way to deal with today's topic. I think we all have a few like these.

  3. Oh, that's sad. It's understandable with young children, though.

    My TTT.

  4. Ha ha ha ha! This post made me laugh :) Children can be extremely hard on books. Mine have ripped pages, bent covers, drawn on pages, gotten books dirty, dropped them in water, etc. It was a happy day when they got old enough to be more careful with their books.

    Happy TTT!

  5. What is it about a board book that says destroy me? Mine totally killed a bunch of Sandra Boynton books, but mostly from so much use. I still kept them, though!

    My TTT.

  6. Haha this post is adorable. What a great topic!


  7. My daughter destroyed my Little House series. :-( Kids can be destructive to books though.