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Excerpts From a Toddler’s Reading of The Family Book

June 3, 2013

We’re big Todd Parr fans in this household. Actually, as I sat down to write this I realize that while we’ve read several of his books, we only own one, and this means we have some exploration to do at the local library or bookstore.

The Family Book was added to our collection of children’s books before we even had children.  When we adopted Bella and Bubaloo, we read it a few times, but it was a little too young for them.  At 9 and 11, they preferred And Tango Makes Three even though that was probably a little too young for them, too.

In the past month as the Doodle’s awareness of her family structure has exploded, The Family Book has become a bedtime staple.

She gets to choose three books before bed each night, and I’d say that in 6 out of 7 bedtimes The Family Book is included in her rotation.  I’d also say that 4 out of 7 bedtimes, she opts to include Happy Adoption Day in her selection.

At 26 months, this is a select outtake on the Doodle’s reading of The Family Book.


A really great book for kids

Me: Doodle…what do you want to read before bed tonight?

Doodle: The Family Book! The Family Book!

So, I take the book off of the shelf and add it to her mini-pile. I’m always somewhat relieved when she picks this book. I like it.  Even better, it’s short. Those evenings when she chooses Walter the Farting Dog, Alligator Baby and The Giving Tree to read in succession make for the longest bedtime ever.


Some families look different from each other.

If anything, this book should help the Doodle better identify her colours.  She believes that everything is yellow.  Or, purple. Or green.  Sometimes red. The only objects that are not yellow, purple or green in the Doodle’s world are actually the objects that are yellow, purple and green.

Colourful fish

I correctly state each colour every time we get to this page.  It’s getting better.  The Doodle now is bang on with the yellow fish each time.

It’s a little odd that this is only page in the entire book where she wants to point out colours.


All families like to hug each other.

This is one of my favourite pages in the book.  Who doesn’t like squishy toddler hugs?

A few weeks ago the Doodle made the correlation between the words in the book (which she calls A, B, C, Ds) and that meanings that the ABCDs convey.  Now reading this page goes something like this –

Me:  All families like to hug each other!

Doodle: Hug!!!

She rolls over to give me a big hug, I reciprocate, and try to plant a big kiss on her cheek.

Doodle (wagging finger back and forth): No.  No kiss.

And then she gives me the stink face. Which isn’t because she doesn’t like to be smothered in kisses, she totally does.  But the book only talks about families hugging, so at that exact moment in time, that’s all we’re permitted to do.


Some families look like their pets.  Some families adopt children.

These are two pages that I think the Doodle should interact or react to in the book but for some unknown reason she doesn’t.  The first one is hilarious, but I guess doesn’t appeal to the very lowest common denominator that seems to be the basis of all of toddler humour.  Perhaps if it read “Some families fart like their pets” it would be hilarious.

And the second one should be a no brainer as it’s about adoption, and she loves to read Happy Adoption Day, but she doesn’t relate to it at all. Actually, talking about adoption in the context of a child that you and your spouse created together seems somewhat out of place given the circumstances, but there’s something comforting for the big kids in our constant reinforcement that all the children in the house are adopted.


Some families have two moms or two dads.

The first time cognition happened on this page, the Doodle didn’t actually believe that you could have two dads.  She was fine when I said you could have a mommy and a mama or a mommy and a daddy, but was in disbelief that someone could actually have two dads. “No. No. No,” she would repeat in this tone full of you’re trying pull a fast one on me and I’m on to you.

Now she buys in to the two mom and two dad thing.  “I have two mommies!” she exclaims to all her stuffies.

I’m also very glad to have a portrait of myself completed by Mr. Parr.

I've always wanted a beehive

The only peculiar thing I find about this book is that there’s not a page that talks about having a mom and a dad.  I suppose it’s the subtext in many of the pictures throughout the book, or it presupposes a kid has a heterosexual family, and that they need to see families in all different forms. This book is one of those that I think all different kinds of families read to affirm their family structure with their kids so if their kids haven’t yet found those similarities in real life they can at least find it in a picture book.


All families like to celebrate special days together.

Apparently families only like to celebrate one type of occasions together – birthdays.  Our reading of this page has evolved from a simple “Happy birthday” exclamation to singing loudly, off key, “Happy birthday to youuuuuuu…..”

Then she points out all of the balloons.  Which, in the world according to Doodle, is something you need to have at every celebration.


Some families eat different things.

One day, out of the blue, the Doodle recognized the food this family was eating.

The Doodle loves to point out what other people eat


Some families like to be noisy.

This page is super fun as we get to howl at the moon together.  I do a really good wolf impression.  Or maybe it can be more accurately likened to when we get the dog to howl along with a harmonica. More often than not, the Doodle’s howls sound like an ambulance siren.


I’m glad that I have a book like The Family Book in our collection.  I didn’t think I’d do much exploration around family structure with a toddler, but it’s turned out to be instrumental in how she’s coming to make sense of her world.

Of course, how could I not end this post with a grainy iPhone pic of the Doodle reading The Family Book while eating her cereal this morning.

Toddler reads the family book.

This post was written in celebration of Blogging for LGBT Families Day over at Mombian.  Here’s my post from last year, My Big Queer Multiracial Family.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2013 10:57 pm

    This is so great! I have been looking at this book on and I wasn’t sure if it was really going to be something we would want to get. Thanks for sharing this, I think it is just what I want for Punky! She’s still too young to really know much about the family structure or sit through a book being read to her, but she does like to flip the pages herself, so I think this may be the next book to add to her collection!

    • June 15, 2013 1:20 pm

      I think you’ll really like the book. It’s simple and very colourful.

  2. mamaandmummy permalink
    June 9, 2013 12:31 am

    We love The Family Book, too, and so does Juju. She asks, “Read Wamly?” We also have It’s OK to be Different which I also like. Need to add more to our collection as well!


  1. Blogging for LGBT families Day: Master Post of Contributions — Add Yours! – Mombian

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