What is twaddle?


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  • Kelly Bond

    Hello! I am new here, really intrigued by CM methods for HS and still doing lots of research. I have an almost-4-year-old and another one on the way (he’ll be about 14 months old when he arrives). Anyway, just a little intro!

    What is twaddle for young children? Does it include traditional kid-faves like Dr. Seuss? Any lists of books considered twaddle would be great. I’d also like to know why they’re considered twaddle. I have printed off the list of suggested books for little ones on this website and it looks great. Just really needing to know the whole idea behind twaddle. Thank you!


    I consider ‘twaddle’ for young children to be anything written from a movie or tv show, for starters. As for what I think is not twaddle: books that are written on an intelligent level so that the child is learning what makes “good English” 🙂 , engages the imagination, and is worth reading as far as content goes. Having said that, Dr. Seuss seems like it would be twaddle. I do not think it is because it really does engage the child, it teaches rhyming, rhythm, and stretches the imagination.

    After some practice, I started just having a thought come to me during our reading time that said, “This is not worth my child’s brain cells.”

    That’s a good question, thank you for asking it! It’s always good for me to think about these things even when I think I’ve ‘got it’. These are my first thoughts, someone else may have a better explanation.




    My rule of thumb for picture-book twaddle—if it is a delight for an adult to read, over and over and over and over 🙂 then it is unlikely to be twaddle, or if it is, it is pretty harmless and delightful twaddle. LOL If you can’t wait to get to the picture book stacks and read that lovely book to your child again, then you are probably pretty safe. 🙂 If you think “Oh, no, I simply cannot BEAR to read ***** one more time or I’ll scream” then you may have twaddle. 🙂


    Excellent definition for the picture books, Bookworm!

    I don’t consider Dr. Seuss twaddle because I do love reading his books and his delight with language shines through.

    CM mom

    You’ve had such excellent replies!

    The Dr Suess genre is a bit like the proverbial curate’s egg. I find some of his books charming and innovative, and others much less so. Shel Silverstein is another one for whom I have mixed feelings. 😉 My youngest loves him, though.

    I see you have boys. 🙂 I found twaddle can differ a bit for boys. I had a Low Opinion of DK books before my son (now 14) began reading at age 4. But he could read and reread Snake books, Shark books, Dinosaur books and never lose his excitement and real enthusiasm. He’d come running to tell me in his lispy s’s and r’s what he’d read and have SUCH a light in his eyes. To be honest, I didn’t care for most of them.

    I believe those “twaddle free literature” lists are heavy on the girly and mom-friendly books. I always made an extra effort to (try to) deeply appreciate boy books, and tend to have a different definition for twaddle where little guys are concerned. I could never abide any Movie or TV character books, and avoid most series books: Babysitters, Captain Underpants, Those Crazy School ones. I did make an exception with Magic Tree House, which I find has mostly decent prose and plotlines, and serves that niche age group fairly well. Magic Schoolbus, Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, and Boxcar Children also fell into that series-books-I-allowed category. All the Five in a Row books are wonderful.

    Doug Smith

    You might want to check out our Early Years Read-Aloud book list, if you haven’t already. I think most of those meet Bookworm’s wonderful criteria of books I wouldn’t mind reading to a child over and over. 🙂

    Doug Smith

    Sorry, I just realized that you had already printed out the book list. I somehow missed that when I first read it.


    While I generally agree that avoiding books from tv shows is a good rule of thumb – some of the shows are based on the books, not the other way around. While my kids have brought home some My Little Pony books that they dote on, yet are horribly egregious in my opinion, the lovely Rosemary Wells books can’t be faulted because they made a show about Max and Ruby.

    If my kids want to check out twaddlish books from the library from time to time it is ok with me – we’ll just be returning them in a few days, anyway. But when I buy a book, I like it to be “worth the brain cells” as someone else put so well.

    Check out Chinaberry Books – their catalog is a virtual encyclopedia of wonderful books, all with detailed reviews.

    Avoid Children’s book of the month club – alot of twaddle with only a few classics mixed in to confuse you.

    What about Enid Blyton books? I’ve heard some say they are twaddle, while others disagree – I’ve always loved these books (The Magic Faraway Tree, etc.) – would you class them as twaddle?

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