Which highly praised children’s books leave you cold?

I’ll probably get pitted for this, but I never liked “Where the Wild Things Are” or “The Little Prince”. I found them both just ok, nothing special [tho I like Sendak’s illustration style], both as a child and later on as an adult. What award winning or otherwise highly praised book for the younger readers left you baffled as to its praise?

Don’t get me started on “The Giving Tree.” Just don’t.

Anything by Richard Scarry.

Agreed. I call it “The Most Selfish Little Boy Ever”.

I only tried to read it once (and that was sometime in childhood), but I could not get interested in “The Wind in the Willows.”

The Chronicles of Narnia. I read the first one as a kid, and a couple of the others as an adult because I was trying to see if I’d like them any better, but I just don’t get the appeal.

Bridge to Terabithia, ugh. Such a contrived story!

Would you like to get started on “The Giving Tree”?

Yes, “The Giving Tree” is about a horribly selfish little boy who uses and destroys a horrible co-dependent tree that allows itself to be used and destroyed.

That doesn’t make it a bad book. Decades later people talk about how the book made them so angry and upset. Shel Silverstein made you feel that way on purpose.

I rarely use this, but :rolleyes:. The Op didn’t ask what books were bad. Not even what books we thought of as “bad”, but what books left us cold. And DrFidelius told us his.

This. I couldn’t even get through the first one. It just leaves me cold.

On the other hand, I was never interested in the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” books when I was a kid. It was pleasant enough to have the teacher read them to the class, but when I tried to read one or more of them on my own, they were boring. But as an adult, I find them fascinating. I guess that as a child, I just didn’t appreciate the way that they depicted an older lifestyle, and the way that the people made do with so little at the time. I know I wasn’t able to appreciate things like putting in a whole season’s planting for a family, and then having to pack up and move (because Pa Ingalls had settled illegally).

Watership Down.

To be fair, I read it as an adult, so it is possible (though I consider it unlikely) that I would have enjoyed it as a kid.

I tried to read Wind in the Willows as a kid & was totally bored; as an adult I was enchanted.
Little House books bored me as a kid & I hated the tv series with such a passion I didn’t try them as an adult, though I hear I should try.
Lord of the Rings filled me up so much I had no space or time for Narnia, as a kid or adult.

Anything by Eric Carle. My mom says I loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar when I was a kid, but I think she is making this up (she has a famously poor memory where our childhoods are concerned). The pictures are crap, the stories are crap, and they don’t even make any sense. I don’t understand why this guy is still in print, much less well-regarded.

Also, along the same lines, Goodnight Moon is pretty creepy.

I’m also one who never quite got into Narnia, either. (I do love both “The Little Prince” and “The Giving Tree,” though, for their sadness and ambiguity.)

To** Lynn** and Porpentine: Which book of the Chronicles of Narnia are you calling the “first one”? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, or The Magician’s Nephew?

Interesting–I think Where the Wild Things Are captures a certain weird, savage element of childhood better than anything else I’ve ever encountered. It’s a damn near perfect prose poem, with pictures. I read it to my students a couple of times during the year (for example, during our unit on the Hero’s Journey as a mythic structure), and it’s hard not to get choked up at the power of his writing.

I also think the Giving Tree is an amazing book, because the little boy is such a flawed character. I read it as a cautionary tale, not as a happy story; I believe it’s positively soaking in dramatic irony. But I know not everyone has this reading.

As for books I don’t like, Ramona the Great is probably at the top of my list. The new Henry and Mudge books are pretty insipid as well. I know it’s on purpose, but for pity’s sake, I want excitement and adventure in my stories, not quiet little anecdotes about how a friendly dog slobbered on a little boy.

I didn’t read Where the Red Fern Grows until I was an adult, but I’d never have dug that ending anyway. I like animals, but rarely books about animals.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is the one we were assigned to read in school. I think The Magician’s Nephew may have been one of the ones I tried as a college student, but I’m not sure.

Most of the “classics”, actually.

The Little Prince (didn’t learn to appreciate this one until high school, when we had to read it in French)
Anything Winnie the Pooh (although as an adult I quite like them)
Good Night Moon
The Runaway Bunny
Where the Wild Things Are
The Tale of Peter Rabbit

And for older kids:
Gulliver’s Travels
The Swiss Family Robinson
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Treasure Island
Kidnapped
The Jungle Book

Man, now I’ve put myself to sleep just listing them.

ETA: I can’t add The Giving Tree because it didn’t “leave me cold”. It left me hot, steaming boiling MAD!

Lion Witch and Wardrobe for me too. I keep reading people praising this series…but I think that it’s just one more thing where my tastes and everyone else’s are going to diverge.

The odd thing is, as an adult, I LIKE a lot of fiction that’s written for kids. But there are some stories that have left me cold, both as a kid and as an adult.