“You asked me what I like to read,” says John Rapp, the Executive Director of the Dovercourt Recreation Association, “but I prefer to be read to.”
Dovercourt is full today, with over 700 campers attending programs this particular week, and Rapp sits himself down in the middle of a group of twenty-five of them while Charlotte Scott-Frater, the camp counsellor, reads his summer book of choice: Mortimer by Robert Munsch. In moments, the campers – and Rapp – all sing a refrain that is familiar to so many parents: “Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang! Gonna make my noise all day!” All of them are enveloped in the classic story of a very loud child who doesn’t want to sleep.
When the noise finally dies down, Rapp explains his love for Munsch and Mortimer.
“Everything Robert Munch writes has got this strange sense of humour and the illustrations are phenomenal,” he says. “I remember when my kids were little, if they asked for a Munsch book, then I was always quite delighted.”
It’s a delight that hasn’t faded over time. He points out that Munsch books have a certain adult appeal. “There are enough references to make it amusing for you too,” says Rapp. “When you have to read the same book 18 times, it’s important that it’s really good, like [Dr. Seuss’] Green Eggs and Ham or it’s really fun, like Robert Munsch.”
Rapp says he was a “total book nut” as a child and describes himself as a lifelong reader. “I always have a book going,” says Rapp. “It’s just that the choices have changed.”
Now that his kids are 18 and 20, he’s not reading a whole lot of Robert Munsch in the evenings, though he still reads with his children in mind.
“My daughter is very much into books, so she keeps giving me books that she wants me to read because she loves them. So I’ve been reading a lot of John Green lately,” says Rapp. “She’s totally nuts about The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska and now she wants me to read An Abundance of Katherines. I know it’s young adult fiction… but it’s just a label. I mean, how many adults read Harry Potter?”
Rapp believes that when you have a teenage daughter, anything they want to talk to you about should be celebrated.
“I haven’t been funny for ten years, so if she wants to talk about a favourite novel, that’s great.”
This post is part of our annual KT summer reads issue. Read all of our other profiles right here.
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