Rainbow Fish is to me about sharing being a way to get friends, not giving up parts of ourselves. The Rainbow Fish is pretty rude at the start of the book - laughing at the other fish and saying "Never!" I like how he realizes that its not his scales that make him happy, but seeing happiness in others. In a world where people feel its what they have that make them happy and less emphasis on the happiness that comes from good relationships, I think its a good message especially for preschoolers who are trying to overcome the natural selfcenteredness of toddlerhood and learning to share and make friends.
I agree, I am not a huge fan of Run Away Bunny. Its kind of a stalker mom without boundaries book at first glance. But if you consider the target audience (preschoolers) its more likely that age is testing the boundaries of their parents love, not truly trying to become emancipated. Kind of like "Mama, Do You Love Me?" with the girl asking if her mama will still love her if she does this or becomes that and the answer is always yes.
The Giving Tree is a disturbing book. I have heard it read over pulpit so I think it is supposed to be some grand example of Christian love, but I much prefer some boundaries in my relationships thank you. Its like Rainbow Fish but then all the fish want his fins, and then his tail, and then his eyeballs, and he's supposed to be happy about it. I think the most telling line in the book is toward the end. "And the tree was happy...but not really."
I don't like the touch and feel animal books. Seriously? You cannot match fur or skin better than that? Makes the animals look like they have some sort of disease.
I don't like any of the baby Einstein books either. The mix of cheesy puppets and real life photography just bugs. And the rhymes are forced.