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Children's books that you just don't like - Page 6

post #101 of 140

Here is an article that summarizes my feelings on fairy tales: http://infohost.nmt.edu/~beverly/writings/fairytales.html

post #102 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeslieintheKeys View Post

Same with Hansel & Gretel.  No need to introduce them to such great tragedy at such an early age.  They'll have a lifetime of seeing and experiencing it.  

I have a much different instinct about Fairy Tales. When my DC1 was young my gut told me that these stories, which were originally passed through story telling and then had a long life as books for our kids were good for kids. I read a few articles on fairy tales and the main point that resonated with me was that these stories were developed over time to address the real, typical worries of children and that bringing them up as a story helps children process and helps them feel less alone with these "Grimm" thoughts. 

 

My girls like the fact that in these stories, the villain isn't having a bad hair day and just needs an ice cream cone to cheer her up and then everyone can go to the fair together because the wicked witch has Learned Her Lesson. Yaaaaaay!!!!!!  No, they are actually comforted by the fact the witch not only is definitely, unequivocally dead (after being absolutely, purely, unredeemably evil) but the kids tricked her and pushed her in the oven themselves because they are so damn smart and resourceful.  Kick.  Ass.  Yeah!  Black and White,  no Grey areas.

 

ETA: The first story begs the thought "Is she always going to be good now, or does she go back to her evil ways?"  Which could be worrisome for kids (and adults!)  The latter, "Nope.  She's dead.  Period."


Edited by SweetSilver - 8/3/13 at 8:59am
post #103 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

My girls like the fact that in these stories, the villain isn't having a bad hair day and just needs an ice cream cone to cheer her up and then everyone can go to the fair together because the wicked witch has Learned Her Lesson. Yaaaaaay!!!!!!  No, they are actually comforted by the fact the witch not only is definitely, unequivocally dead (after being absolutely, purely, unredeemably evil) but the kids tricked her and pushed her in the oven themselves because they are so damn smart and resourceful.  Kick.  Ass.  Yeah!  Black and White,  no Grey areas.

 

ETA: The first story begs the thought "Is she always going to be good now, or does she go back to her evil ways?"  Which could be worrisome for kids (and adults!)  The latter, "Nope.  She's dead.  Period."


I agree. 

 

Also, sticking to the more traditional versions helps a lot with cultural literacy. 

post #104 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonjunio View Post

The new Berenstein Bears caught me by surprise, they have a strong religious agenda now. Some actually quote Bible verses and "listen to the Bible" becomes the lesson of the day, rather than learning through experience. That series was always a bit too wholesome and preachy, but they were a bit helpful for kids going through new experiences like starting school, new baby, etc. However the newer editions are either LITERALLY preaching, or else rehashes of old stories with far worse art!

They've actually had the separate religious collection of Berenstain Bear books for quite a while. Most bookstores keep them in the "religious kid book" section.
post #105 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

They've actually had the separate religious collection of Berenstain Bear books for quite a while. Most bookstores keep them in the "religious kid book" section.

Yes, I've noticed the ones with Bible verses are distinguished by a "Living Lights" icon in the corner of the cover, so that's something to look for or avoid, depending on how you feel about that.

BB is something I'll never buy online again, because I need to page through and see if it's one of the better ones or not. Some books look like bad fan art...eek
post #106 of 140

Sandra Boynton books! 

The only one I've liked so far is "Barnyard Dance,"  which I actually liked quite a bit because of the fun rhythm of the text.  I can almost sing it :)

 

So far all her other books are pointless drivel with terrible illustrations at best and often have themes I don't want to reinforce by reading to my child. I especially dislike "Belly Button Book." 

Sadly, even "Barnyard Dance" has the terrible illustrations where the mouse looks almost identical to the dog :/


 

post #107 of 140

We love the Signing Time board books.  Great for teaching/reinforcing ASL if you're teaching signs to your baby/toddler.

We also love the Green Start board books which are made from 98% recycled materials.  They have simple stories about nature but aren't afraid to use words like chrysalis when telling how the caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

I also like the Baby Animals series by Kingfisher that we've found at our library.  I love them, but I'm not sure my girl loves them enough for us to buy our own set, although they are very reasonably priced on Amazon.  The 10-book set in a little cardboard bus case is only $16.38.

 

Also, at the library I've found a sweet book written by Desmond Tutu called "God's Dream."

post #108 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjanerobb View Post

Sandra Boynton books! 


The only one I've liked so far is "Barnyard Dance,"  which I actually liked quite a bit because of the fun rhythm of the text.  I can almost sing it smile.gif

So far all her other books are pointless drivel with terrible illustrations at best and often have themes I don't want to reinforce by reading to my child. I especially dislike "Belly Button Book." 


Sadly, even "Barnyard Dance" has the terrible illustrations where the mouse looks almost identical to the dog :/



 

Have you read Snuggle Puppy? That's one of our favorites.
post #109 of 140
I can't stand Millions of Cats, Grimm fairy tale type books, books based on TV or movies, (with the exception if Dora and Strawberry Shortcake), anything Beatrix Potter, most Jane Brett, and The Poky Little Puppy.
post #110 of 140
The giving tree. Hands down is a terrible model of what a loving relationship should be.
post #111 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

Have you read Snuggle Puppy? That's one of our favorites.

Snuggle Puppy is huge in my house.
post #112 of 140

I found Richard Scarry creepy as a child - no idea why, I haven't read 'em since. I found Beatrix Potter creepy too, especially The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (in which the rats capture a kitten and try to cook him into a dumpling). I love her books now, though, and DD (who's far less sensitive and scared than I was as a kid, and revels in the grotesque) loves them too. She's also keen on fairy tales, and the gorier the better. I tell them to her orally rather than reading them, and I guess I do censor/alter them to some degree - I don't mind the witch in Hansel and Gretel being popped in the fire, but I do change the bits where their father lets the stepmother get rid of them, to give him a bit more of an excuse and also to point out that he shouldn't have done it.

 

I agree with PPs about The Giving Tree, I'll Love You For Always, Disney books and rhyming books that don't scan! Seriously, if a book is only twelve pages long you have no excuse for forced rhymes or lines that don't flow.

 

DD brought out another one this morning that I loathe. It's Every Little Girl is a Princess, or something along those lines. It's a heavy-handed, moralistic tale about a girl who wants to be a princess, and finds a magic book under her pillow that gives her instructions for becoming one. She has to acquire the Five Princess Virtues - I can't remember all of them, but there was Friendship and Belief in Yourself, yadda yadda. So she does that and of course, finds out that she was a princess inside! all! along!

 

It's hideous. I was actually sent it, when I was writing an article about princess play; the idea was to promote it as a wholesome alternative to Disney or whatever, but I just couldn't do it. It was hideous. For a start, belief in yourself isn't a virtue - it's a handy thing to have in life, no more - and it's definitely not something unique to, nor even particularly relevant to, princesses. And so on. Gack. Pappy rubbish. I'm getting mad just thinking about it. (Fortunately, my editor agreed and let me leave it out of the article, though she didn't let me use it as an example of bad princess literature!)

 

Hate the new Fancy Nancy books too, because I remember the original and it was a decent book.

post #113 of 140

I don't like the Magic Treehouse books, and I was never a big fan of Eloise.  And the Felicia Numeroff books have annoyed me too, but I don't hate them.

post #114 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjanerobb View Post

Sandra Boynton books! 

The only one I've liked so far is "Barnyard Dance,"  which I actually liked quite a bit because of the fun rhythm of the text.  I can almost sing it :)

 

So far all her other books are pointless drivel with terrible illustrations at best and often have themes I don't want to reinforce by reading to my child. I especially dislike "Belly Button Book." 

Sadly, even "Barnyard Dance" has the terrible illustrations where the mouse looks almost identical to the dog :/


 

OMG! I love the Boynton books,they are hilarious in our household. Isn't it funny how things ring true for some and not others??

post #115 of 140

I dislike any of the Baby Einstein books..lol

post #116 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by tracyamber View Post

OMG! I love the Boynton books,they are hilarious in our household. Isn't it funny how things ring true for some and not others??

So true!  My family happens to love SkippyJon Jones, a perennial on these kinds of lists.  And we adored Richard Scarry, and like Smokering, my girls loved Samuel Whiskers and the Roly-Poly Pudding**, creepy as it is.  My girls also love some things I don't.  I really did not like the Familiars--a fantasy chapter book and it's sequel-- but only because it seems amateurish and the illustrations we mostly remedial.  They loved it, however.  They also like to read Biscuit and its sequels (arg!  one more Ruff!  Ruff!  or whatever and I'm going to commit myself!)  Conversely, I happen to love the Giving Tree, but my girls hate it.  

 

I also tend to dislike modern morality tales about Uniqueness.  Or really, any tale that is heavy on morality and short on actual storyline.  

 

The traditional tale form that irritates me is "I want some ________."  "Go get me a ______ and I'll give you the _______."  Then the story continues ad nauseum until some inexplicably generous thing hands over the object without reciprocation and then back up the line to the first person or animal, then the protagonist finally gets ________.  The only rendition of this I've liked is The Scarecrow's Hat, which works perhaps because it cuts the story in half!

 

** The Roly-Poly Pudding is a kitten rolled up in bread dough pinched from the kitchen and baked in the chimney!

post #117 of 140

I don't like most books derived from TV shows (someone gave us a whole ton that her kids had outgrown, and I've already exiled several). Also hate anything with a long storyline where characters do really stupid things. I put We're Going On A Bear Hunt and Curious George Goes Fishing in exile for that reason. I'm not a big fan of the Brown Bear series, but I felt a little better about them when she started identifying the animals and the colors. Also, my grandparents just gave us Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus and Don't Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late, which they got as freebies... I think the pigeon is really obnoxious and I'm looking forward to exiling those.

 

I don't have Love You Forever, but I don't mind it. Mom sneaking into her son's house is weird to adults, but I think to kids it is probably comforting to know that Mom is always there for them. My parents read it to me as a kid and I never had a problem with that element. 

post #118 of 140

Ooh, I just remembered another one. The Magic Faraway Tree books.

 

I have mixed feelings about them, because I loved Enid Blyton as a kid (and yet went on to read decent books, although it did mess with my perception of the wonderfulness of boarding school for several years). A friend gave DD the first two Faraway Tree books for Christmas, painstakingly sourced off the internet, and she loves them. There's definitely something about them which appeals to kids.

 

But oh my word, the writing style! It's atrocious. She writes in the most anticlimactic way possible - X says "I have a plan! Let's do A, B and C", and then they do A, B and C without hindrance or twist, and it's deadly boring because you've just read about it and she's basically repeating herself. And the children have no apparent character differences I can determine - we're halfway through the second book and if I had to point out which kid was which, I couldn't. Not to mention that many of the plots involve the children accidentally stealing something, destroying someone else's property, etc, and then figuring out a way to escape without repercussions - but it's OK because the creatures chasing them are "cross" or ugly and therefore deserve whatever they get.

 

And the constant, awful repetition. Yes, they eat Pop Biscuits and Google Buns. Every chapter. Silky has beautiful hair. We know. Jo (or someone) suggests not going back up the Faraway Tree because they always get into trouble, and then they decide to go anyway. Again. Drives me crackers.

 

Quote:
I also tend to dislike modern morality tales about Uniqueness.  Or really, any tale that is heavy on morality and short on actual storyline.

This is partly why I love Pixar's The Incredibles. I love how it says that actually, some people are more talented/unique than others. From a modern children's-literature perspective, that's heresy.

 

"Everyone's special, Dash."

"That's just another way of saying no-one is."

post #119 of 140
I'm just happy I am not the only one! When I told my MIL how much I didn't like the runaway bunny she thought I was crazy and my refusal to read some princess fairy tales drives everyone crazy. I am all for my daughter reading what she wants but why full my house with books I think are ridiculous.

Some books are just annoying to me like skippy Jon jones but others just should not be read to young children!
post #120 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by zwickya View Post

 The Cat in the Hat. Let a stranger into your home while your parents are gone; then consent to lie to your mother about it.

 

Ditto!  That book always bugs me. My list...

 

The Cat in The Hat (seriously, what would you do if your mother asked you? TELL HER EVERY FREAKING THING).

When You Give A Moose A Muffin (um, it will run you over and flip you around with its antlers.  Then smash everything while your mother calls 911 and animal control, in that order)

More More More (seriously, what drug induced moron decided to write the words in technicolor tie-dye over brightly colored backgrounds?)

Curious George (_______ runs away and makes a mess and does dangerous things and everyone goes, oh, good little monkey! If you weren't dead 50 times over .... twerp!)

Anyhing Beatrix Potter That Is Not Peter Rabbit (those are creeeeeeeepy)

All Original Grimms Fairy Tales (see above)

 

There are several books we own that I realllllllllllllllly just want to take a marker to and edit to read better.  

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