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Awful, awful children's books - Page 9

post #161 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by margaret mayhem View Post
It's all about the things "bad bunnies" do like bite, hit, etc. For one thing, he's not doing those things, so why give him ideas? For another, I can't stand the thought of him getting the message that he's bad if he does do something typical toddler thing like pushing.
Good call. When I was around four my mom tells me, I had a habit or licking my lips alot (they were chapped, they became more chapped, it was a cycle) so, thinking it would help, she got me a copy of The Bernstein Bears and The Bad Habit
Well because sister's "bad habit" was nail biting I immediately became curious about biting my nails
My mom actually just told me she wouldn't read me the book any more if I bit them (which I apparently liked) so I stopped. It didn't help with the first habit though

Also, I think this thread is absolutely fascinating, but I don't think I was super clear about my feelings in my first post.
I was mostly reacting to things I found in children's books that personally offended me and went against my and my husband's morals, but not that I would absolutely keep from a child. There are certain books (like some of the Beatrix Potter, Curious George, Classic Fairly tales) that I wouldn't want to read to my one year old niece right now, because we wouldn't be able to discuss the context at this point, however; I think they are important literary works and that it's good to be familiar with them.
Last year when my niece was born, I bought her "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny", and when I saw the bunny-beating I took the book back. Mainly because she was just a baby, but also because of a family situation where my MIL is constantly trying to get my SIL and BIL to use the pearls method on her. I don't think at that time, and in this case it would have been appropriate, but that certainly doesn't mean no child should read or be exposed to it.
I actually was so curious about some of the other books mentioned here, that I read a couple at the bookstore yesterday. I didn't remember Peter Rabbit at all, but after I read it (the only Beatrix Potter book I was exposed to as a child) I didn't find anything so "shocking" that I would keep it from my niece.
I'm sure that, considering "Beatrix" is the "girl name" my husband and I have picked out for a future child that we may very well be given a great deal of these books someday and I'm not opposed to that at all.

It's funny too, because my mom recently told me that she used to "edit" certain books as she went along when she read to me. I know that she would "censor" the Boxcar Children so they would be less sexist. She also talked to me about certain things that went against the values she was trying to teach me (like whining, hitting, stereotypical gender roles, etc.) as we read. So while I may have grown up with a lot of these books, a lot of times they were "mom-censored" or used as conversation starters. When I read to my niece and children I work with I do the same. Mainly because they are either at an age where I don't think it's appropriate to bring up a certain issue (like spanking) or as someone who is not their parent I don't feel it's my place, or because (like in m nieces case) of their particular situation I would feel it would be insensitive or counter-productive. I guess I just take it book by book and kid by kid.
post #162 of 333
I can never get hrough this one. I can't keep a straight face when i imagine the clingy co-dependent mom climbing the ladder to find some girl in his bed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by momtoS View Post
LOve you forever....my daughter has issues with the mom using a ladder to visit her son. She told me if she were to visit...wouldn't she use a key and the stairs???
.
post #163 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by dflanag2 View Post
The other thing I don't like are all the guns in these children's stories. _The Fly Went By_, _The Cat in the Hat Comes Back_ are a few that come to mind.
YES! A fly went by! We had a bunch of books given to us and I remember reading this one as well as Robert The Rose Horse to my brothers when we were little. Well, I pulled it off the shelf one day to read to ds and... well that was the last time we read those.
post #164 of 333
I quite often come across situations in children's books that don't fit my values, as my mom did when I was a kid. But, just like I remember her doing, I read it and we discuss the parts that don't fit our value system. And here all those years as a child I thought I was the one with the weird mom, since other kid's moms never seemed to think twice. Now I read some of those stories and think, Holy cow, the violence! The shaming! The labeling!

Just have to throw in here, though, that like a few others have said, the books that simply make me crazy are these TV character books that my mother-in-law keeps insisting on buying my EXTREMELY impressionable preschooler. DD loves these books, but they make me nuts.

And since I'm being petty anyway, there is one CareBears book MIL bought her--nothing offensive in the content (what content?) but the absolute most inane dribble I've ever read, devoid of the slightest plot. Not even an attempt at a plot or a thought. And it's a compilation--5 books, 0 stories (in my definition of a story)! DD#2's "First Shapes for Babies" has more plot. I told dh it absolutely makes my brain hurt to read it. Physically. It's like every time I read it I feel like we're all getting a little stupider.
post #165 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceili View Post
I don't see my careful screening of books as censorship. We have a limited number of resources (space, time, money, etc) and we use those resources on things we love and enjoy.
:

I do think that people are being a little bit mean about perceived censorship. I don't feel that I censor what my child reads (or, more accurately, what I read to my child), but sometimes I don't read her books because I don't like them (and I recognize that it's me that doesn't like them) and sometimes I do read her books that I don't like (I do find The Cat in the Hat utterly terrifying, but I'm trying to not pass that particular fear onto my dd).

Additionally, if someone gave dd a copy of, oh, I don't know, Mein Kampf for Toddlers, you bet I'd "censor" it, as I believe (hope) everyone who reads this thread would do. On the other hand, when my preteen comes home with the original Mein Kampf one day, I will let her read it, though we will be having some serious talks about it.

As for The Runaway Bunny, I too find it kind of creepy, but I find it creepy. I don't know what my dd thinks about it, yet, and when we do know, we'll go from there: we'll read it if she wants; if she doesn't like it, it'll sit on the shelf getting dusty 'cause I hate cleaning and I hate getting rid of books .
post #166 of 333
My kids aren't toddlers anymore -- one is 16 and one is 12. My other child is only 11 weeks old, but we read to her.

I don't remember ever "shelving" certain books, except for very poorly written books. Stuff that I found boring or insipid or preachy got put away on shelves that weren't on a child's-eye level. For instance, early Berenstain Bears was good, but the later stories seemed really preachy to me. Also, Mercer Mayer stories were awesome, but whenever he co-authored with his wife they became annoyingly preachy. I hate all those TV- and movie-inspired books.

I asked my kids about some of the books mentioned here -- Good Dog, Carl and Berenstain Bears -- and they couldn't really remember any of the negative things being discussed. They both remembered the awesome treehouse in the Bears books. Good Dog, Carl was just silly. They loved all things Seuss, and both agree that it wasn't the story that mattered as much as the rhyme and rhythm.

Their favorite books then, the ones they remember now and insisted we re-buy for their baby sister (we sold or donated most of our children's books long ago) were books written by William Joyce (Dinosaur Bob, George Shrinks, A Day with Wilbur Robinson).

This says to me, at least for our family, kids will remember fondly the stories that were well-written and had great illustrations.

I may not be the best person to talk about the subject, though. We've always let our kids read whatever they want. At the library a friend was vetoing books her son was choosing because of content. I kept my mouth shut because that's her kid and her right, but I have never been like that. In fact, half the books this lady vetoed my daughter, who is in the same grade as her son, had already read!
post #167 of 333
I can't really have a discussion with my 18 month old about why something is sexist/racist/against our values/etc. He's still a baby.

If I make an effort not to use phrases like "bad boy", why would I choose to read something to him that portrayed a person who was whining or hitting as a bad boy? If I won't let him to see his cousins getting spanked, why would I read a book to him where someone gets spanked?

I mean, yes, technically I'm censoring what reading material he's exposed to, but I'm also censoring what comes out of my own mouth. Heck, since *I'm* the one reading the books, it's really just more of my censoring what's coming out of my own mouth! How on earth can a toddler understand that even though mama repeatedly reads a book to him about bad boys getting spanked, that she doesn't actually believe that little boys are bad and that no children deserved to be spanked?
post #168 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellymama View Post
i think you are reading juuuuuuust a leeeeeetle bit to much into this.
but i hate that book to.i hate it because if you wanted me too, i could recite the whole thing by memory. i hate sandra boynton. she sucks.
OMG - we all adore Sandra Boynton at our house. I have to admit we have all of her books. My DS 6 loves to read them to his little brother and sister, and fondly remembers them from when *he* was a toddler. They are such fun, catchy books! We especially love "Barnyard Dance" because we all get up and dance along with the animals.
post #169 of 333
In our copy of Love You Forever she doesn't use a ladder, she has a key that her son gave her and she lets herself in. I love the book!

I do absolutely LOATHE The Rainbow Fish, but I don't mind The rainbow Fish to the Rescue.
post #170 of 333
I know it's heretical, but I hate Sandra Boynton, too. I think those books are just poorly written.

Has anyone read "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"? Someone got that for dd and it actually shocked me (and I don't shock easily). It's supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek retelling by the wolf. He kills the (anthropomorphized) pigs and eats them. I like dark humor--I can't wait for dd to be old enough for Roald Dahl--and I do think it's good for children to work through their fears through literature, but this was SO not appropriate for a young toddler.
post #171 of 333
OMG, there are people who hate Sandra Boynton? That IS heretical!

I like almost all the books mentioned in this list, with the notable exception of Love You Forever.
post #172 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramama View Post
I used to think this too, until I was reading it to DD in front of my teenage brother who suggested "Big Brown Nut Hair" and "Little Brown Nut Hair" and now I think the entire book is funny. I know, very mature...
Too bizarre, but last night DH picked that story to read to ds. Neither of us had ever read it before. I about peed myself laughing everytime he said "nut brown hare." I tried to explain the joke to DH but he was too mature to get it, lol. So classic literature or no, I can't read it anyway w/o laughing hysterically through the whole thing now.
post #173 of 333
* dp
post #174 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYCVeg View Post
Has anyone read "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"? Someone got that for dd and it actually shocked me (and I don't shock easily). It's supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek retelling by the wolf. He kills the (anthropomorphized) pigs and eats them. I like dark humor--I can't wait for dd to be old enough for Roald Dahl--and I do think it's good for children to work through their fears through literature, but this was SO not appropriate for a young toddler.
I was waiting to see if anyone mentioned that book! We LOVE it ... in fact, (at age 14 months) my son adored that book sooooooooo much, we had to resort to hiding it b/c we were so sick of reading it! We read it in a hundred different ways, we used different voices/inflections - we even sang it. Fun book - but obviously, not for everyone.

We also have The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, which is dark and hilarious as well. Love Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith, they're awesome storytellers!

LOL, check out this Amazon list:
Great books to warp your kids with!
post #175 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
LOL, check out this Amazon list:
Great books to warp your kids with!
Another great book that should be on this list: Uncle Shelby's ABZ book ... It's brilliant!
post #176 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
I was waiting to see if anyone mentioned that book! We LOVE it ... in fact, (at age 14 months) my son adored that book sooooooooo much, we had to resort to hiding it b/c we were so sick of reading it! We read it in a hundred different ways, we used different voices/inflections - we even sang it. Fun book - but obviously, not for everyone.[/URL]
Maybe it depends on the kid. Dd is not especially fearful, and she definitely likes the irony-inflected children's books that we go for, but I really thought that one would scare her. Of course, I have deep ethical objections to the eating of meat in general, so perhaps I was just projecting my own visceral reaction against the celebration of pork products in the book. I definitely prefer the slightly snarky stuff to the syrupy sweet stuff (we don't have any books on the topic of how much we, or anyone else, loves their dc ).
post #177 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by boadhagh View Post
Another great book that should be on this list: Uncle Shelby's ABZ book ... It's brilliant!
Hilarious, but very much not for children.
post #178 of 333
Great thread. I am in the loving Sandra Boynton camp. And while Cat in the Hat creeps me out, we always talk at the end about how, YES, they should tell their mom!

Folks have mentioned not liking poorly written books. I don't either, and while I don't censor those, I don't emphasize them, I must admit.

But my big pet peeve is books that are GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT. I'm not a grammar snob by any means--please understand that--but when the little ones are just learning the language it bugs me to have to read (or regularly correct) blatantly bad grammar. (I'm not talking here about regionalisms or slang or anything. I'm talking about careless and bad writing.)
post #179 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
I know a lot of people think Runaway Bunny is creepy and stalkerish too, but I can't imagine any parent who wouldn't go to the ends of the earth to find their child if they ran away.
I love this book and this is totally how I feel about it. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and my mom and I would argue. I would always pack a suit case and head for the front door declaring that I was running away. My mother would always stop me at the door and say I can't let you go I'd miss you too much. It felt the same way that that book feels to me.
post #180 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
I love Where The Wild Things Are. What is wrong with that book?

I know a lot of People find Love You Forever to be creepy, but I think it is sweet. I don't think it is supposed to be literal.
You know it's written by Robert Munsch who's books are usually silly and over the top, very exaggerated and I could see that might have been his intention with this book as well, but unlike his other books this one has very realistic illustrations making it seem more literal than his other stories. It just makes me think about how creeped out I woud be if i was the wife of the boy after he grows up.
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