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Awful, awful children's books - Page 10

post #181 of 333
Quote:
kids are a lot smarter and tougher than a lot of you are giving them credit for.
I agree! My parents had zero oversight on the books that I read as a young child...and I can't think of a single childrens' book that damaged me. I was the oldest kid and the only kid for a while, so I read everything in sight...including the set of encyclopedias in our living room. I remember reading about the Holocaust, the fate of Marie Antoinette and the assassination of JFK, and although it horrified me as a child...I grew up with the knowledge that lots of people have suffered in this world...that lots of people get a bum rap...and that not everything is flowers and sunshine and equality. I think it ultimately formed my values and attitudes...and for that, I'll forever be greatful to my parents for allowing me access to books of various ilk.

But, I do know where some of you are coming from. My parents did get my DD a set of board books about farm animals. All of the animals (except for the cats and dogs) get eaten in the end! Why is this disturbing? We're vegans! It is a tough position to be in.

Regarding other books that may be easy to hate: does anyone remember Barney? Does anyone remember liking Barney when you reached adulthood? As an adult, I wanted to squeeze his big purple neck so that his silly songs would cease. I despised the blob that he was. But heck if Radio City Music Hall wasn't sold out for every one of his performances! The sponsors added additional shows! Kids perceive the world much, much differently than we do. They haven't yet developed all the biased baggage that we carry around as adults.
post #182 of 333
I cannot BELIEVE the Boynton hate.

I love her. The books are highly enjoyable for little kids, medium kids, and even adults, because they have little hidden ironies in them. (Like at the end of the very simple yet very clever Moo Baa Lalala, the way all the animals are suddenly together, looking expectantly at you... it is hilarious!) The rhyme and rhythm is usually very good. The illustrations are great. Never overlong, they expand vocabulary and provide opportunities for interaction on every page. These are some of my dds' favorites, and I never get tired of reading them.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled hate...
post #183 of 333
Just finshed bedtme stories and DD3 picked a book my mom had given her that we had never read, The Harriet Treasury. In the first story Harriet, a bear, is fearful of going on stage for her ballet recital, but overcomes her fear and enjoys the recital. Okay, not life changing, but cute.

In the second story Harriet is forced by parents to take little brother out to play in the snow. Throughout the story Harriet and her friend call the poor little bear brother "a dope" "stupid" "dumb" and "a jerk". I tried to think fast and changed up the words to make it more appropriate, but DD said "I don't like this story, let's read a different one" Fine by me. Harriet is going to be put away!
post #184 of 333
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Originally Posted by nabigus View Post
the "I'll love you forever" book. I know a lot of people adore it, but the love the mother displays seems... I don't know, needy and stalkerish and downright weird to me. I can't even read it.
I didn't want to say it! I feel like the only one who gets the creeps from this book, but I can totally see my mentally ill MIL breaking in our house at night to cuddle my husband...
post #185 of 333
What a great thread!

I'll add my $0.02 for what it's worth.

When I was little, our TV was very much monitored. But we read all the books listed here (well, all the ones that were written WAY back then, 30-ish years ago ). As I was reading this thread, I was thinking about that.

I created pictures in my head of what I believed the stories to be about. I was too young to get the violence or scariness of what the books were saying. So in my head, it was something else. For example, the Ping story. That didn't scar me - I didn't think, "OMG I can't believe those violent parents, beating their children, why didn't one of the other ducks call CPS!?!" I just thought "eek! I would run too!" and it added drama to the story.

So, to me, I'm all for TV censorship -- violent images or images I don't think DD is ready for --- and I would rather have her little imagination going with the storylines from some amazing books. Stories that have lasted through the years and are meaningful to me, and one day will be meaningful to HER as she looks back at her childhood.

That is all.
post #186 of 333
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Originally Posted by spughy View Post
I actually like Beatrix Potter FOR this reason. It's a far more realistic portrayal of the relationship between animals (yes, foxes eat ducks, and duck eggs, dogs eat duck eggs, cats eat mice, fish eat frogs, kittens play with mice but don't usually eat them (I LOVE Miss Moppet ), etc. Farmers eat rabbits so the rabbits don't eat their vegetables. IT'S LIFE!


That was what I was going to say. It's life. Animals eat other animals. People eat animals (unless they're vegetarians and then it's a choice you get to make because you're a person... a person lucky enough to be able to make that choice). It's all about discussions that you get to have with your kids. Books are wonderful for starting discussions.

Now if a kid is obviously scared or disturbed by something in a book (I was/am, as my mother would say, tenderhearted) then just put that book away for a few months. Use books to talk about the way things used to be and how racism was the norm... people need to know history. Especially the ugly parts. How else will we avoid repeating our mistakes?

As this generation begins to have children, are we really going to continue the trend of the past two decades of sheltering and coddling our children as if they are so delicate that they can't possibly handle these themes? Should A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh should be censored, I mean "cleverly edited by the parent", because Christopher Robin, thankfully, had his gun and was able to pop Pooh's balloon and save him from the bees? Seriously?
post #187 of 333
I totally agree. I used to be a little turned off by violence in books, but then DD1 started remarking that lions were "mean" for eating gazelles. So now I just read her whatever she wants me to read to her. It like real life. Now she knows that if she pulls a cat's tail, she'll get scratched and it'll be her fault. If she's camping and she leaves food out and she gets eaten by a bear, she knows it's because she did something stupid. Of course, DD1 has a morbid fascination with this kind of stuff. Afterall, her favorite bedtime story is Nightmare Before Christmas and she loves the original Grimm fairy tales in all their gruesome glory. Books are conversation-starters for us, and if there is some content that I don't agree with, then we talk about it and ask her what she thinks. She also knows that if parents leave their children to be cared for by the family dog, the children will get taken away. I'm rather blunt with her and I think she may know a little more of the "real world" than most kids her age.

However, I will refuse to read books that I simply don't like. Well, more like "avoid" rather than "refuse" and I'll tell her WHY I don't prefer them. And I do edit books for clarity if they are poorly written or have grammatical errors or use stupid pet names like "froggy" and "ducky". DD1 is 4, so that kind of silliness, is just....well, silly. But I don't edit content.
post #188 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by momileigh View Post
I cannot BELIEVE the Boynton hate.

I love her. The books are highly enjoyable for little kids, medium kids, and even adults, because they have little hidden ironies in them. (Like at the end of the very simple yet very clever Moo Baa Lalala, the way all the animals are suddenly together, looking expectantly at you... it is hilarious!) The rhyme and rhythm is usually very good. The illustrations are great. Never overlong, they expand vocabulary and provide opportunities for interaction on every page. These are some of my dds' favorites, and I never get tired of reading them.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled hate...
how is "moo baa lalala" clever? everytime i read it, i think to myself: this is the dumbest thing i have ever read in my life. and everyone who has ever read it to my son always says the same: "what is this crap?" and where is this irony that you speak of?
i will say that sandra boynton is smart enough to write crappy books and market the hell out of them...i wish i had..
post #189 of 333
we have all the beatrix potter books but i havent read them in years. i guess ill have to...:\
post #190 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Another book many of you would probably think is horrible is Munsch's Alligator Baby.
This was one of my second daughter's favorite books for a long period, so I think I've read it 50 times. I like it too. I'd much rather read it than the Disney princess stories she often picks out.
post #191 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by momileigh View Post
I cannot BELIEVE the Boynton hate.

I love her. The books are highly enjoyable for little kids, medium kids, and even adults, because they have little hidden ironies in them. (Like at the end of the very simple yet very clever Moo Baa Lalala, the way all the animals are suddenly together, looking expectantly at you... it is hilarious!) The rhyme and rhythm is usually very good. The illustrations are great. Never overlong, they expand vocabulary and provide opportunities for interaction on every page. These are some of my dds' favorites, and I never get tired of reading them.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled hate...
We love Boynton! I hope it didn't seem like I was hating on her. We have autographed copies of Dog Train, Rhinoceros Tap and Philadelphia Chickens. Thanks MeeMee! Philadelphia Chickens is one of our favorite CDs to listen to.
post #192 of 333
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Originally Posted by mamatiger View Post


That was what I was going to say. It's life. Animals eat other animals. People eat animals (unless they're vegetarians and then it's a choice you get to make because you're a person... a person lucky enough to be able to make that choice). It's all about discussions that you get to have with your kids. Books are wonderful for starting discussions.
Although I think there's a difference between anthropomorphized animals--wearing coats and hats, going to school, acting like your dc's friends--being eaten and "natural" animals being eaten. Bambi is a movie that often scares little kids--mama deer gets killed by hunter. Can you imagine how much more traumatic it would be if the mama deer dressed like the child's real mama, cooked Bambi spaghetti on their range, tucked little Bambi into bed, read Bambi a bedtime story...and THEN went out and was shot by hunters.

I've been an animal-lover and animal rights activist since I was a little girl, but I still always loved books like Where the Red Fern Grows (which features hunting, but represents a historically accurate situation), or Island of the Blue Dolphins (in which many animals are killed, but for the sake of survival, and many kill each other)...I think that's a very different thing than dressing the animals up so that the child identifies with them and THEN killing them off and having them eat each other. I kind of feel like...you can't have it both ways: either the animals are anthropomorphized and, being LIKE us, don't go around killing and eating others who are different, or the animals are animals and they act like animals.
post #193 of 333
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Originally Posted by bellymama View Post
how is "moo baa lalala" clever? everytime i read it, i think to myself: this is the dumbest thing i have ever read in my life. and everyone who has ever read it to my son always says the same: "what is this crap?" and where is this irony that you speak of?
i will say that sandra boynton is smart enough to write crappy books and market the hell out of them...i wish i had..
It's funny for KIDS. She's playing off the traditional, cows say "oink", dogs say "woof", cats say "meow" kind of books/routines that toddlers often hear. Cows say "moo", sheep say "baa", pigs say "la la la" - is FUNNY because it's unexpected. Kids know that pigs don't say la la la! And the expression on their faces are simple yet very evocative.

My favorite book of hers is "Green Hat Blue Hat". Simple, repetitive, and yet my kids ADORED it because they could interact with it.

At least her books are clever. It's a lot more than I could say for the Disney princess cr*p that's out there.
post #194 of 333
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
It's funny for KIDS. She's playing off the traditional, cows say "oink", dogs say "woof", cats say "meow" kind of books/routines that toddlers often hear. Cows say "moo", sheep say "baa", pigs say "la la la" - is FUNNY because it's unexpected. Kids know that pigs don't say la la la! And the expression on their faces are simple yet very evocative.

My favorite book of hers is "Green Hat Blue Hat". Simple, repetitive, and yet my kids ADORED it because they could interact with it.

At least her books are clever. It's a lot more than I could say for the Disney princess cr*p that's out there.

oh man. "green hat blue hat" is the one that makes me want to rip my hair out. it has no flow, it makes no sense, it looks like it took 2 minutes to draw and write. its the one that makes me say:"damn, i wish i had written this piece of crap and made money of it"...a friend gave me a boxed set with a boynton stuffed dog. nice marketing.
death to boynton.
post #195 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellymama View Post
oh man. "green hat blue hat" is the one that makes me want to rip my hair out. it has no flow, it makes no sense, it looks like it took 2 minutes to draw and write. its the one that makes me say:"damn, i wish i had written this piece of crap and made money of it"...a friend gave me a boxed set with a boynton stuffed dog. nice marketing.
death to boynton.
Wow- you are a bitter boynton hater
post #196 of 333
BBH Por Vida!!!!!!
post #197 of 333
I"m not getting the censorship problem. My ds is 3. Almost. He can't read. I read to him. There are a million great books out there--why shouldn't I read what *I* think he'll like, or what I like? He's 3! He'll have the rest of his life to read whatever he wants--I hardly think I'm depriving or overprotecting him because I choose not to read the original Babar to him at this point. And I don't see the two of us having any deep philosophical discussions about our family values because--he's 3. Which is why I'm posting in the TODDLER forum.

Oh, and give me a break--Boynton is writing for little people--TODDLERS and younger, not adults. You aren't supposed to find deep meaning in them or be impressed by their literary merit if you're over the age of 5. Plus, if you don't read them, you're censoring what your child reads!!!! Horrors!!! Suck it up and read some Boynton right now!!!! May I suggest Hippos Go Berserk?
post #198 of 333
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Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
I

Oh, and give me a break--Boynton is writing for little people--TODDLERS and younger, not adults. You aren't supposed to find deep meaning in them or be impressed by their literary merit if you're over the age of 5. Plus, if you don't read them, you're censoring what your child reads!!!! Horrors!!! Suck it up and read some Boynton right now!!!! May I suggest Hippos Go Berserk?
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post #199 of 333
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Originally Posted by Pam_and_Abigail View Post
Glad I'mnot the only one who critisizes kids books. I am really picky.
I hate Robert Munsch's book about the little boy (Mortimer?) who won't go to sleep and his family YELLS at him to go to sleep and eventually calls the police.

And how about the Dr. Suess one where the tweedle beetles battle in a puddle?

It's like kids' authors never stop to think about how the themes and ideas in their books might harm the young, impressionable mind.
Ah, but Munsch almost redeems himself with his other stories like the Paper Bag Princess who rescues herself and decides not to wait for the selfish, shallow prince...though she does namecall a little.

I love fox in socks...but then, I can read the entire thing really fast without making a mistake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spero View Post
That was one of my kids' fave books. We always improvised on the "wild rumpus" pages, where there's no text.

I'm sure people hate it because Max is sent to bed without his supper for backtalking his mama ... but she does relent in the end and give him supper.

And it was still hot.
We do the wild rumpus song and dance. I remember the first time I read this and my ds was horrified that anyone would send a kid to bed without dinner. But he wasn't afraid I'd do that to him, so meh. We talked about weird things people used to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bellymama View Post
"oh no, you say, that isn't right, the pigs say oink, all day and night." WTF? i wish i had written that and made a bunch of money.
i can make cows say "falalalalalala", where's my money?


I loved Barnyard Dance! It was one of many I knew by heart. But yeah, not crazy about the one you mention. I always loved the ones you could do voices for, or read in rhythm. We really liked Chicka chicka boom boom too.

Hate the Berenstein Bears, ugh. And anything Disney puts out based on one of their movies. Helpless girl stories piss me off.

ETA-Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was by someone else, but it was the same kind of rhyming sing song stuff we liked. I only had about 10 kid books memorized to the point where I didn't even need the book at one time. I miss the days when they were easy to entertain.
post #200 of 333
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
.

Oh, and give me a break--Boynton is writing for little people--TODDLERS and younger, not adults. You aren't supposed to find deep meaning in them or be impressed by their literary merit if you're over the age of 5. Plus, if you don't read them, you're censoring what your child reads!!!! Horrors!!! Suck it up and read some Boynton right now!!!! May I suggest Hippos Go Berserk?

i am loving my new DDDC.
my son doesn't like boynton either though, thank the lord. he only likes books with trucks him them at the moment. he doesn't even need them to have a storyline, he just like to make engine noises, crashing noises and siren noises.
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