Awful, awful children's books - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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What's that Llama one where the kid is in bed screaming for his mother and she won't come because she's on the phone or doing laundry or something? I hate that book!
You mean Llama Llama Red Pajama? I love Llama Llama. I have been working hard for the last 3 years to finally finish my degree and, unfortunately, sometimes I couldn't come running right away to answer if DD cried. Llama llama helped her understand that sometimes Mama needs to finish something first.
And we changed it to Vivi Llama Pink Pajama just for DD. She has memorized the part "Little Llama, don't you know? Mama Llama loves you so. Mama Llama's always near, even if she's not right here."

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#62 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 10:31 PM
 
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My parents dug up and ancient nursery rhyme book from back in the day, and I was reading through it.

I was horrified to find a short poem about a pretty little girl who sat down by the fireplace and stuck her pretty little toes in the cinders because they were cold, and the mamma, who, upon finding out, spanked her for getting her pretty dress all dirty.

Sheez.
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#63 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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Meems,
What is horrible about that book? I've never heard of it, but it doesn't look awful.
i didn't think it looked bad, either, until i started reading it after checking it out at the library for DD. it basically says, over and over, that what the little girl does, which is ALL normal, age appropriate stuff, is stuff that irritates the dad, and that he *could* yell at her, but b/c he loves her he doesn't. to me, it's like, dude, don't have kids if what kids do drives you crazy and then tell the kid what a favor you're doing her for not yelling, etc for what she does.
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#64 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 10:47 PM
 
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I love Where The Wild Things Are.
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.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#65 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 10:53 PM
 
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I hate the DR Seuss tongue twister books because they make my brain hurt.

I hate The Giving Tree for obvious reasons, though it's a shame; Shel Silverstein is otherwise wonderful, and part of me thinks it might be satire (though, preschoolers are way too young for satire, imo)

Jemima Puddle-Duck is horrid, horrid

I always loathed Ira Sleeps Over, just a gut reaction

We love Are You My Mother. And I sing "I love you forever, I like you for always ..." to my son as he goes to sleep (and we're rocking back and forth, back and forth), but, yeah, it does seem a little emotionally manipulative and stalkerish.

We have a really, really old Little Golden Book called If I Had A Dog, which is hands-down the stupidest book I've ever seen. It's like, "if I had a dog, he would make me breakfast every day before discovering cold fusion and doing the merengue backwards on his hind legs." Most of those Little Golden Books are pretty bad.

Which leads me to point out, many of the books mentioned in this thread reflect a generationally-outdated point of view. Mentions of spanking, violence, smoking, etc were all commonplace and mostly accepted when these books were written. Which doesn't excuse them, but perspective is important.

Oh, and I like The Runaway Bunny. I think it's sweet.

I read a nursery rhyme with DS the other day that went:

Goosey, goosey, gander, whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs and in my lady's chamber
There I met an old man who would not say his prayers
I took him by the left leg and dragged him down the stairs (!?!!)

Whoa. A lot of those Mother Goose rhymes are like that. "Johnny shall have but a penny a day, because he can't work any faster". "Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool ...". That stuff. They're clearly anachronisms, but they're still disturbing.

Which brings me to Perrault's insane fairytales - in his Little Red Riding Hood, for instance, which is apparently much closer to the original French folktale, Red and Grandma get eaten. In a sexual way. Same with Sleeping Beauty. Yeeks.
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#66 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 11:08 PM
 
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I keep coming back to this thread. I am enjoying everyone's thoughts but I'm also in a different camp I think. I love Beatrix Potter but mainly for the art work. I love Babar, he was a constant companion when I was a child. Hypocritical or not; I have a tendancy to overlook portions of books I have a history with. Therefore I don't keep them from DD. I think this is just personal to everyone...... whatever is a really personal point gets the criticism. I love "Guess How Much I Love You"...... it has never even occured to me before that is a "pissing contest. The way I see it, no matter how much love you have for a parent they have more for you. Now that's personal to me. Do you see how it colors my take on the story? Even at 37 I want to believe that my father's capacity to love me is higher than mine to love him...... it makes me feel safe and protected.
I could say more but DS would like to nurse.
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#67 of 333 Old 04-21-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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I just got rid of a book that MIL sent me for DS. It's called "Bad Dog, Marley!" With a title like that, I knew it would be a problem. It's all about a dog who does "bad" things, and at the end, the family learns that it's the baby who's doing the bad stuff. I also got rid of a book on potty training. I can't recall the title, but it has a line in it that says "So-and-so is using the toilet, like all GOOD boys and girls should!" Yick. Yet another was titled something like "Harold learns to listen" and is about a naughty bunny who can't sit still in class, and gets into all kinds of trouble for it. In the end, of course, he is sitting still in class, and always does what every adult tells him to do. That's the goal of most parents, I suppose, but I'm not interested in turning my kid into an order-taking robot. I also found "Guess how much I love you" to be, as a PP put it, a "pissing contest." DS doesn't like that book, though.

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#68 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TeresaZofia View Post
The worst book I've gotten recently is "I'm a Big Sister." I don't remember the author. My mom just got it for DD because, well, she's going to be a big sister.

In the book, the new big sister sees her parents taking care of the new baby and asks "Did I drink out of a bottle when I was a baby?" or "Did I sleep in a crib when I was a baby?"

The AP mom in me cringed when I read it. I had to explain to DD that, no, she never drank out of a bottle when she was a baby and she never slept in a crib either, and for that matter, she doesn't sleep in a "big girl bed" now because she sleeps in the big bed with everyone else. I had to put the book away
Ooh, in this category we got How to be a Baby by Me, your Big Sister. Stunning. "And sometimes when you're REALLY naughty, you get put in prison." [picture of babe crying in a crib] and "You have special plug that goes in your mouth to stop the screams coming out." God, I hate that book. I keep meaning to get rid of it, but at least we've gotten good discussions out of it.

I don't like the Little Miss and Mr. books, either, but DD loves them.
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#69 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 01:16 AM
 
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You mean Llama Llama Red Pajama? I love Llama Llama. I have been working hard for the last 3 years to finally finish my degree and, unfortunately, sometimes I couldn't come running right away to answer if DD cried. Llama llama helped her understand that sometimes Mama needs to finish something first.
And we changed it to Vivi Llama Pink Pajama just for DD. She has memorized the part "Little Llama, don't you know? Mama Llama loves you so. Mama Llama's always near, even if she's not right here."
Ohhh thanks for this!! I am gonna have to get it.

Laura wife to Chris proud mommy to our lil monkey (c-section 6-10-06), our other lil monkey (HBAC 3-08-09) Our next and last son (due by HBAC mid July 2011) and our angel (10-03-04). My middle son has many severe food allergies.

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#70 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 11:01 AM
 
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Ooh, in this category we got How to be a Baby by Me, your Big Sister. Stunning. "And sometimes when you're REALLY naughty, you get put in prison." [picture of babe crying in a crib] and "You have special plug that goes in your mouth to stop the screams coming out."
I find that kinda funny, from a "big sister" POV.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#71 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 12:11 PM
 
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We got a box set of disney Winnie the Pooh books from SIL that DH & I detest. Nothing really offensive in the themes, but the writing is just so insipid, and frankly rather condescending to little ones, IMO.
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#72 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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Last Christmas some friend of ours gave my daughter The Littlest Angel, which has my vote for the worst children's book of all time. It's set in Heaven -- you know, angels in nightgowns with wings and halos standing around on big fluffy clouds. One day a little boy comes to heaven and becomes "the littlest angel" -- which means that 1) the little boy DIED and 2) he is the first child ever to die and get to heaven? And the little angel is sad and lonely and misses his family, and he keeps messing up, in heaven, somehow, spilling things and whatnot (in heaven?), and generally being a clutz. Gah! But then he somehow gets to retrieve his treasure box from earth, which is full of baseballs and strings and other little boy things...and then he gives it to the Baby Jesus on Christmas morning, and God is so pleased that he turns the box into the star of Bethlehem. Huh? So he is the first child ever to die and go to heaven, but it's after baseball was invented, but before the birth of Jesus? The timeline makes no sense at all, never mind the theology.

I just looked this up on amazon -- it's apparently one of the top 10 bestselling books for children of all time. Ick! Argh! It's so, so, so unbelievably disturbing and awful.
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#73 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 01:15 PM
 
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Last Christmas some friend of ours gave my daughter The Littlest Angel, which has my vote for the worst children's book of all time. It's set in Heaven -- you know, angels in nightgowns with wings and halos standing around on big fluffy clouds. One day a little boy comes to heaven and becomes "the littlest angel" -- which means that 1) the little boy DIED and 2) he is the first child ever to die and get to heaven? And the little angel is sad and lonely and misses his family, and he keeps messing up, in heaven, somehow, spilling things and whatnot (in heaven?), and generally being a clutz. Gah! But then he somehow gets to retrieve his treasure box from earth, which is full of baseballs and strings and other little boy things...and then he gives it to the Baby Jesus on Christmas morning, and God is so pleased that he turns the box into the star of Bethlehem. Huh? So he is the first child ever to die and go to heaven, but it's after baseball was invented, but before the birth of Jesus? The timeline makes no sense at all, never mind the theology.

I just looked this up on amazon -- it's apparently one of the top 10 bestselling books for children of all time. Ick! Argh! It's so, so, so unbelievably disturbing and awful.
I am glad I was not the only one weirded out by that book.

I have another vote- but because I wasn't paying attention to age range.
Herb the Vegetarian Dinosaur. It's a good book, but a wee bit on the violent side. And kind of... strange. And preachy. Ah well, it was from the library. And that will teach me to read something before reading it to DD!

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#74 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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Which brings me to Perrault's insane fairytales - in his Little Red Riding Hood, for instance, which is apparently much closer to the original French folktale, Red and Grandma get eaten. In a sexual way. Same with Sleeping Beauty. Yeeks.
Wow, Sondheim must've gone to the source material! I always thought that was sort of something that he cooked up.
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#75 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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Have you heard of the new book out "My beautiful Mommy". It is about a mom going in for a nose job and tummy tuck.

Description:
A perky mother explaining to her child why she's having cosmetic surgery (a nose job and tummy tuck). Naturally, it has a happy ending: mommy winds up "even more" beautiful than before, and her daughter is thrilled.


What in the world???!!!!!!!!!!!!
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#76 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 02:23 PM
 
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This is an interesting thread that's got me thinking. I was so excited to see Babar in an anthology we had, until I started reading and saw that his whole family gets murdered in the first page, leaving him an orphan. WTF??? But I suppose, judging by the language, it isn't a book meant for toddlers in the first place.

I wonder, though--you read about how as a society we're so sanitized and removed from death and sickness, disease and poverty, etc., and a lot of older books and fables are just dealing w/ what used to be very commonplace events. I can't imagine reading my toddler, say, Grimm's for instance, but I sometimes wonder if when I tell the Red Riding Hood story or Jack and the Beanstalk if I'm really doing ds a favor by leaving out the gory endings.

I dunno. I worry about reading Curious George and the zoo (and that George loves a good pipe, lol) but yet we GO to the zoo, and we eat meat for cryin' out loud, so why do I feel the need to explain why George shouldn't have been kdnapped?

Sorry to ramble! Oh, and how about Cecily G and the 9 Monkeys? Poor Cecily is such a doormat--those monkeys take total advantage of her!
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#77 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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The Amazing Bone by William Steig

The violence in this book is too much for me. Robbers with masks, knives and guns, the fox chasing the pig to eat her for dinner.

It is a Caldecott Award winner.

I prefer Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by the same author.

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#78 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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In one of the older Clifford books, Clifford saves the day by catching masked burglars, who are on a high speed chase and shooting guns WITH BULLETS ----at the police. Nice!

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#79 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 04:00 PM
 
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The "Miss Nelson" books. They're more for preschoolers, I guess. I love how the teacher dresses up as a mean person to scare the kids into behaving :
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#80 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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It's funny I love a lot of the books that have been listed as being 'hated'. I will avoid anything that has spanking in it. Or lots of shaming.
But if its out of fun, than I don't see the problem. I LOVE Robert Munch, I love being over dramatic when I read them, because they are supposed to be crazy!

I also like dark fables, I can't wait to read Roald Dahl to ds. I like it when fables have a scariness factor and I think kids need the balance of having dark and scary mixed with light and happy.

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#81 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mllrym View Post
Have you heard of the new book out "My beautiful Mommy". It is about a mom going in for a nose job and tummy tuck.

Description:
A perky mother explaining to her child why she's having cosmetic surgery (a nose job and tummy tuck). Naturally, it has a happy ending: mommy winds up "even more" beautiful than before, and her daughter is thrilled.


What in the world???!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ugh, I saw that book somewhere recently and today they were discussing it on the View. NICE message to send to our little girls - the target audience is 4-7 year olds!!!.

http://womenshealthnews.wordpress.co...astic-surgery/
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Apparently cosmetic surgery causes you to be surrounded by fairy dust and butterflies, and your kid will throw open her arms because she finally loves the new, not ugly you.

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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#82 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 09:21 PM
 
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I was also really shocked how the animals in Beatrix Potter are 1. always getting spanked, 2. killing and eating each other. I know that foxes eat rabbits, but when the rabbits are wearing clothes, that's just scary.
I was shocked at Beatrix Potter too. I remember my grandma reading me "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and having Peter Rabbit colorforms (remember those?) but not too much else. About a year ago, I had recently seen "Miss Potter" on a plane a while back and absolutely loved it. I saw a book about Benjamin Bunny and bought it for my sweet little niece. Luckily I read it in the parking lot and was shocked to see that in the end Benjamin Bunny's father beat Benjamin and Peter Rabbit with a switch. yup... That book went right back to the store.

also, I really like the Bernstein Bears as a kid, I'm sure I'd be offended by them now though; however I did recently see a new(er) one at the bookstore about Mama Bear having another baby. And it was actually pretty detailed about how a baby is made and born. They even used the word "birth canal" which impresses me.
Never having read Babar growing up, I was shocked to hear about the original. I think Yoga For Elephants is adorable, and because of that I've always assumed the Babar stories were peaceful and kind of "crunchy-friendly" for lack of a better term.
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#83 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 09:41 PM
 
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Have you guys ever heard of the Red Leaf Press books?
Here's my favorite:
http://www.redleafpress.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=23

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When his Mamma Jean and Mamma Laura ask him about his favorite color, Nate doesn't know what to say. When his friends say he has to choose one best friend, it just doesn't seem possible.Then his mammas bring home a rainbow flag to hang on the wall and Nate realizes he likes the colors—and his friends—best when they're all together. This book includes activity and teaching ideas for caregivers. Bilingual English/Spanish

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#84 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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And normally I LOVE Kevin Henkes, especially for school-age kids---his descriptions of kid-emotions and peer-group stuff are fantastic and the illustrations adorable. That said, there's one called Owen that you might want to avoid, all about parents trying to trick a kid into giving up a comfort object (they steal the blanket, dip it in vinegar, etc). Kind of weird.
I actually think that's a great book because the kid refuses to be manipulated.

I agree with most folks here. I'm a children's librarian and I've tried to weed all the didactic "lesson" books from our collection... all the newer media-based versions of old classics (Curious George, Clifford, Franklin, etc.) tend to be over-lessonized. Some of the Berenstain Bear books are good, others are not so good. Ugh, those Pooh books are so awful, aren't they??

Munsch is one of those authors that needs an older audience than one would expect. Littler kids will just think the humor is hurtful. Older kids (I would say 7 and up) will get the silly stuff. I know some parents hate any book in which the parents are presented as ridiculous, but I think that's empowering for kids IF they can understand it as humor. (I am a big Munsch fan because of the repetition -- great for reluctant readers.)

Those awful stories like Beatrix Potter where animals are being eaten... I guess I would liken those to folktales or fairy tales. Terrible things are happening in those stories all the time. Bettelheim's "The Uses of Enchantment" addresses the importance of this in a kids' psyche.

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My parents dug up and ancient nursery rhyme book from back in the day, and I was reading through it. I was horrified to find a short poem about a pretty little girl who sat down by the fireplace and stuck her pretty little toes in the cinders because they were cold, and the mamma, who, upon finding out, spanked her for getting her pretty dress all dirty.
Our version says: "Little Polly Flinders/Sat among the cinders/Toasting her pretty little toes/Her mother came and stopped her/For fear her lovely daughter/Would toast her pretty little nose." Lots of modified MG rhymes out there.

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The Amazing Bone by William Steig -- The violence in this book is too much for me. Robbers with masks, knives and guns, the fox chasing the pig to eat her for dinner.
He is a weird, weird author. I think Amazing Bone is just about as weird as it gets. I think his books are mostly for older kids.

This is such a neat conversation to read.
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#85 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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I'm a bit as I read this, because many of our favorite books are listed here...

Beatrix Potter, Ping, Frances...

I don't do insipid or overly moralistic books, but other than that, I'll read most anything my kids bring me.

We don't live in an isolated island of crunchy AP perfection. I don't think I'm harming my kids by exposing them to other ideas and lifestyles.

I don't believe in censorship, even for little ones. I mean, I obviously don't select books that I think will be frightening for my kids (and actually, Bedtime for Frances scares my kids, but not b/c of the spanking!), and I stop reading a book at any time if anyone asks me not to continue, but like I said, I'll basically read anything.

Except those truly insipid ones, like Bearenstien Bears. Those ones, I tell my kids, are for when you learn to read all by yourself!
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#86 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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LOL, my kids think Are You My Mother is hilarious. They run around saying, "You're not my mother, you're a snort!" (in general, not to me) and collapsing into giggles after we've read it to them.

It seems like a lot of the old nursery rhymes and fairy tales have been revisited and revised. Remember when the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe used to "spank them all soundly and sent them to bed?" My son got a book of nursery rhymes as a baby (it's long since been destroyed by him) and I can't remember how they re-wrote that one, but it struck me that several of them had been changed.

I remember an old book we had when I was a kid. I think it was called One of the Family. The basic premise was that an elderly babysitter came to stay with a family of children, including a small baby. The older siblings were doing noisy activities of various sorts and the babysitter told them they all needed to "BE QUIET" for the baby. Baby then starts to fuss and they run through the Baby Checklist (change diaper, feed, burp) and nothing works until the siblings all start up their noisy things again and then she's happy. Seems like a rather AP slant for an early-80s book, aside from the fact that the baby layed around in a bassinet for most of the time.

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#87 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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A friend of mine who is a social worker and worked with foster kids told me that foster kids hate this book because no one ever loved them enough to go after them.
Heartbreaking.


I really dislike The Giving Tree. The boy just takes and takes until the tree has nothing left. Not one single "Thank you" in the whole book.
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#88 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 10:06 PM
 
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One book I HATE is Guess How Much I Love You. The poor little bunny keeps trying to tell the big rabbit how much he loves him/her, but the big rabbit keeps one-upping the little one. It becomes a big competition and and the big rabbit has to get the last word.
That one kinda bugged me but I still read it because I don't think there's anything too wrong with it, just a little annoying.

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Those kids were way too young to be left alone, for one! And then they just...OPEN THE DOOR to a bow-tied anthropomorphic cat??? Who taught them safety?
I HATE THAT BOOK! I always thought he was so creepy and the fact that mom left them alone to sit in a chair and then they let a stranger in the house and ignore the fish when he says they should make him leave.
I always thought it was so creepy.

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#89 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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I can't believe no one has mentioned "The Rainbow Fish"????What is wrong with you people ???

This is what this book says to me:

You can't have anything specail about you. People won't like you. If you want people to like you, take pieces of yourself and give them away. When we are all the same everyone will get along.

I remember thinking it looked like a cute book until I read it to a group of preschoolers, and there was no positive message I could get from it. None.
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#90 of 333 Old 04-22-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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Madeline

I loathe these books.

Racism. Cruelty to people and to animals. Materialism. Sexism. Negligent parents.

Gypsies are shiftless deceivers. Spaniards are emotional.

Pepito builds a guillotine to behead animals. He tries to get some stray dogs to kill a cat. Ugh!

Parents exist only to shower one with toys in a crisis.

Most girls are afraid of animals and inclement weather.

The girls don't even get to go home for Christmas, except that a wandering magician sends them to "surprise their parents."


I'm all for giving books a bit of slack for their historical context (e.g. some Beatrix Potter's -- expurgated on the fly -- are acceptable to me), but these books are just horrid with no excuse and no redeeming factors.
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