Awful, awful children's books - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 04:24 PM
 
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#122 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 04:51 PM
 
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I am pretty accepting of stories that reflect their context~ Beatrix Potter, CG etc.
I have a harder time with current books like Bernstein Bears which should know better but seem to pander to the lowest common denominator.
I find the Runaway Bunny stalkerish, too, because the mother controls the child so much ~ I *far* prefer 'Mama Do You Love Me'

O worry more about scary images in some of the odl Golden Books (ie a really scary pig chasing kittens with a pitchfork int he 'Wait for Me Kitten' LOL

I think, too , that reader age matters for many of these. For school age kids, books with kids who are mean, selfish, not behaving at their best help them work out these things, right? And open opportunities to talk about it.
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#123 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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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...
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#124 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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I know I'm not the only one here who actually likes The Giving Tree (my aspie's favorite book for a time, he ADORED it) and Rainbow Fish. I see different messages in these books.

I dislike the Berenstain Bears, Disney books, Barbie books, et al, b/c they're boring drivel. My kids always knew that I would allow them to have such books, but that I wouldn't read them. Most Suess we enjoyed - esp Fox in Socks - but NOT the Cat in the Hat. Too creepy.

When I was young we had this really cool used book place near my house. They had old elementary school primers for 10 cents, and I owned several. Some of those stories were downright disturbing (ever read The Tar Baby?!) but I loved them! The stuff I read as a little kid would horrify some of 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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#125 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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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...
brown nut hair!!!:
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#126 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jessica_lizette View Post
I was reading Sandra Boynton's Pajama Time to ds last night. The book starts off talking about all different kinds of pajamas, and getting ready to pajammy (party) in whatever kind you've got. Then it says something about some are pink and some are green, and some are the ugliest you've ever seen. The picture on that page has a boar wearing some very silly pajamas, and the other animals are standing off to the side frowning at him. I flipped through the rest of the book and realized that he doesn't get to party with the other animals anywhere in the book. I don't want him getting the message that we ostracize people for wearing different kinds of clothes and looking different.

But it's nothing that a ball-point pen couldn't fix. The other animals are now smiling at him because he has the NEATEST pajamas you've ever seen!
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.
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#127 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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Okay - so now I have read this whole thread - didn't know if the kids would co-operate this morning - but they did.

I have to agree with the poster that said mentioned how AP this place is, thinking "I love you forever" is stalkerish. It is a little, but how do we know that we won't want to go break in to rock our little babies when they are grown?

Not that I can own this book, I can barely write this post without tearing up! Especially once you know that he wrote it about all the babies they lost on their way to adopting their forever family.

There - now I am crying!
I belong to a group for moms who have lost babies and Love You Forever is a common choice for a scrapbook theme or memory box for a baby that was "born sleeping", because we are aware that it was written from Robert Munsch's grief for the son and daughter that he lost. It is an incredibly powerful story if you read it in that light, as a story for a life that an angel baby didn't get to live in this world. But not my first choice for a read-aloud!

We own a copy and dsage4 found it and had me read it to him over and over -- just because he was so curious that I couldn't get through with out crying.... I also can't get through I promise I'll find you

I can read just about anything with my children, except merchandising tie-ins and insipid disneyish stuff.

I do get rid of anything racist as well as books with way too much focus on smoking, guns, violence and sexism that outweighs their literary value. I don't mind a papa with a pipe or an odd comment about something like "you run like a girl" in some fifties storybook that is otherwise interesting. We can talk about that.
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#128 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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wow...interesting thread. i'm glad most feel its ok to control what your own young children read and hear. they are so impressionable at those ages.

i really dislike all the arthur books. he is always whinning and complaining, as is his little sister.

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#129 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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According to my Mirriam Webster:
Censor: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

There seems to be a shocking amount of book censorship going on among MDC parents.


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Originally Posted by gus'smama View Post
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.
: and I would add that books are a SAFE place to explore these ideas. What's it like to be eaten? Why would someone spank?


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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.
Me too. The only book we "banned" for a while was "Where the Wild Things Are" because it terrified dd too much.

A good way to develop a sense of good literature is by reading a lot of books - some good, some bad. It's amazing how rarely my kids ask to read the stupid, insipid, morally good for you fairy tales that a relative gave us and how often they ask to read stuff that is better, like Mike Mulligan & the Steam Shovel (NOT a toddler book, by the way - way too long!)

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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.
Don't y'all see the irony in this? A number of people mention that they don't remember the bad things in Peter Rabbit and then being shocked at what there was. Do you think maybe your kids are somehow different? Need to be protected more than you do? can't handle a discussion on this? Your kids can't handle negative messages at all?

A lot of the books that people "hate" also are not appropriate for Toddlers. Satire, Irony and a lot of humor takes YEARS to develop (7-8 to be exact).

I love Pajama Time. You have NO idea how much easier it made getting pjs on when dd was little. And I think the poster who complained about the boar not getting to play is reading just a little too much into it....

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#130 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 06:09 PM
 
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Don't y'all see the irony in this? A number of people mention that they don't remember the bad things in Peter Rabbit and then being shocked at what there was.
Yeah, that always strikes me when threads like this come up. So many people say they liked Babar or Curious George or whatever as kids, but now they're shocked by some of the content and want to keep it from their kids - content that made so little impression on them as kids that they didn't even remember it.

It makes me sad to see how many people dislike Beatrix Potter stories. I love them, and I think the fact that there's real danger in them is part of what makes them compelling. And I honestly don't even care whether someone in a story gets spanked or whipped. I don't think the idea is SO horrifying that kids should never even hear about it. It's not like I'm worried that they'll grow up to spank their own kids if they read too many books where spanking is presented as normal.
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#131 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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#132 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 06:53 PM
 
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Yeah, that always strikes me when threads like this come up. So many people say they liked Babar or Curious George or whatever as kids, but now they're shocked by some of the content and want to keep it from their kids - content that made so little impression on them as kids that they didn't even remember it.
.
GOD, thank you.
this is my point. thanks for making sense.
i feel bad for all the kids that don't get to read Peter Rabbit, Where the Wild Things Are and all the other awesome kid books. when i think of my childhood, the books my parents read me are some of the most happy memories i have...
kids are a lot smarter and tougher than a lot of you are giving them credit for.
and also, stories are symbolic...fairy tales are symbolic...like myths and legends and other tales that survive the test of time.
this reminds me of kids that have moms that make them wear helmets to the park. what a watered down childhood.
if your kid get scared or asks a "why did they do that" question, how AWESOME...now you get to talk with them and let their little brains start thinking for themselves. for example, i am part american indian, but i won't stop my kid from watching Peter Pan, which has some of the most racist imagery of indians...why? because the rest of the story is cool. because the movie was made when that was okay. because it gives me the opportunity to talk with my kids about why people saw indians that way, and why it was okay to do that back then, but how we have come so far now (even though we still have the Clevelan Indians, but i digress). i probably won't purchase that movie, or rent it myself, but if my kids want to, i would let them. because censorship sucks. and it makes people dumb.
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#133 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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Don't know if it has been mentioned but what about the Carl books. Mommy has to go out so she leaves the baby with the dog. The baby swimming in the fish tank is the worst.
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#134 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 07:03 PM
 
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Someone in my API group just mentioned Frances Goes to Bed, and since I remembered liking the Frances books I went to check out how bad it really was. I think it's just one more thing that is influenced by the time in which it was written. Up until the spanking talk, the parents were incredibly AP. They both gave her kissses, and extras when she asked if she had been kissed. They didn't seem to even yell at her when she got up; they gave her everything she asked for and then sent her back to bed. I think I may have been more bothered by the fact that they gave her cake in the middle of the night! If dd has an interest I think we'll read this and just talk about the spanking (and cake!).

We read a book before naps where every page is like "it's time for bed, little goose, little goose, the stars are out and on the loose." In general I like this book; the illustrations are very nice and it really help settle dd down. The thing that completely creeped me out, though, was "it's time for bed little foal, little foal, I'll tell you a secret, but don't tell a soul." Yikes! I may be overreacting, but it makes me think of a child molester. We read "little horse" and "it's getting so late it's bedtime of course". I'm planning to teach dd that surprises are okay, and secrets are not.

I think we won't be doing much mid-book censorship in the future, but at this age dd (13mo) is too young for discussions. Of course, I'll be looking for books that support our values, but if she wants me to read her something she has found on her own I will. We can then talk about anything I find a problem with. I try really hard to keep only quality books on our shelves, though. I ask myself; if she decides this is her favorite book in the whole world and she never wants to read anything else, how terrible will that be?

And I agree with others that there is a world of difference between a mother chasing down her runaway baby and climbing in the window of her grown and married son's house.

By the way, has anyone read "The Pokey Little Puppy" as an adult? I loved it way back when, but it is just the weirdest book! Why doesn't anyone notice the Pokey Little Puppy hasn't come back? Or that he ate all the dessert? Why does seeing a strawberry make them smell the strawberry shortcake at home? We'll keep it out of nostalgia; the illustrations are sweet and there is nothing really bad in it, but man...
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#135 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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I love so many of these books -- Madeline, Beatrix Potter, Ping, Frances (who has the nicest, most understanding parents, and a smart, involved dad), David, Carl ... I also love many other books from my childhood that include spanking and other things that we don't do at our house, like Prince Bertram the Bad and The Elephant and the Bad Baby.

I have seen people hating on Carl before, and I never understand it -- it's a fantasy! A fantasy where the baby gets to ride around on a huge, loving, intelligent dog and do every fun thing a small child could imagine! And it's all told through beautiful artwork. Do people think that children will conclude that their mothers will, in real life, run off and abandon them with a dog?
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#136 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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I, too, really like many of the books that are in these posts...especially Beatrix Potter. I don't really get the idea of totally sheilding a child from things like robbers, pirates, and animals getting eaten by other animals.

Of course, if a Mom doesn't feel comfortable explaining to her child ideas in a book that she takes exception to, perhaps she should not read it to them. I guess some of the Berenstein Bears books would be on my list, especially the one about the family ice-skating. I can't remember the title, but it portrayed the arrogant big brother as being much smarter than the Dad, and being very disrespectful to him. Some of the books also portray the children talking back to the Mom in a very obnoxious way, and the big brother is pretty cruel to the little sister. I can remember being uncomfortable with these books as a child, and they are still not my favorites.
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#137 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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I find the censorship thoughts interesting.

I do censor at 2. When we're at my parents, and he wants me to read "I love you this much," I can't. I find it disturbing. So we read the pictures.

When I read Carl, the mother says, "Watch the baby, I'm going to the mailbox." We have 4 dogs and that would make sense to him.

When he's older we won't censor. When we can discuss it and he can ask questions and he can tell me if something is scaring or disturbing him, things will be different.

At 2 he doesn't need to know about hitting. (He likes to chase after the dogs with a pancake turner and hit them. He doesn't need role models or ideas.) He's just figuring out the world. Let him start with the positive stuff and let's wait until he's a little older to bring in the more complex.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#138 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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I was at my parent's the other day and they have a few books and toys from my childhood. I was flipping through Richard Scarry's Biggest and Best Storybook Ever. There was a picture of a bear and it labeled all the body parts. For bottom it said "Bottom (try not to be spanked here)". That really made me feel icky. Link to picture I took of that page. Sorry for the bad quality, it was taken by my phone.

As far as not noticing these things as a child, I do remember a lot of these type things and the spanking references made me uncomfortable, and I worried a lot about Peter Rabbit being killed and eaten. I say it depends on the child. I was spanked a lot as a child, so those references wouldn't have been foreign to me.

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#139 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 08:05 PM
 
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When he's older I just really don't want the word 'ugly' introduced to his vocabulary through a children's book.
are you for real?
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#140 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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I have been reading through this thread with interest. We are all book addicts in this house and discussions about appropriate material come up with some regularity, wether it is my son asking if its ok to read a comic to his 2yo lil sister-uh, no,-, or my dd#1 who is 13 trying to read Wicked-also a big no, I think she is to young for some of the overly adult content.

That being said, I don't like censorship, but I do like approriate guidelines. I have heard some sad things like a child of 9 being told he wasn't of a high enough reading level to read the second harry potter book. and I know I read some books at way to young an age. I read Uncle tom's cabin at 13, I found it very disturbing.

For little kids, If they want a story, and I see something I want to avoid, I change it a little. I admit I don't care for some of the disrespect in the berstein bears stories, but others the kids love. I have never liked curious george, and one of my least favorites is Sendak's In the Night Kitchen. but we Love boynton, and yes we all know many by heart, but now my 2 1/2 year old "reads" to them to me.

I have never found anything remotely sexual in Thomas the tank engine, sometimes they are little preachy, but overall, they have been favorites for several years around here, I may have to go give them another look. ()

I think as parents it is our responsibility to provide for, and protect our childre the best way we know how. That includes, especially in the younnger years, reading through books first, to make sure the book fits in with your families values. I believe that there is a time and a place to read stories that show other beliefs and values, and discuss them, but I think that every family has to choose that time for themselves.

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#141 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 08:31 PM
 
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Don't know if it has been mentioned but what about the Carl books. Mommy has to go out so she leaves the baby with the dog. The baby swimming in the fish tank is the worst.
for reals. we have a rottweiler, and i had to put those books away. my almost two year old kept on trying to climb onto the poor dog's back and ride her, and i could not figure out where he got the idea into his head that it was okay (or even possible) to ride a dog... and then one night he picked that book as his bedtime story and i had a lightbulb moment. lol. stupid book.
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#142 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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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.
Thank you!

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A sheep says Baa
Thing singing pigs sing Lalala"

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#143 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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Don't know if it has been mentioned but what about the Carl books. Mommy has to go out so she leaves the baby with the dog. The baby swimming in the fish tank is the worst.
it's. a. story. it's. for. fun. it's. not. real.
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#144 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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Thank you!

"A cow says Moo
A sheep says Baa
Thing singing pigs sing Lalala"
"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?
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#145 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 09:01 PM
 
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Thank goodness my parents didn't feel the need to censor my books. You honestly think your kids see in it what you do?

But thanks for giving me a nice list of books to include in my already extensive reading to DS. Of course, most are already in there.

The Runaway Bunny "stalkerish?" Yet on this very forum people won't go anywhere without their kids until they are in kindergaten? The irony, it tickles.
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#146 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 09:09 PM
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This is fun.

I have only read the first four pages of posts so far. There aren't many books that I really really hate. One constant exception are the "character books"--anything made from a tv show. I also don't like many of the ones that were turned INTO a show. For example, Arthur, Berenstein Bears, & Spot. They are so mundane.

I think that the ones that show a person doing stuff that we clearly wouldn't is sometimes funny--and since I think that books can offer people an escape from reality or the opportunity to become someone else--I am ok with that. I love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. I agree that the parents are "helpless" people but I love the idea of handling a problem creatively! Sure Mrs. Piggle Wiggles cures are sometimes in a bottle or impossible, but she also lives in an upside down house! I think they are great because no matter how hard we try there are times in which our children think we don't understand them at all. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle ALWAYS understands the children. It is a great fantasy that there is someone who always understands while at the same time is able to creatively correct bothersome behavior. After reading a chapter, the girls and I will think of other ways to handle that--both realistic and completely crazy. I also have them guess before hand how Mrs. Piggle Wiggle will fix it.

I always preview what my children read but I don't expect to censor much. I look back on my childhood and what I read and I know I gained from reading the stuff that my mom would have probably prohibitted. Also, I like that you can gain a glimpse into someone else's reality through the magic of a book.

At the same time, while I am choosing the books, I pick the ones I love!

I love the Kevin Henkes books! I love OWEN!!! I like the solution at the end (he couldn't bring his blankie to school with him--mommy took blankie and made several "hankies" that would travel to school with him). Clearly Owen still needed his blankie, this took care of the need in a creative manner that still allowed school to be school! And I thought the nosy neighbor was hilarious--esp. at the end when they showed her with her hankie and how she didn't say a thing.

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#147 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Thank goodness my parents didn't feel the need to censor my books. You honestly think your kids see in it what you do?

But thanks for giving me a nice list of books to include in my already extensive reading to DS. Of course, most are already in there.

The Runaway Bunny "stalkerish?" Yet on this very forum people won't go anywhere without their kids until they are in kindergaten? The irony, it tickles.
: word.
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#148 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 09:19 PM
 
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The Runaway Bunny "stalkerish?" Yet on this very forum people won't go anywhere without their kids until they are in kindergaten? The irony, it tickles.
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#149 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 10:14 PM
 
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What? It's not about competition, it's about imagination. ...It's also not about the big rabbit getting the last word. Actually, she lets the small rabbit get the last word, but she is just thinking out loud about how much she loves her little bunny.
Are we reading the same "Guess How Much I Love You?"? How is it about imagination? Little bunny says one thing, big bunny says the SAME thing, except more. Jumps higher, opens his arms wider, goes farther distances. Big bunny has no imagination at all! And poor little bunny gets wistful each time, because he can't be as big/jump as high, etc. And big bunny does get the last word, he has to sneak in "to the moon...and back!" And they're both male.

Sadly, I have pretty much the whole thing memorized , because my 18 month old seems to like it. Or at least, keeps handing it to me to read.


Now, about the whole censorship thing... are there any parents that don't limit what reading material their toddlers have access to, really? I mean, we can nitpick the details about what is and isn't appropriate, but to come out and say that parents censoring their own wee children's reading/television material is wrong is just silly.
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#150 of 333 Old 04-23-2008, 10:24 PM
 
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it's. a. story. it's. for. fun. it's. not. real.
Haha, exactly.

Love all the posts about "Your children won't see what you didn't see", too. You didn't notice all of the "bad" things in these books, you grew up loving them...but now you won't let your kids see them because of the "bad" things?

Newly single, chronically sleep deprived mama to my little wild thang wild.gif, born 11/17/12 

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