Hank and Stella in: Something from Nothing

August 18, 2018
Subheader: 

Could be a bigger something from nothing.

It's a solid book, but I wasn't grabbed by the story. It's definitely well written. It's written in rhyme, and the meter and rhymes are very solid, but the story is somewhat contrived. The artwork is not stylistically amazing, but it's good enough not to be distracting, and the art style fits well with the story that's going on.

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Message: 

Here's how to do improvisation while you play.

The Incredible Ordinary Hero: or, The Brave Bystander

August 16, 2018
Subheader: 

I'm not sure the author knows what "bystander" means.

It's not much of a story. There's no real conflict or anything. I think it's important to teach your children how to deal with burns, but maybe it's also important to teach them fire safety in addition. But the most useful part of this book is those two pages which are about what to do (and what not to do) when someone gets burned.

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Message: 

Anybody can help others, and this is how to deal with minor burns.

It's Not the Stork!

August 14, 2018
Subheader: 

It's not the stork. Maybe it's a penguin?

The only drawback I found in this book is its lack of mention of transgender or intersex people. This is otherwise a very thorough book. It's got cute little illustrations, but they're usually fairly realistic. At the beginning, it just says that girls and boys can do the same things, but girls and women have a vagina, and boys and men have a penis, and there's other things that are different.

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Message: 

Where babies come from. Also, don't let anybody touch you in a way you don't want them to.

Where Did I Come From?

August 12, 2018
Subheader: 

California. You came from California.

It's not a bad book. I don't think there's any misinformation in here, but it definitely could be improved upon. I'm searching for a book to give to my children when they get old enough (the time is fast approaching) and think I'm going to keep looking.

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Message: 

Babies are born when mommies and daddies make love and sperm find eggs.

What's the Big Secret?

August 10, 2018
Subheader: 

Could it be... cookies?

Parts of it feel sparse compared to other books. The information it does have is accurate, but I'm probably not going to use it to teach my kids. I would understand if other parents used it, though.

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Message: 

Boys and girls are different physically. They mature into men and women who can have babies together.

The Story of Little Babaji

August 8, 2018
Subheader: 

Lackluster story, beautiful illustrations.

It's definitely an improvement on the original "Little Black Sambo" by Helen Bannerman. They redrew it and renamed the characters to make it more obvious that the story takes place in India, so the little boy's name is now Little Babaji. Much, much better.

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Message: 

Fighting tigers makes you hungry.

The Spider and the Fly

August 6, 2018
Subheader: 

"Will you walk a little faster?" Said a whiting to a snail. "There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail."

Like the spider says, it's not a twist ending. Nowadays, we don't expect the endings of kids' stories to be quite as dark. Evil wins. One of the main characters is devoured by the other. In retrospect, horror is an obvious motif.

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Message: 

Beware of people who try to flatter you to trick you into doing things.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

August 4, 2018
Subheader: 

Don't know much about biology. But I know more than Eric Carle, apparently.

And someone else pointed out to me that the butterfly wings are on upside down. He's not an airplane, he's a moth-- butterfly-- whatever. Butterfly and moth wings are wider on the top and narrower on the bottom. So either his wings are upside-down, or his whole body is upside-down in the picture and what everyone thinks is his head is actually his butt.

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Message: 

Caterpillars turn into butterflies?

My Princess Boy

August 2, 2018
Subheader: 

If girls can wear pants, boys can wear dresses.

Another book with a great concept, but lacking in execution. I love that this book exists. It's definitely not a bad book. I just feel like they could have done so much more with this.

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Message: 

People can wear whatever they want.

Sparkle Boy

July 31, 2018
Subheader: 

Sparkle, sparkle, little boy.

I don't find this realistic, and I don't find the change in the older sibling meaningful. They aren't accepting the behavior because of its inherent harmlessness (or even benefits), they are merely switching sides, like they're the only one allowed to insult their sibling.

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Message: 

It's okay for boys to wear sparkly dresses.

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