Barkis

November 14, 2017
Subheader: 

Not to be confused with Challah bread.

The massive amount of text is rather overwhelming, though. In a spread, the right side might be a puppy, and nothing else. A fairly good picture of a puppy, a spaniel of some kind. Not photorealistic or anything, but definitely identifiable as a puppy. Cute. And the left side is just this wall of text. Given that it was published in 1938, we've come a long way as far as children's literature is concerned.

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Message: 

Take care of animals when they're young because the world is a dangerous place.

The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree

November 12, 2017
Subheader: 

I'll trim your tree, if you know what I mean. And I don't.

It's a pretty inane and simple lift-the-flap book. I feel children of an age where they would still be interested in lift-the-flap books would also be tearing the books apart. But maybe my kids are more destructive than average children. The story is basically just a vehicle for the lift-the-flap gimmick. There's nothing to it; there's no message; nobody learns anything; nothing happens.

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Message: 

Decorating Christmas trees is fun.

The Berenstain Bears: The Very First Christmas

November 10, 2017
Subheader: 

Have yourself a Beary little Christmas.

They have their own Bear Jesus? The world of the Berenstain Bears gets weirder and weirder as time goes on, and as Mike Berenstain builds on the legacy of his parents in a more and more Christian way. Especially given that at least one of the earlier books had a fox creature. Do the fox people have Fox Jesus? Or are they a lesser race that has to settle for the Jesus of another species?

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Message: 

This is the story of Christmas.

Giraffes Can't Dance

November 8, 2017
Subheader: 

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!

Taking this message literally, it is completely untrue. Taking the message figuratively, I guess it's saying that you need to find your own unique place in life? I'm not even sure. "Don't make fun of people"?

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Message: 

Giraffes can too dance!

Why do I write children's book reviews?

November 5, 2017

I see other people talking about poor quality, or questionable content in classic children's books on the internet, and even in responses to my own reviews on YouTube or Amazon. A lot of people don't understand why someone can get this worked up about a children's book. It seems to them that if it's only a children's book, it's not supposed to be high quality literature. It's not written for adults.

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What Do You Say, Dear?

November 3, 2017
Subheader: 

I have changed my mind on this.

I remembered really liking this book when I read it almost a year ago. But now that I look at it again, I'm frankly disappointed by the gender breakdown of the situations. The boy character gets to receive a pet baby elephant, rescue a princess from a dragon, portray a cowboy, be bitten by a dinosaur, be the groom at a wedding, attend the princess's ball, visit London to dine with the Queen, fly an airplane to visit the Duchess, and invite all his friends over for a party. The girl character gets to pick flowers, be rescued, be a nurse, go shopping, be the bride in a wedding, be a Princess, be a Queen, be a Duchess, and be captured.

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Message: 

Be polite.

The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest

November 1, 2017
Subheader: 

Ugh, what a preachy book. Gag me!

She's a great artist. I would say she's not that good of a writer. It's the equivalent of drawing diagrams of everything. You don't need to spell it out. When you do that, it becomes uninteresting to read. The person who's reading it feels like you're talking down to them. They feel like you're saying you're better than they are. Nobody wants to read a book like that.

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Message: 

The rain forest is worth preserving.

The Dragon and the Unicorn

October 30, 2017
Subheader: 

Nauseating amount of visual detail. Sickeningly heavy-handed writing.

So this book is pretty, but you can barely go a page without it preaching about how humans are destroying the natural world. I mean, clearly, that's bad. That's why we have things like national parks. But the way that it gets its message across is so didactic that it's skin-crawling.

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Message: 

Humans are evil and are destroying the world.

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