SLJ top 100

Miss Nelson is Missing!

November 1, 2018
Subheader: 

Miss Nelson is too feminine to be assertive.

What it boils down to is, don't have respect for people who treat you kindly. The only two opinions the children can have for the teacher are disrespect, or fear. Really, the best relationship between an adult and a child is for them to have mutual respect and understanding of the other's position. It's obviously a lot harder for children to understand the position of the adult.

Read more...
Message: 

To get people to listen to you, you have to be nasty and threatening.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

October 29, 2018
Subheader: 

Let's try to understand each other a little bit more.

I think it's a great book, because it shows something that kids, like my four-year-old, would totally do. When he had a new pair of shoes, he walked into preschool telling everybody about them, even though we got there late and the teacher was talking to the other kids. He can't hold his enthusiasm inside, and that's an extremely common thing for kids. They have to learn respect for other people and their time, especially when others are trying to learn in a group context.

Read more...
Message: 

Making a mistake is not permanent. You can fix things that you did wrong. Or, when you're at school, you need to let the teacher talk without distracting the other children.

The Story of Ferdinand

September 19, 2018
Subheader: 

How disturbing this book is depends on the reader's knowledge of bullfights.

What what the heck? How did this book and the story that it tells become so popular? I vaguely remember the 1938 Disney animated short. It was only published two years prior to that, in 1936, and it shows. The writing is very simplistic, and it feels so rhythmically slow compared to modern books, with the exception of the ones written for very little children.

Read more...
Message: 

Some people like to smell flowers, and that's okay. You don't have to be violent.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

September 9, 2018
Subheader: 

Pointless with a chance of confusion.

I know, I know, I'm reading far too much into this. But all of this crossed my mind literally within 10 minutes of reading the book. It makes no sense, and it's unclear if it's supposed to. What is the point of this book? Where is it going with this meandering story? What is it trying to say? I have no idea. It basically just says, "Once upon a time, there was this place where food fell from the sky, and then all the people left." Why did you even bother telling the story?

Read more...
Message: 

It's a good thing food doesn't fall from the sky.

Go, Dog, Go!

September 7, 2018
Subheader: 

Why, Dog, Why?

It's boring and it doesn't go anywhere. I would like to say, as I have in other reviews of similar books, that children will learn language without it being explicitly taught to them, as long as they are around other people who speak it. They do not need to be explicitly taught a list of prepositions like they're vocabulary words. Children don't need this book.

Read more...
Message: 

Here are a bunch of words and dogs.

Tikki Tikki Tembo

September 5, 2018
Subheader: 

Tikki Tikki? No. No.

If the mother were punished for her callous treatment of her children, especially the youngest, then maybe her behavior would act as an anti-example. But as it is, with no repentance or personal consequences (only her eldest son suffers for it), I don't want this read to my kids. I don't want her behavior modeled for them. I don't want them to worry I'll ignore them if they fall down a well, or treat them differently based on their age alone. And I don't want them to feel that either of them is worthless. Not even in a relative sense.

Read more...
Message: 

Chinese people are exactly like Japanese people, except with stupid (nonexistent) traditions. Also, among siblings, only the oldest son is important and everybody else is basically disposable.

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue

August 24, 2018
Subheader: 

As the title of another book says, children are delicious.

It's just goofy in a way that makes me think of "A Very Special House" (also illustrated by Maurice Sendak). It parodies other moralizing stories where the child is a brat from the beginning and gets his comeuppance, realizing that maybe he should be nicer to people.

Read more...
Message: 

It's important to care about some things.

Chrysanthemum

December 24, 2017
Subheader: 

Deus ex flora.

Why couldn't the music teacher just say, "Guys, seriously, shut up. Flowers are awesome," or anything like that? What is a kid reading this book going to do if somebody makes fun of their name and nobody cool has a name like theirs? It's stupid. The book isn't bad. It doesn't send a bad message. It's just that it doesn't offer a real solution to the real problem that it shows.

Read more...
Message: 

Don't be embarrassed about your name because cool people have weird names too.

Green Eggs and Ham

October 20, 2017
Subheader: 

In the words of Ponyo, "HAM!"

If you take it from the perspective that a child will likely take it, I'm probably reading too much into it. A child will look at it and think, "Oh, there's a lot of food I don't like, and my parents sometimes resort to ridiculous lengths in order to get me to eat food that I claim to not like, and it sometimes turns out that I like it," so I think they'll identify with that. I guess the important part is that the main character does like it.

Read more...
Message: 

Try new foods. Or, if you keep annoying somebody enough, they'll give in to what you're asking for.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

February 17, 2017
Subheader: 

Back at it again with the white shoes!

It seems to have been a song before it was a book, and it certainly isn't great literature. It's not very interesting and the repetition would bore me if I had to read it more than once.

Read more...
Message: 

“No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song... because it's all good.”

Pages