Cock-a-Doodle Doo

December 20, 2017
Subheader: 

Cock-a-doodle-whoop-dee-doo.

This is one of those like super old books (1939) that just tells this meandering story with incredibly detailed pictures, alternating between black and white and full color. It just goes on and on. The story just meanders. It doesn't go anywhere. It's not terribly interesting. At least there's some conflict in there for a slight bit of interest, but there's no point to it.

Read more...
Message: 

The world is dangerous for baby chicks.

The Iron Man (AKA The Iron Giant)

December 16, 2017
Subheader: 

Very different from movie. Spoilers in review.

The illustrations are great, if a little abstract. The text design is also quite inventive. As far as the story goes, it's... strange. The text is well-written, but the plot goes in unusual directions that aren't properly foreshadowed. The ending chapters totally come out of left field. It really reads like a dream, where everything makes sense until after it's over and you're just sitting there going, "How did I think that made any sense while it was happening?"

Read more...
Message: 

Befriend everything of unknown origin; it's definitely peaceful.

Lucky Song

December 14, 2017
Subheader: 

I feel lucky I don't have to read this again.

The book is just a list of "She wanted X" and "So she did Y." The only thing that really happens is her flying a kite. And at the end it tells you to restart the book from the beginning. It doesn't go anywhere, doesn't say anything, and is just a list of mundane events, making it boring.

Read more...
Message: 

None.

George Washington's Teeth

December 12, 2017
Subheader: 

I cannot tell a lie. But this book can.

The book almost seems like it's trying to set the record straight about Washington never actually having wooden teeth, but it fails at this because it's not accurate about what actually did happen, even according to its own timeline! At least it's not marketed as a non-fiction book, but kids aren't going to know that, and most parents probably won't even notice. But I guess ultimately the book isn't really about what the teeth are made out of, it's about dealing with problems.

Read more...
Message: 

Washington had problems with his teeth that were completely fixed by hippopotamus ivory dentures.

Big Red Lollipop

December 10, 2017
Subheader: 

Maybe she was just hangry.

Parents need to be a voice of reason, and curtail the behavior of the youngest children when it encroaches on the rights and happiness of the elder, just as they would tell the older child to stop pushing over the youngest when the youngest is learning to walk and much smaller. And parents also need to understand that children are often better judges of the attitudes of their peers than parents, especially when cultural differences are involved. I hope I never act like the mother in this book.

Read more...
Message: 

Younger siblings are jerks, but if you respect and forgive them they'll grow out of it.

Apple Pie 4th of July

December 6, 2017
Subheader: 

Chinese-Americans are Americans, too.

What does this mean? Is it just pointing out that Americans don't get takeout for lunch on July 4th? What does the normal customer flow at the restaurant look like? I have no frame of reference here. Is the girl wrong? Right?

Read more...
Message: 

Parents understand more than you think. Or, Americans like Chinese food every day.

If at First You Do Not See

December 4, 2017
Subheader: 

This caterpillar misplaced his hookah.

What on earth? This is an acid trip of a book. It's a series of images that appear different when turned upside-down. So it looks like a basket of fruit when the book is right-side-up, but if you turn it upside-down it kind of looks like a man. It kind of reminds me of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the painter who made lots of surreal portraits entirely out of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other things.

Read more...
Message: 

None.

Henry's First-Moon Birthday

December 2, 2017
Subheader: 

And I thought only six weeks of maternity leave was bad.

It's okay. It's not bad, but it's not the best book ever. If you're trying to aggressively multicultural-ize your young child, this might help. It's certainly not offensive. The characters perform tasks that are pretty much broken down by traditional gender roles, though (father fixing car, mother cleaning, grandmother cooking, etc.).

Read more...
Message: 

Chinese people celebrate first-month birthdays in this way.

Pages