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.

The King With Six Friends

November 30, 2017
Subheader: 

Not a terrible message, just sexist.

He paid the girl, and gave her a kiss of thanks. Great. This book is traditional in many ways, including one of which is its sexist nature. The king has no female friends. They are all male. The princess doesn't do anything in the story except get her hand in marriage won.

Read more...
Message: 

Good leaders are important.

Mabela the Clever

November 28, 2017
Subheader: 

Clever girl.

It's a good example of a story where cleverness wins the day versus cleverness rather than versus fools. She's not particularly clever, though, she's just observant and surrounded by oblivious mice.

Read more...
Message: 

Pay attention to what's going on around you so that dangerous things don't happen to you.

Baby Can

November 24, 2017
Subheader: 

But a baby is too big to fit in a can...

I think it's important for older siblings to understand that the reason that adults do that is because the younger sibling previously couldn't do those things. It's not that people are saying that there's anything inherently special about being able to sit up, but that there's something special about this person sitting up. And while it's important to pay as much attention to both siblings, just patronizing the older child and feigning interest in their ability to do things like sit up isn't really a good long term solution.

Read more...
Message: 

Older children can do the same things babies can do.

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen

November 22, 2017
Subheader: 

Published in 2014, the heyday of hula hooping.

She says that her neighbor is like a grandma to her, and took care of her mother when her mother was little, and then took care of her when she was little, and all this girl does is hula hoop. How did her neighbor not know that she hula hoops? And how did her neighbor not tell her that she also hula hooped as a kid? And now I have semantic satiation with the phrase "hula hoop" which is like the goofiest phrase in the world.

Read more...
Message: 

Own up to your mistakes and everything will turn out okay in a deus ex machina kind of way.

Houses from the Sea

November 20, 2017
Subheader: 

My shells, let me show you them.

Shells are cool, but these kids are basically obsessed with them. One of the last pages says, "When friends come in/to play on rainy days/we show them all our shells./We tell their names,/just where we found them,/and all about the day/the waves ran up to meet us." These children must be the most boring people to hang out with! "You want to look at my shells again??" No, no I don't want to look at your dang shells! Don't they like, play? Like normal children? "Shells... shells... would you like to look at my shells?"

Read more...
Message: 

Shells are the most amazing things ever.

Henry-Fisherman

November 18, 2017
Subheader: 

Meesa not understand purpose of dialect.

The text is super boring. Despite the massive amount of text, there's no character development. The characters don't show emotion. There's nothing for the reader to identify with. "This happened." "Sometimes Henry does this." "On these other days, Henry does this." Just not interesting.

Read more...
Message: 

Responsibility comes with age.

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.

Read more...
Message: 

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

Pages